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Cambridge Parnells begin new Hertfordshire Senior Football League season with commanding win over St Vincent’s on Coldham’s Common





Cambridge Parnells got their 2023 Hertfordshire Senior Football League campaign off to a positive start with a resounding home victory over St Vincent’s of Luton on Sunday.

Under the new management of Benny Morgan, the Parnells had trained throughout the winter and they showed no signs of any rustiness or a lack of fitness as they chalked up a 5-12 (27 points) to 0-9 (9 points) scoreline on Coldham’s Common.

The tone was set within the opening seconds as midfielder Cormac Breen tore through the middle of the Luton defence and guided the ball home for a goal. This was followed up by a curling point from Mick Nelligan before the corner forward smashed in a goal of his own to give Cambridge a seven-point lead after less than five minutes.

Cambridge Parnells v St Vincent's of Luton. Picture: Daisy Wilson
Cambridge Parnells v St Vincent's of Luton. Picture: Daisy Wilson

St Vincent’s, who were missing prolific scorer Paddy Northern, looked set to be blown away as Breen and captain Stephen Cunniffe tacked over further points for the Parnells but the visitors kept battling. And having slowed the Cambridge charge, St Vincent’s began to make inroads on the scoreboards, with player-manager Stephen McKiernan proving deadly from free kicks, as well as scoring a point from wide out on the sideline.

During this period, Cambridge were reduced to just one point from combative midfielder Joe Bradley and a dogged St Vincent’s came to within four points. This wind, however, was taken out of their sails right as the half ended when Breen bundled the ball home from close range for his second goal after a John Cummins shot was blocked on the line.

Leading 3-4 to 0-6 at the break, Cambridge were able to empty the bench in the second half and took firm control of the game. Breen pointed nearly immediately from the restart before Conor Egan slammed home a goal to put the game beyond all doubt.

Cambridge Parnells v St Vincent's of Luton. Picture: Daisy Wilson
Cambridge Parnells v St Vincent's of Luton. Picture: Daisy Wilson

Spreading the scores across the team, centre-forward Robbie Fitzpatrick added two frees while subs Barry Grogan and Diarmuid McGowan also opened their accounts for the season. Veteran centre-back Cunniffe then made his way up the pitch for a booming second point of the match to the delight of a packed sideline.

McKiernan added a further three points from placed balls for St Vincent’s during the half but they found themselves having to fend off constant waves of Cambridge attacks.

The introduction of the energetic Mick Purdy in midfield caused particular havoc for the tired Luton team, and his constant running was rewarded with a fisted point. Following a prolonged period of pressure, the fifth goal finally came, with Grogan smartly squaring the ball to Nelligan who palmed it home.

Nelligan almost had a hat-trick, too, ripping through the St Vincent’s defence but his shot blazed over for a single point as Cambridge ended the game 18 to the good.

Cambridge Parnells v St Vincent's of Luton. Picture: Daisy Wilson
Cambridge Parnells v St Vincent's of Luton. Picture: Daisy Wilson

Parnells chairman Cormac Ryan said: “The club is the strongest it’s been in a long, long time. We had a huge crowd of people down to support – including John McGrane, who would have played in the 1970s. It’s important to build that sense of community. The team is improving all the time. We had Johnny Downey and Ethan McTiernan making their debuts today and there are a few more to come. Benny Morgan has really raised the level of intensity around the team.”

Parnells will return to action on Sunday, April 30 against St Colmcille’s St Albans.



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