Cobh Wanderers boss Michael Deasy vowed that his team will be back at Lansdowne Road after suffering penalty-shootout heartbreak in Saturday’s FAI Intermediate Cup final.
FAI Intermediate Cup final
Twice the Cork side battled back to cancel out goals by Liffey Wanderers and the exuberance from netting an extra-time leveller cost Colin Meade dearly as his celebrations resulted in a second yellow card being issued by referee Eddie Reilly.
In the shoot-out that followed, Philip O’Connor’s save from Michael O’Shea proved decisive as Liffey, the Dublin side who produced a shock two years ago by lifting the FAI Junior Cup, struck gold again at a venue located less than one mile from the heartland.
“I’ve been in football long enough to know that there can be horrible days like this,” admitted a gutted Deasy afterwards. “I thought we were the better team on the day both in terms of performance and creating chances but penalty kicks are a lottery.
“Colin (Meade) would have been our first taker in the shoot-out but the referee said afterwards he had to apply the rules. I can understand why he took his jersey off in the emotion of the occasion. The lads had shown great character to come back and equalise.
“We’ve got a busy schedule coming up, starting on Tuesday with the Cup semi-final against Midleton and then our last three league games. Cobh didn’t have a senior team three years ago but I’ve no doubt we’ll be back at this venue for finals again.”
Cobh’s Ian Stapleton had an early goal ruled out for offside and it took until 19 minutes from the end of the deadlock to be broken. Teenager Clayton Maher, the youngster player of the pitch, followed up by his rebound to head into the opener for Liffey.
Although Lee Roche could have added a second soon after, Cobh’s efforts were rewarded with an equaliser on 85 minutes when Meade seized on O’Connor’s spilled save to tuck the ball home.
Four minutes into extra-time, Liffey regained their lead. Aidan Roche’s brilliant solo run was too much for Cobh and he evaded two defenders and buried his drive into the net.
Once again, Roche spurned the chance of setting it, a chance Cobh gobbled up by Conor Meade finding the roof of the net in a crowded penalty area with the last kick of the game.
Elsewhere at the Dublin venue on Saturday, Sheriff YC hoisted their fourth Aviva/Umbro-sponsored FAI Junior Cup in six years as a goal in each half earned them victory against Evergreen.
At the end of a first half they dominated, the holders broke the deadlock through Stephen Murphy’s free-kick and despite the Kilkenny side mounting a comeback after the break, another of the four Murphy brothers, Paul, sealed the triumph with a second goal.
“Evergreen had a fair amount of possession in the second half but I always felt we were comfortable,” said jubilant manager Alan Reilly.
“This time are very driven and this type of record comes from hard work and dedication.”
COBH WANDERERS: Michael Devine; Eoin Hastings, John Meade (Eddie Nolan 21), Brian Fitzgerald, Kyle Dowling (Peter Nolan 66); Owen Kinsella (Stephen Griffin 63), David Curran (Shane Geasley 82), Michael O’Shea, David Stack (Alan O’Flynn 75), Conor Meade; Ian Stapleton.
LIFFEY WANDERERS: Philip O’Connor; Dean Young (D O’Connor 91), David Andrews, Dylan Roche, Carl O’ Brien; Clayton Maher (A O’Connor 77) Conor Riddick, Aidan Roche (G O’ Connor ET 21), Lee Roche; Kenneth Roche (Deegan 107), Anthony Gray.
Referee: Eddie Reilly
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