O’Brien magic delivers prize for Avondale

Avondale United1 Cherry Orchard 0 (after extra-time)
A SUPERB individual goal from Colin P O’Brien in extra-time saw Avondale United claim the FAI Umbro Intermediate Cup at Turner’s Cross yesterday.

Avondale were the better side in a poor game overall but couldn’t find a way past a dogged Cherry Orchard defence and it was always going to take something special to break the deadlock.

O’Brien came up with that four minutes into extra-time. The former Cork City striker picked the ball up from a throw-in and beat three defenders before burying it into the corner net from inside the box.

It crowned a magnificent first season in charge for player-manager John Cotter.

“It’s a magnificent achievement for us,” said the former Cork City midfielder.

“I’m thrilled, especially for the players who haven’t got an Intermediate Cup winner’s medal before and the backroom team who have been a great help to me.

“Colin is an outstanding player and the goal was superb. It was always going to take something special to win it and Colin came up with it. He has been brilliant all season and fully deserved his goal today.”

Avondale went into the final as hot favourites but were missing top player Mark O’Sullivan through suspension after he was sent off in the semi-final victory over Crumlin United.

Cotter was also injured, which meant Ken Bruton started in midfield with captain David Spratt partnering O’Brien up front.

In a scrappy opening, both sides were guilty of giving the ball away needlessly.

O’Brien had the first chance ten minutes in when he headed wide unmarked from a Mulconroy corner kick.

The Leinster Senior League outfit were dealt a major blow when they lost captain Patrick McNevin through injury midway through the first half.

Avondale were bossing the game but were nearly caught on a swift counter-attack when Philip O’Connor put his strike partner Dennis Moran away and the number ten shot narrowly wide.

Cherry Orchard, who last won the cup in 1998, started the second half the brighter and Dave O’Keeffe had to get down smartly to smother McNeil’s dangerous cross.

Colin O’Brien then came close to breaking the deadlock 20 minutes from time but his powerful header from Mulconroy’s corner was narrowly wide.

The same player was denied again on 75 minutes when Colm Daily got back to head his chip off the line.

The 90 minutes failed to separate the sides and four minutes into extra-time, O’Brien came up with his magnificent effort to settle the tie.

AVONDALE UNITED: O’Keeffe, Kiernan, Horgan, Cahill, Triggs, Caulfield, Bruton (Cummins 62), Mulconroy, Lougheed, Spratt (Cronin 83), O’Brien (Doody 120).

CHERRY ORCHARD: Gallagher, O’Sullivan, P McNevin (Roche 24), Notaro, Daily, McNeil, A McNevin, Curran, Crowther, O’Connor, Moran (Brennan 83).

Referee: D Deady (Cork).


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