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FAI Junior Cup (Round 2)

Allenwood Celtic 2 Straffan AFC 3 (AET)

It was a dry but chilly day in Killina Road, Allenwood for this FAI Junior Cup Round 2 tie between Allenwood Celtic AFC and newly crowned Premier Cup Champions Straffan AFC.

The teams were closely matched throughout the game and this was particularly evident in the first half with plenty of chances at both ends of the pitch. Early on in the game Straffan’s Sam Friel sent a cross in to test Allenwood keeper Stephen Scully, which he gathered well. Not long after, at the other end, Evan Price threaded a lovely ball through for Mark Dunne which he almost got on the end of, but Straffan netminder Matt Duggan reached it first.

Straffan then pressed again to create an attack which resulted in a goalmouth scramble which Allenwood safely cleared. Straffan managed to get a couple of corners in a matter of minutes which were both well dealt with by Shane Merriman and then Stephen Scully, who punched the second corner clear. With ten minutes left in the first half the ball broke to Mark Dunne of Allenwood. He rounded the defenders to get a shot away which was just over the crossbar.

Before Referee Alan Finn’s whistle blew to end the first half, Dunne again had a lovely chance saved by the Straffan keeper Matt Duggan’s finger tips, following a lovely buildup by Shane Merriman and Price who flicked the ball nicely to Dunne.

The second half began with Allenwood winning a corner following good pressure from Jason Wyse. Darren ‘Daz’ Judge took the corner which was caught cleanly by Duggan in the away goal. Keeping up their good start to the half, Allenwood again had a chance with a shot by Jay Ryan saved. The play switched to the other end of the field once more with Straffan’s Shane McEvoy sending in a cross which Scully saves, but breaks to Jamie Boyne, who sends it wide. Following several chances for both sides, the breakthrough came for Straffan eventually when they broke down the allenwood defence on the on eighty sixth minute with neat one touch passing between Boyne and Dunne and the ball ended up on the wide left and Kelly squared the ball to Dunne who tapped home to give the visitors the lead.. The lead was short lived however, as Allenwood’s Evan Price and Mark Dunne’s constant pressure up front won Allenwood another corner which was taken by Shane Merriman. The corner created a scramble in the box which resulted in a shot by Eoin O’Reilly which was blocked by James Gannon’s hand and resulted in a penalty. The formidable Daz Judge took the penalty clean and low to Suggan’s right to level the game. The draw was the final score at the end of normal time and the game went to two 10 minute periods of extra time. There were no scores in the first half of extra time, with Straffan being awarded a free kick four minutes in, which was cleared by Eoin O’Reilly. The second half saw both sides create chances from the start, with Allenwood’s Jay Ryan immediately dribbling into the box and getting a shot off which was saved. The excellent Price again passed through to his partner Mark Dunne who hit the crossbar with a shot which rebounded to Shane Merriman. Merriman made no mistake with his finish and put Allenwood into the lead for the first time in the game.

With only a couple of minutes remaining in the game, Straffan scored their equaliser following a goalmouth scramble, when Glenn Holland sprayed a ball to the left wing for John Tracey who inturn crossed the ball in for Shane Mc Namara to slot home the equaliser from five yards.

It appeared another penalty shootout was on the cards for Straffan two weeks in a row however with one last ditched attack Glenn Holland one again crossed in a peach of a cross to Jamie Boyne at the back post who smashed the header home on the 110th minute to give Straffan the win and progress to the third round of the FAI Junior Cup. Best on the day for Straffan were Jamie Boyne in the middle Shane Mc Namara at the back and Matthew Duggan in goals. While for Allenwood Stephen Scully and Shane Merriman were best.

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