Ashton’s stunning display of first-half firepower meant they were never in danger of losing an entertaining Munster Senior Schoolboys Cup final at Garryduff yesterday.
The Cork City school were all but of sight at half-time with a 4-0 advantage as their players’ greater experience of top-level senior club action told against a game Midleton College outfit.
David Hobbs’ side, looking to retain their crown as well as exact revenge for a heartbreaking loss to Midleton in an epic 2010 decider, went in front on 14 minutes, after weathering some early pressure.
Philip Brownlow’s first touch brilliantly outfoxed his marker in the circle, and though he was bundled over by Midleton goalkeeper Daniel Moore, there was enough on his push to see the ball trickle over the line.
Ashton then put the result all but beyond doubt with three goals in four minutes. David Whitaker’s drag-flick was saved by Moore but Gary Wilkinson returned the ball across goal with interest and Richard Lynch connected at the far post for 2-0.
Ireland U16 hitman Simon Wolfe then notched a cracking solo effort, drifting from right to left before reversing to the far top corner. And Callum Casey made it four off an improvised short corner, reversing home from the top of the D.
If Midleton were deflated after that, they didn’t show it. Greg Chambers won the ball high in the press to play in Marc Hornibrook, and the Munster U18 man squared for the diving David Stead to deflect home to give the East Cork boys a lifeline early in the second half.
Ashton were indebted to goalkeeper James Phillips for keeping their goal intact with a series of stops amid a sin-binning for defensive totem Richard Sweetnam, but a Whitaker drag-flick steadied them again with 10 minutes to go.
Midleton hit back almost instantly as Alex Simonin’s pace took him past the cover on a 50-metre run down the right, finished off with a bullet to the far corner, but there was to be no miracle for Ivan Leopold’s side.
ASHTON: J Phillips (GK), R Sweetnam, D Treacy, D Whitaker, D Wolfe (capt), K Byrne, R Lynch, G Wilkinson, P Daunt, S Wolfe, C Buttimer, B O’Mahony, C Casey, D O’Grady Woods, P Coulter (GK), P Brownlow.
MIDLETON: D Moore (GK), Adam Colton, N Hodson, A Burns, S O’Sullivan, O Chambers, Andrew Colton (capt), G Chambers, A Deane, M Hornibrook, A Simonin, L Hevers, A McGregor, D Stead, J McEvoy, J Ryan (GK).
Umpires: M Coombes & A Gray.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved