West Prevail in FAI Cup after penalty shoot out

After this game finished 3-3 in 110mins, the city side and hosts West United emerged winners yesterday to progress to Round 3 of the FAI cup on penalties. This was a game that hung on knife edge from start to finish so much so that Liam Mullins who was delegated the task of note taking for the game found his notebook brimming with detail and in fact he ran out of paper when the game went to extra time. Big thanks to Liam for his wonderful match detail which was articulately recorded; he was well up for the job; having been well rested after his week in the sun. I believe he was the proud model of a ‘mankini’ whilst on holidays and there was great comments passed on his all-over wonderful tan!! Thanks Liam!  It was an action packed first half but West had the earlier upper hand for the first 7mins of the game but then Colemanstown started to create some meaningful chances.  On 8mins Alo Finn had a penetrating run down the left wing before sending in a super cross to Tom Flan whose powerful header hit the cross bar and was cleared by West’s defence. On 13mins West were awarded a corner and the ensuing play was headed off the goal line by the ever vigilant Gareth Lally. Seconds later West were thick in the action again but a goal bound effort was well stopped by Gelston. Then Colemanstown had a crack at goal from Flan following a swiftly taken Richie Lally free kick, passed out wide to Alo Finn who sent in a superb cross which Flan met on the half volley and his cracker from 20yards found the net. On 17mins West broke on the counter attack and fired in a bullet from 20yards which thundered off the cross bar but Gelston was on hand to collect in time before the inrushing player could get a boot to it. With 20mins gone West restored parity when their striker headed home a free kick to make it 1-1.  2mins later the hosts broke down on the left wing and a cross into the danger area was met by an excellent strike to make it 2-1 to West. Then Sean Hardy cleared another dead cert effort from West when he snatched the ball beautifully from the feet of the striker and cleared from the danger area. West made it 3-1 on 33mins when a slack back pass from defence to our custodian failed to travel and the striker nipped in ahead of the outcoming Gelston to widen the gap between the teams. 3-1 it remained at half time but Colemanstown refused to panic. If West thought they had the business done by half time, well then they were put thinking again. Manager Moran used his full panel to optimum value as well as sparing the couple of Monivea/Abbey players who were playing the Intermediate County Football semi-final and the Pearses lads who were playing Junior football later in the evening. At the start of the 2nd half, Stephen Rabbitt was introduced and Colemanstown found themselves getting the upper hand. A good strike from Ray Moran from 25yards out was saved by the keeper and soon afterwards West’s No. 7 saw the line for a double yellow. Then a double whammy for Colemanstown as Gelston received a straight red for taking down the inrushing striker and as Jayo Finn complained to the ref, he received a 2nd yellow and both Jayo and Gelston left the pitch together pondering about their offences and availing of an early shower. Would 9 man Colemanstown be able for 10 man West Utd? it was getting more like a 9-a-side game!. Tactical switches had to be made and manager Moran was left scratching his head. Lee Murphy played in goal for the remainder of the game as Colemanstown’s players knew there was a bit more in them. On 65 mins a great move involving Richie Lally & Ray Moran founds Kegs but his effort was saved. Colemanstown were playing great flowing attacking football although understrength in numbers but were now in the supremacy. Johnny Lally was introduced at this stage and made an immediate impact tormenting the West players and posing great problems. With 10mins to go Ronnie Geraghty & Fearghal Flannery were introduced in quick succession as Lee Murphy was holding his own in goal. We clawed the score back with 8 mins to go, orchestrated by Johnny Lally who played Damo Wynne on the right wing and his superb cross to Ray Moran left the West keeper with no chance from 15yards. Then with 5 mins left on the clock Colemanstown were awarded an indirect free kick from 25yards straight in front of goal. Richie Lally’s quick thinking paid dividends as he tapped to Ronnie Geraghty and with a beautiful strike blasted to the net. And so to 20mins extra time where neither side came near to creating anything meaningful as two tired sides still gave it hammer and tongs. Extra time still saw the 2 sides locked at 3 apiece and so the game had to be decided in the cruellest of fashion. West prevailed in the shoot-out with 2 good stops from Fearghal Flannery & Stephen Rabbitt, ironically the 2 heros for the reserves the day before as Richie Lally, Ronnie Geraghty & Ray Moran all found the net. In the end for Gerry Moran’s enterprising team it was not to be. That said 9 man Colemanstown will be more than happy to put in a performance as they did and come so near.