Unfortunately it was not to be! In this strange ‘Covid’ season, VEC failed to score (for the first time in a league game) and had to relinquish our Premier Division title to South William Street Celtic.
This fine header from VEC’s Conall O’Shaughnessy [click on image to enlarge] seemed to be destined to hit the back of the net early in the second half and cancel out South William Street Celtic’s 18th minute ‘cracker’ in the top-of-the-table clash in Ringsend Park. Alas, it was cleared off the line and despite some later efforts – including a rasping shot from Seamus Staunton which re-bounded off the crossbar – and with VEC pushing for the critical equaliser, the home team wrapped up the game with their second goal in the 85th minute to win their first and a well-deserved Premier Division title.
In his first competitive game since March, Richie Hannify’s ‘wonder’ save in the 90th minute ensured that VEC gained all 3 points against Castle Celtic in Terenure to move to within three points (with a game in hand) of Premier Division leaders South William Street Celtic.
Pat Meghen – with another priceless goal – had opened the scoring in the 10th minute and VEC should really have put the game out of the visitor’s reach in the first half, but failed to convert a number of chances. This gave Castle hope as they pushed for the equaliser late in the game, but solid defending and that save kept VEC on course to retain the league title.
The only real save that Rob Newe had to make as his defense stood solid against Arthur Griffith Park FC in the Premier Division clash in Terenure on Wednesday.
Three first half goals from Jordan Howard (10 mins.) Seamus Staunton (35 mins.) and an o.g. five minutes later ensured that VEC picked up all 3 points on a 3-0 scoreline with South William Street Celtic firmly in their sights at the top of the table!
Congratulations to Gavin Murphy who collected his €500 first prize from Chairman David Spring after romping home from the other 68 contenders in VEC’s annual Pickawinner fundraising competition. See www.pickawinner.ie
VEC had to wait until the 57th minute to score against Portmarnock AFC on Saturday. But it was worth the wait as Pat Meghen nipped in in front of the home goalkeeper to score the only goal of the game with a delightful header from a Jordan Howard corner.
With another 3 points in the bag, VEC edged closer to the top of the Premier Division with just four games remaining.
It was back to league action in Lucan on Wednesday for VEC after exiting both UCFL cups on penalties in the previous week.
Just 15 minutes into the game, Oisin Kinsella’s excellent cross flew into the net off a defender to set VEC on the way to a 2-1 league win over Beech Park FC. Pat Meghen added a second 5 minutes later but then in the 55th minute, the home team pulled one back after VEC failed to clear their lines, but VEC held out for the 3 points to keep the pressure up on Premier Division leaders South William Street Celtic.
Joey Byrne stole in at the far post in the 48th minute to score the opening goal for VEC against Dunshaughlin in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup on Saturday.
Unfortunately the lead didn’t last long as the home team equalised with a breakaway goal just 5 minutes later! Finishing at 1-1, the game went to extra time, but without any further goals. In the resulting penalty shoot-out, Dunshaughlin advanced to the semi-final on a 4-3 score.
VEC bowed out of the Richard Knight Cup disappointingly at the Last-16 stage in Terenure on Wednesday, after failing to take numerous chances to score, including a penalty miss in the 35th minute after Conall O’Shaughnessy had been bundled over in the box. So, with no goals after 90 minutes, extra-time was needed!
Close efforts can be seen from Joey Byrne and James McGauran in the first half, followed by unsuccessful efforts from Seamus Staunton & Jack Nolan in the second half.
Extra time also failed to produce any goals, so the dreaded penalty shoot-out decided the outcome with Beech Park FC advancing to the quarter-final on a 4-2 score.
Jordan Howard may have ‘put the icing on the cake’ with this goal on the 90th minute, but it was Oisin Kinsella with two lovely goals in the 30th and 58th minutes who set VEC on their way to a well-deserved 3-0 win over Coolock Village in our first Premier Division match in over four months in Terenure … thus keeping the pressure on South William Street Celtic at the top of the table.
After being two goals behind after 40 minutes, two goals a-piece from Seamus Staunton and James McGauran secured an eventual 4-4 draw for VEC in the friendly against LSL side CYM Beechwood on Tuesday.
Another good workout in preparation for the return to league action at the weekend!