Kelleher Rochestown hero as double Cup success for St. Francis
Bank of Ireland FAI Schools Tom Ticher Junior National Cup Final
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny 0-0 St. Francis College, Rochestown (AET) St. Francis won 4-2 on pens
Alan Kelleher emerged as the St. Francis College, Rochestown hero from this keenly fought Bank of Ireland FAI Schools Tom Ticher Junior Cup National Final at Home Farm FC, Whitehall after his heroics in the penalty shoot-out helped the Cork School to claim a famous win over Donegal kingpins St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny.
Coming into this afternoon’s game, St. Eunan’s were missing their central midfielder and team captain Michael Gallagher who was ruled out due to injury while St. Francis College had Patrick Buckley and Adam Hennessy both serving suspensions.
However, it proved to be a historic day for Rochestown who achieved a magnificent double with a clean sweep of National Cups after their Senior side had edged out Rice College, Westport in last week’s Dr. Tony O’Neill Senior Cup Final at the same venue.
Kelleher who had kept a clean sheet in a game that failed to yield a goal for either side even after 20 minutes of extra time then finished the day on a high in the penalty shoot-out.
First the Cork City U17 ‘keeper guessed correctly to keep out St. Eunan’s skipper Conor O’Donnell’s penalty and hand his side the advantage before stepping up himself and coolly sending the Letterkenny ‘keeper Eoin O’Brien the wrong way with his well-placed winning kick.
Former Ipswich Town and Cork City midfielder Cathal Lordan is now teaching at Rochestown and along with fellow teacher Derick Murray they look after the side and he was full of praise for Kelleher.
“Alan (Kelleher) has won three shoot-outs for us on our way to this Cup success. It’s incredible he saves them and scores them. He’s like our superman when it comes to penalty shoot-outs” said Lordan.
The game was a really tight affair with both sides having a limited amount of chances but neither able to make the break through.
St. Eunan’s had the better of the early part of the opening half and Daragh Ellison went close with a 25 yard drive that shaved the outside of Kelleher’s left hand post.
While later Connor O’Reilly set up Ryan O’Donnell but his deflected effort was held by the Rochestown ‘keeper.
The Cork side began to come more into the game in the final ten minutes of the half and were close to going ahead when Conor Russell crashed a firm header off the cross bar from Rory Doyle’s well placed free kick.
Then from another Doyle free Josh Honohan did head in but he was pulled back for offside.
Rochestown continued to dominate after the break, Russell headed a Doyle free wide and both Evan Donlan and Ross Slevin were both also off target with close range efforts.
Honohan did well at the other end to block a fierce Connor O’Reilly drive that came out to Conor O’Donnell but he fired well over.
St. Eunan’s finished the game on the attack and fine defensive play by the impressive Rochestown left back Colin O’Mahoney deflected out a cracking shot from Brendan Barr for a corner following Conor O’Donnell’s great left wing cross.
Twenty minutes of extra time still failed to break the deadlock and so it was left to penalties to decide the outcome.
Rochestown proved the more accurate with their spot kicks with Jaze Kabia, Conor Russell, Evan Donlan and Kelleher all on target.
St. Eunan’s midfielder Connor O’Reilly who had an impressive campaign for his side, saw his opening penalty hit the butt of the post and bounce clear.
Kelleher then kept out Connor O’Donnell’s kick in between successful efforts from James Carolan and Ryan O’Donnell but it was Rochestown’s day and a 4-2 tally on penalties gave them that historic Cup double.
ST. EUNAN’S COLLEGE, LETTERKENNY | Eoin O’Boyle, Dylan O’Brien, Shane O’Donnell, Charlie White, Paul Bradley, Connor O’Reilly, Daragh Ellison, Connor O’Donnell (Captain), Ryan O’Donnell, Brendan Barr, James Carolan.
SUBS NOT USED | Mark McDaid, Eoghan Jordan, Clinton Ilupeju, Anthony Gallagher, Keenen Diver, Jonathan Coady, Kyle McGarvey, Peter McEniff, Patrick Tobin, Cormac Finn
TEACHERS | Peter Lee, Paul Browne.
ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE, ROCHESTOWN | Alan Kelleher, Ger O’Mahoney, Josh Honohan, Conor Russell, Colin O’Mahoney, Nathan O’Connell, Dylan O’Flaherty (Shane Downey 69), Ross Slevin, Rory Doyle (Captain), Jaze Kabia, Evan Donlan
SUBS NOT USED | Piaras O’Halloran, Daniel O’Donovan, Dylan Fenton, Callum Finnegan.
TEACHERS | Cathal Lordan, Derick Murray.
REFEREE | Lee Duffy (Dublin)