Leinster Senior Cup
By Jonny Stapleton
Photo Credit-Anto O’Brien
With arguably the two best LSL goal keepers on display at the Red Cow this morning this game was always going to be decided by either a special or fortuitous strike.
Fortune on this occasion favoured Crumlin as they edged a tight, tense and even tenacious tussle thanks to a late deflected Gerrard ‘Buzzer’ Rowe strike. To add insult to injury for the hosts the decisive strike came just seconds after Bluebell missed a penalty.
Both the teams and the lines were on first name basis, but that didn’t mean a friendly approach to the cup tie. The opening half was fractious to say the least. Neither side afraid to sink their teeth into a challenge in a game with a good bit of bite.
Indeed so prevalent was back chat and over exuberant challenges, that the referee was forced to produce more cards than a Hallmark worker at Christmas time, in the stop start 45 minutes.
In terms of football, the top sides cancelled each other out. With three in the middle of the park to Bluebell’s two Crumlin shaded possession, but where guilty of over playing and couldn’t find the goal scoring form that saw them hit over 20 goals in their last four games.
Long range efforts from Alan McGreal and Danny Loughran were as close as the champions came against lasts third place finishers.
The hosts, who used former Crumlin player and experienced centre half Peter Sherlock as a target man up front, might not have dominated in the opening 45, but they looked comfortable defensively and would have felt aggrieved not to be a goal up at the turn around.
Bluebell felt they should have had a penalty when Ger Banbrick was dragged down by David Meehan, but whilst the linesman waved his flag the referee waved play on.
It was hand bags at dawn at the start of the second half as tensions somehow rose further. A brilliant Jeffrey Flood tackle on McGreal won the admiration of both set of supporters, but more importantly seemed to inspire the ‘Bell players to focus more on wining the footballing battle than the physical one.
Peter Darcy became a creative force in the middle of the park and the Bluebell fans could stop wishing watching former player Ritchie Towell was on the park. The midfielder helped create a guilt edged chance for Glen Madden, but the left footed captain dragged a right foot shot wide.
Banbrick then stung the fingers of Meehan as Bluebell started to assert themselves on proceedings. They had the chance to make a positive impact on the score board just minutes later when Sherlock was needless up ended in the box with his back to goal, after more good Darcy play. However strike partner Bambrick’s spot kick hit low to the left was saved by Meehan.
Almost instantly Crumlin broke down the other end and took the lead. Sub Martin Crammer pulled the back to Rowe and the lively number 10 tried his luck from outside the box. The ball took a deflection and left the wrong footed Andy McNulty with no chance.
Right back Darrag Hill shot over for the hosts not too long after as the game opened up all of a sudden.
Meehan, whose goal keeping exploits often get lost in the goal scoring heroics of his team mates, was next to thwart the hosts, the keeper was down bravely to stop Brambrick as time ran out.
However, there was to be no Bell’ leveller, indeed they could have lost by more if James Lee hadn’t headed wide from six yards.
Man Of the Match: David Meehan. So good has the Joe Harte lookalike been this season that he might replace the troubled star in the Head and Shoulders adds. He wasn’t quite head and shoulders above the rest in the Red Cow, but his two interventions proved key in a finely balanced game.
Bluebell United: Andy McNulty, Darragh Hill, Anthony Keeler, Andrew Cleary, Jeffrey Flood, John Cleary, Glen Madden, Peter Darcy, Gerry Bambrick, Peter Sherlock, Robert Douglas. Subs: Mark Rooney, Trevor Molloy
Crumlin United: David Meehan, Kevin Dempsey, Carl Redmond, C Kenna, Ross Carrig, Barry Slatery, Daniel Loughran, James Lee, Lee Roach, Gerard Rowe, Alan McGreal. Subs: Martin Crammer, James Duffy, C Reilly.