Orchard bag the derby spoils at Colepark
By Daire Walsh
CHERRY Orchard recovered from a shaky start at the CIE Works in Inchicore last Saturday to claim all three points against Colepark United in the Leinster Senior League Major Division.
Seeking to build on their encouraging recent form, Colepark edged in front courtesy of Daniel McTiernan’s ninth-minute goal. However, Cherry Orchard refused to panic and eventually levelled matters through Steven Nicholl’s neat finish.
Peter Thomas’ wonder strike subsequently edged them in front upon the resumption and skipper Karl Delaney also found the net to ensure they kept within touching distance of Bluebell United and Maynooth University at the summit of the table.
Following a run of five games without a win, Colepark had recorded an impressive 2-0 home victory against St Patrick’s CY on January 25. They backed up this result with a 2-1 triumph over Bangor GG seven days later before sharing the spoils with Pat’s on February 22.
This left them on a sound footing for the visit of Orchard in a clash that saw the Shortall brothers finding themselves in opposite corners. Brian – a former UCD, Shelbourne and St Patrick’s Athletic centre-half – lining out for Colepark, while his brother Patrick is currently in charge of Cherry Orchard.
Brian Shortall was joined in the Colepark starting 11 by his former Pat’s team-mate Sean O’Connor, who helped the hosts take the early initiative.
After Bradley Cox had an earlier effort turned away by Orchard netminder Jamie Geoghegan, Mick Boylan’s men eventually broke the deadlock.
Centre-half Stephen Mahoney flicked on Jamie Maher’s corner on the right-wing and the towering McTiernan was on hand to head beyond the reach of Geoghegan.
Yet a swift counter hauled the Orchard back on level terms in the 36th-minute.
Having broken at pace towards the Colepark box, it was left for Thomas to deliver a precise ball into the path of Nicholl. The industrious winger cut onto his favoured right foot and angled a firm shot into the bottom left-hand corner.
The visitors were starting to grow in confidence and Aaron Duffy headed just past the post off a Junior Sanusi cross.
Thomas had a brace of near misses in the early moments of the second half and Brendan Berry’s speculative set-piece floated just wide of the mark in the 53rd-minute. Colepark kept themselves in contention with some diligent defensive work and Cox continued to provide an attacking threat in unison with Shane Donoghue.
Thomas’ influence was becoming more pronounced, though, and he produced the goods for his side just past the hour mark. Picking up possession in a deep area, the central midfielder unleashed an unstoppable long-range drive into the roof of the Colepark net.
This moved Orchard within sight of their 10th success of the season and they effectively placed the outcome beyond doubt with a third goal on 71 minutes. Sanusi released the raiding Delaney down the right-flank and the full-back fired under the advancing Stephen O’Toole to create further daylight between the teams.
Berry and Duffy were close to grabbing a fourth and although they lost defender Daniel Mullen to a second yellow-card late on, Cherry Orchard eased over the line in efficient style.
COLEPARK UNITED: S O’Toole; L O’Brien, S Mahoney, B Shortall, S Rogers; M Hendricks, S O’Connor; B Cox, J Maher, S Donoghue; D McTiernan (G Maher 72).
CHERRY ORCHARD: J Geoghegan; K Delaney, D Mullen, C Dunne, B Berry; J Sanusi (D Fagan 88), K Bowden (L Murtagh 72), P Thomas, S Nicholl (R Casserly 65); A Duffy (D Brady 83), L Cummins.