TWO OWN goals in the space of three minutes paved the way for North End Utd to lift the Air Con Mech Wexford Cup with a comfortable victory over a Shamrock Rovers outfit in the final played at Ferrycarrig Park yesterday afternoon
Having already won the Division 1 title securing their return to the Premier flight, North End United used their blend of youth and experience to help fashion a victory giving them a league-cup double brought ab out by an exciting winning run towards the end of the season.
North End came into the game confident of securing the trophy for they had hugely impressive form in their end of season games. With Manager John Godkin, who guided the Wexford side to Oscar Traynor success seven days earlier, they were well prepared as their tight defence and ability to play a neat passing game saw them prove too much for the Enniscorthy town side.
Shamrock Rovers must have been bitterly disappointed with the end result. They enjoyed spell of dominance, particularly through the opening twenty minutes of the second half, but it was not until very late in the game that they really tested Lee Walker in the North End goal, as John Foley, with a man of the match performance, and Keith Furlong, proving commanding as a central defensive pairing, denying them a clear path in on goal.
After both sides had teased one another out during the opening twenty minutes, in what was their first meeting of the season, not surprisingly one had to wait until the twenty-second minute for the games opening goal.
John Foley punted a long free into the goalmouth which saw the unfortunate Alan Freeman in attempting to head clear only succeed in deflecting the ball past keeper John Thorpe into the bottom left hand corner of the net. It was a huge setback for the Rovers boys who had been playing quite well up to this setback.
Three minutes later further disaster was to befall the Rovers outfit. After North End had forced a corner, Trevor Berry's kick was helped on by Kieran Kelly only for Philip Freeman in attempting to clear deflect the ball past advancing keeper Thorpe leaving North End with a rather flattering 2-0 win.
Shamrock Rovers threatened little before the break and it was North End who came closest to extending their lead but Keith Furlong saw his header flash just outside the post.
The run of goals failed to materialise in the second half for North End seemed content to protect their lead. Shamrock Rovers pressed forward for the opening twenty minutes of the second half but were confined to long range efforts on goal with both Eamonn O'Brien and Ricky Fox off target with long range efforts.
It was difficult for the sides to maintain the pace in the sweltering heat but North End looked comfortable until the closing minutes when Shamrock Rovers began to create some space. James Carty had a shot just wide, while the same player forced an excellent save out of keeper Walker one minute into additional time.
Two minutes into additional time, North End substitue Andy Moore collected a ball just inside the opposing half raced clear through the centre to place a low ball past keeper Thorpe to cap a fine end to the season for the Wexford town club.
North End Utd: Lee Walker, Colin Bent, John Foley, Keith Furlong, Kieran kelly, Stuart Lawlor, Alan Murphy, Craig Mcguire, Kyle Dempsey, Trevor Berry, Alan Colgate. Subs: andy Moore for McGuire (55); Philip Tubritt for Colgate (67); Conor Doyle for Bent (78). Subs Not Used: Simon Haughton, Justin Whitty.
Shamrock Rovers: John Thorpe, Tony Kenny, Sean Wildes, Philip Freeman, Alan Freeman, David Whelan, Ricky Fox, James Carty, Martin McKewon, Eamonn O'Brien, Mikie Dempsey. Subs: John Dobbs for Alan Freeman (74); Ian Sinnott for Sean Wildes (83). Subs Not Used: Clive O'Brien, Paul Giltrap, Graham Denton.
Referee: Nickey Boland.