Waterford FC were well represented in this year’s Centenary Shield with Darryl Walsh, Tunmise Sobowale, John Martin and Paul Martin all picking up honours for the Irish Schools side as they took on their counterparts from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over a two month period that culminated in their final match on the 13th April against England where a goal from John Martin wasn’t enough to help his side to victory.
Here’s a summary of how our lads got on over the course of the tournament:
16/02/2017 Republic of Ireland 2-1 Wales (Home Farm FC, Whitehall, Dublin)
An injury time winner from the penalty spot gave Ireland the perfect start to their 2017 campaign. Having started in their final warm-up match Australia, Mion Sion pupil Tunmise Sobowale dropped to the bench while John Martin returned to the squad following injury. Martin would go onto play the full second half of the match while his twin brother Paul played the full 90′ along with Darryl Walsh. Sobowale came in for the closing stages. Ireland took a lead into half time but to Wales credit they fought back and found on equaliser on 58′ when Harwood was left unmarked to head home at close range. Late drama ensued though with Layng brought down in the box – up stepped UCD’s Sean McDonald and the substitute made no mistake with the spot kick to hand Ireland an important 2-1 victory.
02/03/2017 Northern Ireland 1-2 Republic of Ireland (Bangor Fuels Arena, Bangor)
Ireland fought back from a goal down to seal back to back wins in their Centenary Shield campaign. John Martin was the star of the show with a lively and creative performance, going close several times for the visitors however it was Darryl Walsh had a direct hand in the comeback. Walsh played a long ball forward to set Farrugia clear down the left flank. Farrugia rounded his man, pulled it back for Cork City’s Alec Byrne who slotted home to get a deserved equaliser before Farrugia got on the scoresheet himself four minutes later to seal the win.
06/04/2017 Scotland 1-0 Republic of Ireland (Renfrew Park, Glasgow)
Paul Martin dropped out of the starting XI for the first time as Ireland suffered defeat at the hands of Scotland. Darryl Walsh and John Martin (who captained the side for the first time) couldn’t help the Irish overcome the early Scottish goal that came on ten minutes. Tunmise Sobowale was again introduced as 2nd half substitute.
13/04/2017 Republic of Ireland 2-5 England (Home Farm FC, Whitehall, Dublin)
England shattered Ireland’s title ambitions in a come from behind victory in the Boys in Green’s final match of the 2017 Centenary Shield. Paul Martin started in goal while St. Declan’s Community College’s Darryl Walsh was given the honour of captaining the side in defence. John Martin also started while Tunmise Sobowale was an un-used substitute. Ireland twice held the lead in the game, Galway United’s Evan Murphy putting the home side in front on 13′ before England drew level on 32′. The lead however soon restored two minutes later when Blues midfield John Martin, a pupil at Presentation De La Salle in Bagenalstown scored a fine individual goal which saw the Irish take a 2-1 lead into half-time. After the break however, England came out firing to go and score four unanswered goals in an impressive second half display.