KDFL LUMSDEN LEAGUE CUP (ROUND 1)
Coill Dubh AFC 3 Suncroft AFC 2
Cusack Park was the setting for the latest meeting of this historical, competitive rivalry between Coill Dubh AFC and Suncroft AFC as both sides looked to advance to the next round of the prestigious KDFL Lumsden Cup. A game of two halves. Suncroft travelling short of some vital players due to injury. It was the Dubh’s that started brightest. As early as the fifth minute, a lovely one-two between Ryan Murran and Sean MacMahon allowed Murran to pick up the ball in the Croft penalty box, drive past the defence and unleash a fine drilled shot that found the back of the net, despite the best efforts of Kevin McDonald in the visiting goal. The home side kept up the pressure and a corner taken by Sean MacMahon in the 11th minute was headed just over the goal.
Suncroft finally began to play ball and Dylan Connolly almost grabbed an equaliser with a free-kick from the edge of the area just passing the wrong side of the post. Soon after Stevie Coyne came close next with his powerful effort forced onto the crossbar by the Coill Dubh 'keeper. The home side, who had been looking dangerous from set-pieces during the half, grabbed their second from a corner on the half hour mark when their persistent pressure paid off and they doubled their advantage. Sean MacMahon’s corner found Billy McNamee, whose glancing header gave Kevin McDonald no chance from close range. Suncroft grew into the game and their best spell just before half time, with a well-struck free kick going inches wide of the keeper's left post. Another effort was carried away by Luke Anderson in goal, only to hit the crossbar and then be cleared to safety. The score at halftime was 2-0 to Coill Dubh.
Suncroft were again forced to re-shuffle the team for the second half. Central defender Shane Hanly having to go off injured with young attacker Cian McGowan entering the fray. The second half saw a much more determined Suncroft side though. Midfield trio of Dylan Connolly, Kieron Sheedy and Eamon Doyle were beginning to pull the strings for their side and opportunities began to appear. Cian McGowan forced a good save when his right footed effort from close range was stopped en-route to the bottom corner. Connolly was next to be presented with a chance, after being played through by Ben Kinsella he failed to keep his shot down and fired over the bar. Sheedy, Connolly and Doyle were involved in Suncroft's first goal on the hour mark, Sheedy's through ball finding Connolly whose left footed effort forced another good save from the Coill Dubh 'keeper but Eamon Doyle was on hand to pick up the rebound and keep his composure to score, leaving the minimum between the sides.
Suncroft played some of their best football of the game, dominating most of the exchange and causing problems for the Dubh’s' defence. The heroics of club captain Luke Anderson in goal prevented them from equalising through Ben Kinsella on two separate occasions. Coill Dubh pushed for a third goal, and in the seventieth minute, a superb dipped cross from the left wing by Cian McMahon across the six-yard box narrowly missed an on-rushing Conor Comiskey by inches. Suncroft pressed hard for their equaliser and got their well-earned reward in the eighty third minute when Ryan Leonard's cross from the right was controlled expertly by Connolly and his low right footed effort found the bottom corner of the net. The away side had further chances to put themselves in front, Connolly beat two defenders to make space for the shot but his effort agonisingly cleared the crossbar and Cian McGowan forcing the most impressive of a collection of impressive saves from the Coill Dubh 'keeper. Not for the first time this season, Suncroft's failure to make their chances count cost them in the end. With only four minutess of normal time left to play, Coill Dubh snatched a late winner with a quick break away.
Over the course of the second half the Dubh’s introduced Jack O'Brien, Damien Leeson, Dylan Hannon, and Barry Noone to freshen up a tired Dubh’s midfield. This would prove crucial as a header won by Damien Leeson found Dan Smal, whose delightful pass over the Croft right fullback sent Cian MacMahon into acres of space on the left wing. MacMahon’s delivery found Dylan Hannon, who laid it off superbly to Barry Noone who cooly slotted home to put Coill Dubh 3-2 up.
Coill Dubh held on for a hard-fought win against some fine performances from Suncroft. The Dubh’s players and management alike will be delighted with the performance and result. Into the hat for the second-round draw, standout performances were seen from Jason Wyse, Cian MacMahon, and Dan Small. The latter’s battling display in midfield was his best of the season so far. Ryan Murran was back to his very best as a playmaker and got himself on the scoresheet. Luke Anderson enhanced his reputation as one of the top two keepers in the Senior League with another man of the match display. For Suncroft Dylan Connolly was a constant threat, both Kieran Sheedy and Eamon Doyle worked tirelessly in midfield while using the ball well with Josh Lee and Craig Durney both in top form also.