It may only have been the Leinster Senior Cup but it was important for us to bounce back after Fridays disappointing draw with UCD. Only 750 in attendance for a game that many viewed as irrelevant but with the disgraceful lack of a reserve league this competition is important for keeping squad players fresh so they have games under their belt if they are needed to step into the first team.
It was a comprehensive 3-0 win against a poor St. Pats side and I went home pleased with the performances of both the first team and U-19 players on show. Pieterese had very little to do in goals but anything he did he did well. He was quick off his line to deal with any threats Pats posed and he made a few good saves when called upon. His distribution was good from his hands and his kicking off the ground was excellent, all in all it was another good game from the young South African.
At the back Memery had another decent game but I can’t see him being good enough to remain with the first team and we still are in big need for another left back in the June transfer window. Gilbert was just average and although only back from injury I would have expected more from him. Branagan was very composed alongside the experienced Hawkins, who once again really impressed me. I taught he was finished when he came here as a coach but he still has a lot to offer and his reading of the game is second to none in our squad. It was positive that we kept a clean sheet and hopefully we can starting doing it more often in the league now.
In midfield I was delighted to see Conor McCormack but he was very poor and it was disappointing to see him so sloppy in possession as I have been campaigning for him to play in there in the league games, I still believe he is the man for that position but he would need to play a lot better than he did on Monday! Alongside him O’Donnell was very good, nothing spectacular but he controlled the whole game and everything went through him when we got possession. Sean Gannon played in an unfamiliar right wing position but did well and got the vital first goal with a fine finish just before half-time. Left winger Lorcan Shannon was the most impressive of the young lads and had a superb first half, he got in plenty of crosses, set=piece deliveries were good and he was a constant threat, in the second half he began to tire as the game went on, as he did in the last round against Bohs as well, so with that in mind he would surely need to improve his fitness levels to play for the first team on a regular basis.
Up front Aaron Greene was very disappointing again but then he had a 10 minute spell towards the end where he smashed the crossbar with a cracking right footed effort before he scored the third goal after a superb turn and left footed finish. I was expecting better from Aaron when he signed but he has failed to get going and looks set to just be a squad player. Alongside him young Dean Ebbe showed his potential with a really well taken goal, our 2nd on the day, he collected Conor McCormacks pass from just inside the box he curled home a fine left footed effort. His game isn’t about running and pressing the opposition and its something he will need to work on if he wants to step up a level but he does look to have a touch of class, if he wants to play centre forward at this level he will also need to learn how to hold the ball up better and he could learn a lot about movement by training alongside players like Gary Twigg.
None of the substitutes had long enough to impress but all in all it was a good win and we now face Shels in Tolka Park in the semi-final on May 28th. With UCD and Pats CY in the other semi-final it is a good chance for us to earn some silverware by winning the famous old cup.
Keep on Hooping!