Extra-time delight as Cork win Umbro Cup
By DAIRE WALSH
Dublin & District Schoolboys League 1
Cork Youth Leagues 3
(after extra time)
EXTRA-TIME goals from Conor O’Driscoll and Corey Long proved crucial in Tolka Park yesterday afternoon.
After their heartbreaking defeat in last year’s decider, Cork Youth Leagues secured the FAI Umbro Youth Inter League Cup despite the best efforts of a spirited Dublin & District Schoolboys League side.
Cork had enjoyed a bright start to the proceedings, with left-winger Bobby O’Donoghue (of Youghal FC) causing the DDSL rearguard a number of problems.
Peter Hopkins and Conor Mahony had decent attempts on goal for Dublin in the 19th and 23rd minutes respectively, but Cork would come into the tie in a major way during the second part of the opening period, with Ringmahon Rangers midfielder Alan Browne’s 25-yard free-kick on the half-hour initially being spilled by Nathan Murphy, before the DDSL shot-stopper claimed the ball just ahead of O’Donoghue.
Cork were beginning to stretch DDSL on the break. O’Donoghue put Sean O’Callaghan through on goal with 40 minutes gone on the clock and the Leeds AFC star managed to get his shot beyond the reach of Murphy, but Eoin Kinsella was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
The visitors were hoping to maintain this momentum upon the resumption, but it was actually DDSL who were the quicker out the traps and, thanks to some excellent industry by Hopkins on the right-side, they opened the scoring on 52 minutes, when the Stella Maris winger crossed for the towering O’Sullivan to power a header past the stranded Minihane.
This was certainly a set-back to Cork’s prospects of coming away the with the big prize, and they suffered a further blow on 58 minutes when O’Donoghue had to depart the scenes through injury. However, Cork did have a ready made replacement in the form of Stephen Mulryan, who almost restored parity to the fixture a minute after his introduction when he broke free on the left, but his poked strike on goal was saved by the legs of Murphy.
Mulryan brought urgency to the Cork play in the final-third, though and they got their chance to cancel out DDSL’s lead with 25 minutes to go when referee David Jameson pointed to the spot after Anthony McAlavey had been fouled by Adam Zayed inside the area.
Sean O’Callaghan confidently slotted past Murphy into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to leave the game delicately poised heading towards the home stretch.
Up to this point in the second period, the action had been fairly relentless but things did settle down somewhat moving into the final quarter, as neither side wanted to leave themselves open in defence.
The combination of Browne and McAlavey did muster up a couple of late opportunities for Cork in normal time, though the excellent Hopkins had the best chance to win the game when he received the ball in a tight position deep into stoppage time but his final shot flew just past the far post.
This meant that the game was set for 20 minutes of extra-time.
After much pressing in the DDSL half, Cork would take the lead for the first time on 96 minutes, when Corey Long rose highest to head defensive partner Daragh Lucey’s set-piece to the net.
This gave Cork the confidence to push themselves over the line, and a third goal would arrive just two minutes later, when O’Driscoll was on hand to finish off a rebound after Mulryan’s right-footed effort had been saved by Murphy.
This would turn out to be the deciding moment of the game, and though DDSL tried as best they could to force their way back into the reckoning, Cork Youth Leagues were not to be denied.
Cork Youth Leagues: David Minihane; Ian Long, Daragh Lucey, Corey Long, Ryan Meaney (Kynan Rocks 72); Anthony McAlavey (Mark Murphy 108), Roy Kenny, Alan Browne, Bobby O’Donoghue (Stephen Mulryan 58); Sean O’Callaghan, Conor O’Driscoll.
Subs not used: Danny Aherne, Eoin O’Donovan, Liam O’Connor.
Dublin & District Schoolboys League: Nathan Murphy; Nathan Brown, Eoin Kinsella, Jamie Gooney, Stephen Dunne (Conor Watts 105); Peter Hopkins (Sam Verdon 100), Adam Zayed, Jake Donnelly, Conor Mahony (Stephen Hevey 36); Alan O’Sullivan, Mark Sandford.
Subs not used: Tim Hawe, Daniel Campbell, Evan Smyth, Stephen Morris.
Referee: David Jameson.