Gaelcholáiste na Mara, Arklow 3-2 St. Peter’s CS, Passage West
Darragh McGerralt (45), Cal Kelly (80, 90+2) Killian Murphy (Pen 31), Chris Murphy (86)
The saga of this Cup tie was sure to stir up some interest as an appeal in Leinster held up the National Cup Semi Final stages. While Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair had booked their place in the National Cup decider last week, the other semi-final pairing was still up for grabs!
Both teams were primed to face off yesterday in Evergreen AFC but the game was abandoned shortly into proceedings as high winds in the Kilkenny venue made it too dangerous to continue.
Take II in Waterford IT Sports Arena this afternoon when again Gearóid Ó hÉalaithe’s side & Finbar Loftus’ crew did battle for the second time in a 24 hour period. The game definitely lived up to expectations as an epic encounter ensued with many talking points throughout the ninety minutes.
Cork side, St. Peter’s started the game brightly. Seán O’Reilly, Eoin Horgan and Cian Fleury were very imposing in their opening exchanges with shots on target from Killian Murphy and Dylan Walls but Arklow goalkeeper Tiernan Ó Muirrí was equal to the challenge.
The Leinster Champions were served a body blow when Ó Muirri was given his marching orders inside the half hour mark. The net-minder made a two footed tackle on St. Peter’s talisman Cian Fleury who was one on one with the keeper, straight through on goal. He gave match official Anthony Walsh no option but to send him packing.
St. Peter’s scholar Killian Murphy duly converted from the penalty spot to ensure a slight advantage in this tense showdown.
Unfortunately Fleury was unable to shake off the injury he sustained in that incident and was substituted nine minutes later with the introduction of Chris Murphy for the Passage West outfit.
Dylan Walls was very lively up front and tested debutant GK Jacques McCall with 40 minutes on the clock. McCall was relishing his new role and executed some fine saves for his side.
Gaelcholáiste na Mara showed great spirit and pressed high up the park in search of an equaliser before the interval. Their tenacity was rewarded with a brilliantly audacious set piece from playmaker Darragh mcGerralt as the ball flew past Coughlan’s goal.
All square at the break, one apiece.
Pádraig Ó’Cathán saw his goal disallowed shortly after the restart as the youngster was deemed to have handled the ball enroute to goal!
However, Gaelcholáiste na Mara were enjoyed a purple patch in the game on the hour mark. Tommy Rowan was finding himself in space down the flank and his pacy runs was causing havoc for the Passage West students. The consistent bombardment on goal saw Coughlan handle the ball outside his area as again Arklow turned the screw on their match winning endeavours.
It was hard to keep up with the action as Chris and Killian Murphy attempted shots from distance but unfortunately their quick thinking didn’t reap the rewards.
Padraig Ó’Cathan forced Coughlan into a brilliant save as the game came to life with 15 minutes to go.
Coughlan was called into action on 78 minutes as Cal Kelly lashed a screamer goal bound only for the keeper to palm the ball away brilliantly to safety.
The onslaught continued for the Cork keeper. Again it was Arklow’s Cal Kelly who pressed forward. The youngster made no mistake the second time around when he saw his effort fly past the diving Coughlan to make it 2-1 on 80 minutes.
It looked like the 10 men of Arklow did enough to see them through to yet another Cup Final but more heroics as super sub Chris Murphy slotted the ball past McCall with four minutes remaining. 2-2. Was extra time looming?
With 2 minutes of injury time played, it was that man Kelly again who produced the goods with a glancing header to grab the match winner right at the end of normal time! Heartache for St. Peter’s CS, Passage West who also lost out on the Senior Girls ‘B’ National title on Wednesday but elation for 10 men Gaelcholáiste na Mara! They live to fight another day.
The Bank of Ireland John Murphy Senior ‘B’ National Cup Final will be an all Irish affair with Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair booking their place in the Final last week with a 2-0 victory over Galway Community College.
The two sides are very familiar with each other as they met last season in their semi-final pairing. The Arklow lads enjoyed a comprehensive 4-0 win in Clones that day but who will be glorious this time out. It should make for a very entertaining tie.
GAELCHOLÁISTE NA MARA, ARKLOW: Tiernan Ó Muirrí, Daithí Kealy, Jacques McCall, Tommy Rowan, Tomás Lynch, Andrew Ó Maher, Pádraig Ó’Cathán, Darragh McGearralt, Jack Darcy, Cal Kelly, Jonathan Deveraux
SUBS: Daniel Mooney, Ryan Ó Laoire, Joshua Mills, Tony Kenny
TEACHER: Gearóid Ó hÉalaithe
ST. PETER’S COMMUNITY SCHOOL, PASSAGE WEST: Scott Coughlan, Michael O’Donovan, Maciek Jany, Jamie O’Sullivan, Billy Puriata, Eoin Horgan, Seán O’Reilly, Mark Hanlon, Cian Fleury, Killian Murphy, Dylan Walls
SUBS: Chris Murphy for Fleury (37), Adam Murphy for Hanlon (65), Michael Fenton for O’Reilly (78), Ryan Hunter for Fenton (87), Dylan Murphy
TEACHER: Finbar Loftus
REFEREE: Anthony Walsh (Waterford)