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Higgins inspires Covies march into final

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Higgins inspires Covies march into final

Tuohy Cup (Premier Division) Semi-Final
Westport Utd B 4

C Cameron pen 20, S Higgins 35,  L Keegan 82, 88
Swinford  2
Price 70, 90

Neill O’Neill
Cloonachboy

THE on-going legal dispute over the use of the Sports Park meant Westport United B had to sacrifice their home advantage in this Tuohy cup semi-final last Thursday. The trip to Swinford however had no adverse effect on their performance, as they comfortably ran out 4-2 winners against a battling Swinford side.
It took a second half double from Lee Keegan to secure the match for Westport after Colin Cameron and Seamus Higgins had given them a comfortable half-time lead.
James Fahy for Westport was the first to show that we were in for an action packed game when, with only five minutes on the clock, he sizzled a volley inches over the bar from the edge of the Swinford area.
Westport kept the pressure up and on twenty minutes the game had its first goal and major talking point. Colm Keane, back in the fold after a lengthy absence, floated a corner to the far post where Joe Kelly met the ball with his head. Neil McNicholas in the Swinford goal made a fine save but the ball came back to Kelly whose close range shot beat the keeper but not Thomas Kavanagh, the defender using both hands to prevent a certain goal.
Adhering to the laws of the game referee Jimmy Blake pointed to the penalty spot and sent Kavanagh for an early shower, despite the protestations from the Swinford dug-out.
With several players volunteering to take the penalty, Colin Cameron placed the ball and in a move that so nearly backfired, proceeded to take a World Cup inspired penalty. Neil McNicholas was unlucky in the Swinford goal, despite his save the ball spun agonisingly over the goal line to give Westport the lead.
Swinford retreated after this and Seamus Higgins had some good chances to double the lead before he eventually did so with a sweet strike to the bottom corner on 37 minutes. It was the end result of an excellent move involving Joe Kelly and Colm Keane.
Swinford’s best chances of the first half came from a Gary Price strike from outside the box went narrowly wide and a Gordon Carter header flew just over on the stroke of half-time.
Swinford emerged after the break like a new team. Price again had a shot go narrowly wide and the Westport defence came under intense pressure for a lengthy spell. At the other end Seamus Higgins, who was immense for Westport, drove a thirty yard shot to within an inch of the Swinford crossbar and Lee Keegan saw a good header come back off the post.
The homeside finally registered a score on the 70 minute mark when a long upfield kick out from Neil McNicholas was met by Gary Price on the end of a sprint towards Tom Higgins in the Westport goal. The Swinford man reached the ball first, nodding it over Higgins with his head and racing on to guide it into an empty net. It was game on again.
Westport began to shake a little at the back but Swinford failed to capitalise on this and ten minutes later Lee Keegan restored the two goal difference, rounding a player in the box and finding the roof of the net after a Stephen Cowley cross.
Neil McNicholas thwarted a further effort from a Seamus Higgins header with a wonderful save but was helpless three minutes later when Sean Hoban, introduced on the right wing for Westport, sent a pin point cross deep into the Swinford box.
Keegan beat his marker in the race to the ball and met it first time to end the contest with what can only be described as a stunning finish.
Swinford got a consolation goal as the clock ticked into injury time when Gary Price rose highest from a Matthew Gallagher corner to find the net with a fine header.

Westport United B
T Higgins; C Navin, C Cameron, D Mulchrone, S Tagg; C Keane, J Kelly, S Higgins, S Cowley, J Fahy, L Keegan. Subs used: S Hoban, P Geraghty.
Swinford
N McNicholas, T Kavanagh, P Quinn, L Foy, M Gallagher, G Carter, K Regan, N Sweeney, T McDonnell, G Price, F O’Malley. Sub used: P Noone.
Referee: Jimmy Blake (Castlebar).

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