Colemanstown United A Team went into this Connacht Cup clash v Galway Hibs at Headford Road on Saturday at the back of a difficult league campaign thus far. However, with a decent Christmas training programme behind them, this was an opportunity for the lads to show the benefits of their hard work.
Colemanstown started well in what was a fiercely contested encounter. Goalkeeper Alan Finn and his back four of Damien Wynne, Sean Hardiman, Jason Finn and Ronan Carr defended confidently and limited the home side to efforts from distance.
Richie Lally and Kerrill Hardiman more than held their own in midfield moving the ball cleverly to the attacking outlets of Ryan Noone and Mossy Carr on the wings. Geordan Kenny worked tirelessly helping out in midfield and supporting the dynamic Gary Lally up front.
The first big chance of the game fell Colemanstown’s way. After great work on the left wing, Mossy Carr fired in an inviting cross which Gary Lally met with a downward header. It looked destined for the net but the Hibs keeper pulled off a great save and managed to divert it over the bar.
With about 35 minutes on the clock, Hibs were reduced to 10 men after an off the ball incident. The home team responded to this adversity and were awarded a penalty shortly before half time. The penalty was struck well but Alan Finn dived full stretch to his right and made a superb save to keep it out. 0 0 at half time.
The second half was more of the same with both teams throwing caution to the wind. On 55 minutes, the home side broke the deadlock. After a ricochet in the Colemanstown box, the Hibs attacker was able to finish low to the net.
Midway through the second half, Ryan Noone and Mossy Carr who had given their all were replaced by Dylan Grady and Dean Reilly. Ronan Carr picked up a slight knock and was replaced by Fionn O Connor. The changes renewed Colemanstown’s efforts and they continued to push for an equaliser.
With one last throw of the dice, Jason Finn was moved into midfield, leaving three at the back, and Niall Gelston was brought into the midfield in place of Geordan Kenny who had run himself to a standstill. With the clock ticking past 90 minutes, hope was running out. With one final push, Colemanstown put another cross into the Hibs box which was headed away by the defence but only as far as Sean Hardiman who, from fully 30 yards out, met the ball flush on the volley and in what seemed like slow motion, players, coaches and supporters watched as it flew into the top corner. It was no more than what Colemanstown deserved for their efforts. We were now headed for extra time.
In extra time, neither team could force a winner despite small chances at either end. The tie was ultimately decided by the lottery of penalties where Hibs were successful on a score line of 4-3.
This was a fantastic game and although the result was unfavourable for Colemanstown, it was certainly a performance to be proud of and to build upon going forward.
Congratulations to Hibs and best of luck for the rest of the competition. Also, the club wishes a speedy recovery to the Hibs player who suffered a serious leg injury during the game. Match Report by Eoin Savo Kenny