With Damien McGee Junior back in their ranks Ardmore arrived at the Vale Centre on Saturday afternoon hoping to take full advantage of Dessie Moore’s unsettled Greysteel side and boy did they grab their chance.
It almost looked like it was going to be a close tie as both sets of players took their time settling to an unpredictable surface and windy conditions, but in the end Ardmore secured an impressive 7-1 win.
Ardmore were the first off the blocks early on when an innocuous ball towards Stephen Lynch’s near post was delicately flicked into the top corner of the net by Ardmore’s Calvin McCallion.
The tie was level only four minutes later, as a powerful strike from Greysteel’s Kevin McGinnis left goalkeeper Steven Bryson little chance and rooted to the spot.
After the quick start the game fizzled out as each team tried to gain an upper hand.
Ardmore looked the more likely and after some good build up play they almost found themselves in front.
After an excellent run, Dan McIntyre produced an inviting ball into the box which was headed just past the post by goalscorer McCallion.
On 25 minutes Ardmore managed to find their breakthrough when a long and high free-kick sent in by Damien Campbell created confusion in the box and whatever was going through the Greysteel defence’s mind, I do not know, as Calvin McCallion was allowed so much time and space to bring down the ball, he made easy work of slotting Ardmore back into the lead.
Greysteel looked visibly shaken after their defensive slip and Ardmore continued to frustrate without any real response.
On the half hour mark, Greysteel centre back Ciaran Harkin was called into action on the line to deny Ardmore’s McGee from making it three.
The third goal did come, five minutes before the end of the half. An excellent one-two between McCallion and Gavin Doherty split the ’Steel defence wide open once again, leaving Doherty in to coolly toe-poke past Stephen Lynch.
Greysteel were glad to hear the half-time whistle and catch their breath.
Damien McGee carried the ball unimpeded to the edge of the box before pulling the trigger. His shot was spilled by Greysteel keeper Lynch right into the path of Ardmore’s number 10, however this time McCallion was unable to convert much to the relief of shell-shocked Greysteel.
Just before the hour mark McCallion was able to round off his hat-trick.
Stephen Lynch rushed from his goal line to meet a loose ball but mis-judged the bounce, allowing the striker in behind to pass the ball into an empty net and pretty much put the cup tie out of sight.
Moments after his third the combination of McGee and McCallion heaped more misery on Dessie Moore’s men.
An excellent through ball from Gavin Doherty found its way through the ’Steel defence to the feet of McGee who rounded Stephen Lynch and squared it to McCallion to tap in for his fourth of the game and Ardmore’s fifth.
Ardmore’s one touch passing time and again created problems for the Greysteel back four and led to an inevitable sixth goal, slid into the net by Peter McLaughlin.
Moments later it was seven as once again McCallion popped up to tap in his fifth of the match.
For Ardmore this game was all about their attacking performance which was relentless from the get-go.
Their defence however held an excellent line all day. They were first to every loose ball and header and came out on top in every 50/50 challenge.
Ardmore will be a team to watch as the competition progresses. Greysteel can focus on finding some league form. They cannot afford to be on the receiving end of another cricket score this week.