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Feature game - Leinster Leader



Leinster Football Association Junior Cup (Round 5)


Clonmullion FC (KDFL) 3 1 Old County FC (LSL)


Top Dublin outfit Old County from the Major Saturday Division of the Leinster Senior League were the visitors to Micheál O Neill Park on Saturday in the last 16 of the LFA Junior Cup. The home side flew out of the blocks early on and Lee Day was fouled close to the touchline Garry Comerford stepped up to take the free kick and cleverly picked out Nathan Robinson in the box. He controlled the ball beautifully and turned to shoot and appeared to be fouled by centre half Scott Thompson but the penalty claims were waved away and the ball deflected out for a corner. Comerford again took charge of the set piece and swung in a wicked ball which was met powerfully by the head of Jay Connell whose effort hit the bar and glanced back into play where Mark Hughes rose above keeper Jamie Cleary to power home his header and put his side ahead after only 2 minutes.


Buoyed by the great start Clonmullion were first to everything and another free kick from Comerford on the fifth minute again picked out Connell whose firm header was straight at Cleary. It took the visitors fifteen minutes to have their first attempt on goal when the speedy winger Zack Furey was fouled by Benny Lawlor and Ryan Reape whipped the free kick around the wall but wide of Will Kennys goals. With twenty minutes gone a Comerford corner flew over everyone in the box but Connell who was waiting at the back post was first to react and retrieved the ball before laying it off to Jody Dillon whose cross was headed powerfully goalwards by Hughes but just clipped the top of the crossbar. 


Old County were gradually playing their way back into the game Furey latched on to a flicked header from centre forward Callum Keane and pulled the ball back to the edge of the box where Reape arrived late but dragged his effort wide. County were awarded a free kick twenty five yards out after a foul on Keane and Kristian Bowden struck a great dipping effort over the wall but young keeper Will Kenny made a great save down low to his right. With ten minutes remaining in the first half Jack Dooley came into replace the excellent Jay Connell who had received an injury in a strong challenge by Jordan McNeil and Dooley made a great interception at the back post after Kyle Dunphy raided down the right and crossed towards the in-rushing Keane. Five minutes later Reape picked out Eoghan Roe on the edge of the box but his first-time effort was well saved by Kenny. Just on half time Lee Doyle who was a constant outlet for Clonmullion and a constant threat was fouled for the umpteenth time and Robinson’s free kick was spot on the head to the ever dangerous Hughes whose brilliant header again rebounded off the crossbar but Chris Chander’s was first to react and headed home to make it 2 nil to the home side at the break. 


Old County had a mountain to climb and that task was made much harder when their keeper was dismissed at half time.  But they attacked straight from the start of the second half. Roe and Furey on both flanks were seeing loads of possession but Dooley and Lawlor were holding them very well. Roe did manage get a great cross in on the fifty fifth minute and Keane allowed the ball to drop before side footing it just wide. Substitute keeper Kalvin Geraghty was pushing his defence up the pitch allowing himself room to dribble the ball out of the box but his distribution wasn't always on point and when Keane Cully took the ball down on his chest he quickly released Doyle out wide whose effort was cleared off the line by the retreating full back McNeil. County were pushing on in search of a goal and were leaving loads of space in behind and when the pacy Brian Byrne was introduced for Lee Day Dillon played a lovely through ball for the youngster, but Geraghty came out quickly to clear with his feet. With fifteen minutes remaining the visitors pressure paid off when Reape got to the ball first just inside the box and toe poked the ball away just as Dooley was attempting to clear and the referee pointed to the spot. Keane made no mistake down low to Kenny’s left. They threw everything at a very well drilled Clonmullion defence but couldn't find a way through and were vulnerable themselves with so many bodies forward. Robinson hit the target with a free kick which the keeper could only parry to the feet of Comerford but Daniel Byrne blocked his shot. A Doyle throw in was headed clear by Byrne and fell invitingly to Comerford who is never afraid to try the spectacular and normally hits the target but his vicious volley flew narrowly wide. Home keeper Kenny spotted how high County's defence were and picked out Doyle down the right with a pinpoint pass and he tried to square it to opposite winger Byrne but full back Dunphy slid in to avert the danger. 


With only minutes remaining in injury time Old County keeper came up to the half way line to take a free kick with all his team pushed on in search of the equaliser but who else but the magnificent Hughes rose highest to head away the danger and full back Lawlor ran on to the ball and with the keeper stranded he shot left footed from inside his own half and for what seemed like an eternity the ball bounced and bobbled into the back of the net to secure an historic victory for Clonmullion F.C. and put them into the hat for the quarter finals. Best for Old County were McNeil and Dunphy in defence Furey and Roe out wide and Reape and Keane up top. For Clonmullion it was a brilliant squad effort with the subs all making telling contributions, but Hughes was immense at the back and Comerford was so commanding and cool in midfield while Doyle’s work rate and option as an out ball was outstanding. There also has to be a special mention for the supporters who created an atmosphere that has never been witnessed in Micheál O Neill Park. The massive support brought their flags and their air horns and their chants and never stopped driving the players forward from the first whistle. A day that will never ever be forgotten by all those who were lucky enough to be there. 


Quarter finals in the draw which will be made during the coming week are Wexford Bohs, Lucan United, ROC Celtic, Kilcock Celtic, North End United, Parkville, New Oak Boys and Clonmullion FC.


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