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SFAI U15 National Cup 4th Round

Tulla United 1 - 1 St Brendan's Park A.E.T (Tulla won 4 - 3 on penalties)   Sunday 3rd December 2017

Tulla United booked their place in the last 32 (open draw) of the SFAI Under 15 National Cup with a nail biting victory over a very strong St. Brendans Park outfit from Tralee on Sunday afternoon in The Cragg Tulla. The Kerry side arrived in Tulla with all five of their underage sides still in the National Cup and boosted by the return of two of their players who had been part of the Kerry Schoolboys League Of Ireland Under 15 squad, so it was no surprise that it took extra time and penalties to eventually get the Clare boys over the line.

The first-half was very evenly contested and although the home side had more possession it was the Kerry boys who had the early pressure. In the opening ten minutes Parks' Cian Brosnan whipped in two dangerous corners from the right with Darragh Keogh heading the first clear and Arron Curtis claiming the other in the six yard box under pressure from John O'Connor. Diarmuid Molloy on the left and Emmet Lynch on the right were Tulla's biggest attacking threats and a mazy dribble by Lynch on 30 minutes created a chance for Fiachra Hale but his shot was turned around the post by the keeper. From the resultant corner, Dara Ryan headed over from Molloy's excellent delivery.

The second-half developed into a real mid-field battle with Tulla's Jack McSweeney, Ian MacNamara and Fiachra Hale working hard to get the upper hand over Jack Twamley, Leon Gallagher and Cian Brosnan for the Kerry side. Dara Ryan and Diarmuid Molloy were linking up well on the left hand side and on twenty minutes Molloys left footed cross was narrowly missed at the back post by Adam O'Neill. With 7 minutes remaining Tulla created the best chance of the game when a quickly taken corner from Molloy to Fiachra Hale resulted in a great in-swinging ball that was met first time by the in-rushing Darragh Keogh, only for the Park keeper to save instinctively with his feet, with the rebound hacked clear. At the other end, Arron Curtis saved brilliantly at his near post to deny the speedy Rob Vasiu, to send the game into extra time.

After seventy very tough minutes on a testing pitch both sides began to tire and the game opened up in extra time. In the first period, Parks' John O'Connor was denied by a last gasp Neil Callaghan block and Earnan Ferris had his effort parried away by Curtis. At the other end, Sean Withycombe wriggled free in the box but his shot was charged down by a covering defender. With just 6 minutes of extra time remaining Tulla made the breakthrough that both sides had been threatening, when Diarmuid Molloy's corner to the back-post was brilliantly headed into the roof of the net by Dara Ryan, to give the home side the lead. St Brendans Park refused to drop their heads and Cian Brosnan somehow found space between Darragh Keogh and T.J.Dillon and improvised a great finish with the outside of his left foot over the advancing Curtis to level the match and send the tie to penalties.

In the penalty shoot out, the Tralee side missed their first two spot kicks with the first coming down off the cross bar and staying out and the second going wide of Arrons Curtis' right hand post. Diarmuid Molloy and T.J. Dillon expertly converted their efforts to put Tulla 2-0 to the good. The away side converted their third and fourth kicks and with Tulla missing their third effort, it was 2-2 with three penalties remaining. Emmet Lynch calmly rolled his kick into the bottom corner to restore Tulla's lead and with Park converting their final effort, it was left to Ian MacNamara to show nerves of steel and hammer home the decisive kick to send Tulla into the last 32 in Ireland.

On a day when it was almost impossible to separate the two sides, Diarmuid Molloy and Dara Ryan were outstanding for Tulla with Darragh Keogh, Ian MacNamara, Fiachra Hale, Adam O'Neill and substitute Donal Sheedy playing big parts. Goalkeeper Arron Curtis made some vital stops and was a commanding figure throughout. For St. Brendans Park, Ryan Guerin and Adam Sheedy at the back and Robert Vasiu and Leon Gallagher were best.

This is the second consecutive year that this Tulla Utd side have qualified for the open draw of The National Cup and having lost at the last 16 stage to Midleton in last years U14 competition, they will be determined to go even further when the knock-out stages resume in 2018. The open draw takes place this Saturday Dec 9th in the Red Cow Moran Hotel. Tulla will entertain Camp Juniors from Kerry in the Under 15 South-West Regional competition where the five remaining teams from Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Tipperary will play off for regional honours.

The Tulla United squad were: Arron Curtis, T.J. Dillon, Donal Sheedy, Darragh Keogh, Dara Ryan, Diarmuid Molloy, Jack McSweeney, Adam O'Neill, Ian McNamara, Sean Withycombe, Fiachra Hale, Ruairi O'Sullivan, Niall Boormann, Neil Callaghan, Liam O'Mahony, Eric Berqvist, John Moloney, Luke Woodrow, Fionn Hickey, Emmet Lynch.

SFAI U15 National Cup 3rd Round

Tulla United 1 - 0 Clodiagh Rangers                 Sunday 19th November 2017

Tulla United booked their place in the 4th round of the SFAI Under 15 National Cup with a very hard fought victory over Clodiagh Rangers in near perfect conditions on Sunday afternoon in The Cragg Tulla. Having lost narrowly to the team from Drombane-Upperchurch in the regional semi-final of last years competition, this presented the East Clare side with an opportunity to turn the tables on their North Tipperary opponents.

Tulla were very slow to settle and the away team dominated the opening 10 minutes forcing a number of corners and free-kicks. In the first minute, a floated free-kick over the Tulla defence was directed over the cross bar when it looked easier to score and just two minutes later Oisin Treacy's header was touched onto the crossbar by Arron Curtis and Eoin McCarthy put the rebound out for a corner under pressure from Jamie Davern. Darragh Keogh and T.J. Dillon blocked goal bound shots in quick succession from Luke Shanahan and Stephen Ferncombe and Arron Curtis claimed two dangerous crosses from under his crossbar, as the away team laid siege to the Tulla goal.

Having weathered the early pressure, and with Dara Ryan and Darragh Keogh carrying the ball out from the back, Tulla began to get a foothold in the game. After 12 minutes, Dara Ryan combined with Diarmuid Molloy down the left hand side and his cross, come shot, looked destined for the far corner of the net until the Clodiagh keeper clawed the ball away brilliantly. On 15 minutes, Ryan was fouled 25 yards out and Diarmuid Molloys free kick cannoned off the wall and out for a corner. Five minutes later and Molloys right footed shot from the edge of the box was parried to safety by the Clodiagh keeper. Tulla's increasing dominance led to the game's only goal after 26 minutes. A quickly taken free-kick by Darragh Keogh, saw Eoin McCarthy find Emmet Lynch on the right wing and his pin-point cross was volleyed home superbly by Fiachra Hale from near the penalty spot, giving Tulla a narrow advantage that they took with them to the half-time break.

Clodiagh were again quicker out of the traps at the start of the second half and after 3 minutes, Jamie Davern set up Stephen Ferncombe and his powerful right footed shot was turned around the post by Curtis. Ten minutes into the second-half an inswinging Clodiagh corner from the right hit the angle of post and cross-bar and the rebound was hacked clear by Jack McSweeney.

Similar to the first-half, Tulla soaked up the pressure and responded by creating a number of good chances. After 16 minutes Ian McNamara and Adam O'Neill combined to put Diarmuid Molloy clear in the box and his left footed effort was saved by the Clodiagh keeper at the expense of a corner. Just two minutes later and a long ball by Darragh Keogh was not dealt with by the Clodiagh defence and Molloy lifted the ball over the advancing keeper but just wide of the upright. On 22 minutes Emmet Lynch threaded a pass through to Molloy and his right footed effort shaved the post from the edge of the box. At the other end, Jamie Davern's cross from the left arrived at the feet of Stephen Ferncombe in the six yard box but his effort was blocked by T.J. Dillon and the rebound fell to Luke Shanahan who shot wide, under pressure from Dara Ryan and the advancing Arron Curtis. The last clear-cut chance of the game saw Tulla substitute Fionn Hickey whip in a great cross from the left and Sean Whitycombe's first time effort was deflected to safety off a defender. The full-time whistle confirmed that Tulla will entertain top Kerry schoolboy side St. Brendan's Park from Tralee in the 4th round.

For Tulla Utd, who were without the injured Ronan Dooley, Emmet Lynch was outstanding on the right-wing, with Darragh Keogh, Dara Ryan, Diarmuid Molloy, Ian MacNamara and Neil Callaghan giving big performances. Luke Shanahan, Oisin Treacy and Jamie Davern were best for Clodiagh.

The Tulla United squad were: Arron Curtis, T.J. Dillon, Donal Sheedy, Darragh Keogh, Dara Ryan, Diarmuid Molloy, Jack McSweeney, Adam O'Neill, Ian McNamara, Sean Withycombe, Fiachra Hale, Ruairi O'Sullivan, Eoin McCarthy, Neil Callaghan, Liam O'Mahony, Eric Berqvist, John Moloney, Luke Woodrow, Fionn Hickey, Emmet Lynch

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