FAI Intermediate Cup
Killester Utd – 0
Drumcondra FC – 2
By Ben Kiely
Drumcondra FC sent Killester Utd crashing out of the FAI Intermediate Cup with an authoritative performance at Hadden Park. Goals either side of half time by Lenny McMillan and Brendan Lee were enough to see the Drums advance to the next round.
These two sides are separated by a short five minute drive and a meager four points in the LSL Senior 1. However, the exiguous difference in geography and league position is not directly proportional to the exorbitant gulf in class between the teams in the final third.
Early in the first half, Drumcondra’s Lenny McMillan emerged as a legitimate aerial threat and the focal point for most of the away side’s attacks. After just five minutes, the striker had the first real chance of the game. Following some good link up play in midfield by Paul Hansard and Philip McDonagh, the ball fell to McMillan inside the box. Goalkeeper Jason Donnery breathed a sigh of relief as he watched the forward’s effort sail harmlessly over the bar.
Heavy pressure from the away side earned them five corners in quick succession. From the fifth set piece, Alan White dexterously played the ball to the edge of the box and into the path of Terry McAuley, who’d made a swift run from the halfway line. The alacritous right back was unable to connect properly with his first time effort and the ball landed at McMillan’s feet who, again, smashed it over the crossbar.
Killester’s first chance came when Gareth Arkin’s superb 40 yard lofted free-kick was directed over the bar by Sean Rogers. Drumcondra answered almost immediately by breaking the deadlock. A masterclass in team passing on the left channel resulted in the ball finding its way to McMillan. With his back to goal, he showed great composure to turn and powerfully strike the ball into the back of the net off the near post.
The home side burst into life in response to conceding and found themselves in the ascendancy in the closing moments of the first half. A Killester counter attack forced goalkeeper Shane Finnegan to make a peculiarly pulchritudinous tackle on Daniel Murphy well outside his box, which was redolent of Lloris’s tackle on Walcott in this season’s North London derby.
The Drums began the second half determined to re-establish control of the match. A lapse in concentration from Killester saw them lose possession to David Ridgeway from their own kickoff. Ridgeway chipped the ball into box for McMillan to strike on the half volley and force a good save from Donnery.
In the 65th minute, heavy pressure forced Killester to concede yet another corner. Alan White floated a beautifully weighted ball into the box which was guided by the pate of Brendan Lee into the top corner of the net, much to the consternation of the home side.
Following another mix up during Killester’s restart, McMillan was through on goal and with only Donnery in his way. However, after failing to take the ball around the keeper, his panicked effort went well wide.
With 10 minutes left, Shane Farrell, seeing Finnegan off his line, had the temerity to try to lob the goalkeeper from the halfway line. His effort, although narrowly dipped over the crossbar, was perhaps was an indication of Killester’s desperation to find a way back into this game. Utd were unable to find that breakthrough goal due to a lack of proficiency up front and a resolute defensive display from the Drums.
Man of the Match: Lenny McMillan. The target man was a constant thorn in Killester’s side and the main attacking threat for the victors.