Karina Donnelly Senior Cup Quarter Final.
Naas United FC 1 Suncroft AFC 1
(Naas United FC win 3-1 on penalties AET)
Suncroft travelled to Naas for the KDFL Senior Cup Quarter Final tie with both teams coming into the
game on a decent run of form. The Home side began brightly with Samson Ometeso going on a
lovely run, he played a one two with Owen Moran before seeing his shot brilliantly blocked. Naas
didnt have to wait long to open the scoring though as Ver Nolan swung in a set piece in the fourth
minute, Suncroft only headed away as far as the edge of the box where Aaron Dunphy was perfectly
positioned as he struck a superb volley straight into the top corner of the goal giving the Croft
keeper Colin Farrell no chance. Two minutes later Naas captain John Paul Higgins headed just over
from another dangerous Nolan set piece. It was all the home side at this stage and another
opportunity went begging as Dane Higgins struck wide after a fine pass from Paul Ometeso.
Ometeso went close himself on fifteen minutes after a swift turn from Jamie Dunnes throw in saw
him strike just over the bar.The away side were struggling to make their passes connect in the
opening period of the game with the home side pressuring every touch and making life
uncomfortable for the Suncroft midfield. The 'Croft came close to equalising on the twenty minute
mark when Keith Kinsella's corner was met by the head of Josh Lee who saw his header crash back of
the post. Ben Kinsella was next to try his luck for Suncroft but saw his goal bound effort blocked by
Naas centre half JP Higgins. Suncroft applied pressure for the remainder of the half without creating
any clear cut opportunities while Naas always remained a threat on the counter with Dane Higgins
pace out wide and Paul Omoteso always dangerous on the ball.
The second half picked up in a similar fashion to how the first ended with Suncroft unable to find a
way through the Higgins marshalled Naas defence. Ben Kinsella had the first opportunity of the half,
with fifty five minutes played, when Dylan Connolly found him coming in from the right but he failed
to get an adequate connection on his effort. The Corft’s Kieran Sheedy looked like he had the
equaliser when he found himself unmarked from a Kinsella corner but his header was excellently
saved by Keith Higgins in the Naas goals. Higgins was well positioned to stop a Niall Costigan effort
from outside the box soon after as it began to look like Suncroft would never score. The visitors
finally found the equalising goal with ten minutes remaining when a dangerous Kieran Sheedy free-
kick was headed down by Liam Knight and Niall Flynn in the right place to apply the finishing touch
from close range to level matters. Neither team could find a winning goal in the remaining ten so
the game went to extra time. With two sets of tired players at this point, there was little
goalmouth action during extra time, the closest to a goal either side came was when Higgins
stretched to tip away a Dylan Connolly cross just as it looked like Eoin Doyle was about to head it
home. After 110 mins of football in rising temperatures the game went to the lottery of a penalty
shoot-out, which Naas ran out 5-4 winners. Suncroft will surely feel a little hard done by to come
away with nothing from the game but it's Naas who march on to the semis feeling confident they
can go all the way in the cup after getting through a tough tie here.
The away side were served well on the day with strong performances from Connolly, Sheedy, Ryan
Farrell and Paddy Flood. With Naas Utd served best from penalty saving match winner Keith Higgins
in goals and the excellent Paul Omotesa in midfield.