Craigroyston Park was the setting for a flavour of international football this weekend as Craigroyston Boys Club hosted Saint Pauls of Artane FC from the Republic of Ireland. A strong first half performance saw the Dublin outfit lead 4-0 at half time thanks largely to a Patrick Tyrrell hat-trick, but the second half was a more even affair with the final result 5-1 to the visitors.
From the off the Irish side showed no signs of jet lag and they took the lead with five minutes played. A high ball was just out of the reach of the out coming Craigroyston goalkeeper, Darren Owen and Tyrell did well to get there first and head home.
Despite the early set-back Craigroyston looked to bounce back quickly. Playing a direct style they looked to put either Max MacGillivray or Ben Hunter through on goal. However, there was too much on the early passes and Michael Phillips in the Saint Pauls goal was able to collect on a number of occasions.
With 11 minutes player the visitors doubled their advantage through Owen Conway. This time it was Saint Pauls with the through ball and Conway showed good composure to slip the ball under Owen and into the net. A calm and composed finish from the number 14.
Once again though it was Craigroyston who looked to bounce back almost immediately. A perfectly weighted ball found Hunter in behind the defence and one-on-one with Phillips. However, the striker couldn’t find a way round the confident goalkeeper and the chance was gone.
Saint Pauls though reacted to this scare and if not for Owen, could have been further ahead. A fantastic save from the Craigroyston number one denying the visitors from a corner.
Despite his best efforts, Owen could do little about Saint Pauls eventual third. Tyrrell charged down the left hand side before driving into the box and finishing well with 23 minutes on the clock. A fantastic display of quick counter attacking football from the visitors.
Craigroyston though had Owen to thank once again to stop them from going further behind. 28 minutes played and Tyrrell looked destined to wrap up his first-half hat-trick. But Owen was on fine form and denied the striker on this attempt.
However, Tyrrell wasn’t to be stopped and he found his third before the half-time whistle. An uncharacteristic error from Owen was unfortunate and put the ball on a plate for Tyrrell, but the Craigroyston stopper shouldn’t feel bad at all. Without his saves it could have been a bigger score line at the break.