Leinster Senior Cup
By Jonny Stapleton
They were not quite red hot in the snow last night, but Crumlin United progressed to the next round of the Leinster Senior Cup with ease despite weather so bad it ALMOST made keeper David Meehan’s Winter Olympics style ear muffs acceptable football attire.
LSL Senior 1B Swords Celtic came into this cup tie with a reputation of sleighing divisionally superior opposition in cup competition, but never came close to cutting the reigning champions down to size in new manager Gerry Gosson first game in charge.
Indeed the Northside outfits only shot on target came in 86 minute and it was a tame effort from 30 yards as Crumlin dominated, scoring a brace in each half to secure a place in the next round where they could draw League of Ireland opposition.
He might often find himself in the shadows of Martin Crammer and James Lee, the LSL’s top two players if you go by the FAI Intermediate Player of the Year awards, but Ger Rowe slightly out shone the midfield duo in the early exchanges.
Playing just off young striker Greg Moorehouse, ‘Buzzer’ proved key turning ‘keep ball’ into probing attacks with neat touches and a more adventurous streak.
Swords, who were missing a number of their former LOI contingent, seen very little of the ball early on and faced with a football hampering wind struggled to get out of their half. However, it was Crumlin’s superiority rather than the elements that lead to the opening goal.
Dragged apart by the reigning LSL champs movement and under the cosh for the opening 10 minutes the visitors were finally caught out.
A corner of Charlie Adams quality-the Stoke midfielders dead ball prowess makes him worth £10 million according to Fergie-from Martin Crammer was hurriedly cleared in the direction of Kevin Dempsey, the right winger, who plays a lot of his football at full back, pinged it back in toward Alan McGreal. The goal scoring winger took it on his chest bought a bit of space and fired home right footed to open the scoring after just 10 minutes.
Swords did try to respond and Barry Caulfield curled a shot wide of the post, but Crumlin looked comfortable and after Simon Dunne brilliantly denied McGreal and blocked from Moorehouse, Crumlin went two to the good.
Unlike Manchester United, who produced more crosses than the mass going community of Ireland to no avail against Fulham on Sunday, Crumlin United turned a centre into a goal. Moorehouse nodded a left wing cross the way of Rowe and the playmaker fired home first time from 19 yards. The brilliant effort was as nonchalant as the celebration and by that stage the hosts looked confident of producing a goal feast.
Swords, however, finally found some shape and thanks in particular to Keith Reilly and Adam Hanley began to break up Crumlin’s continued attacks.
Moorehouse did come close to trebling the advantage, but once again Dunne was on hand to foil the Saturday sides top scorer.
Sword seemed content with the two goal half-time deficit believing with the wind in their sails at the turn around they could have a positive impact at the other end of the pitch.
Caulfield came close with a long range half volley minutes after the restart, but the change in tide never came. The visitors were content to sit in their own half in a bid to thwart their hosts, but with a two goal cushion Crumlin were happy to keep the ball at the back and kill the game out.
Daniel Smith did have a half chance from a long punt, but with more possession the Senior Sunday side created the halfs better chances.
Lee came close twice as did Ciaran Reilly and despite the fact United failed to build on their lead there was a general consensus amongst both sets of players that with 20 minutes remaining the result could only go the way of the Pearse Park side.
The final few minutes were more like a Tuesday night training session than match for the home side and when McGreal fired home from inside the box after being played in by Rowe it was all over bar the shouting.
A mini blizzard in the final few minutes made playing conditions nigh on impossible, but that didn’t stop United rounding off the rout with a fourth. Again Rowe was involved as substitute David O’Keefe was provided an easy finish from all of seven yards.
Man of the Match: Ger Rowe: Rowe was creative throughout, scored a goal and was involved in creating two.
Crumlin United: David Meehan, Ciaran Reilly, Carl Redmond, Ross Carrig, Eric McGill, Kevin Dempsey, James Lee, Greg Moorehouse, Ger Rowe, Alan McGrill. subs: David O’Keefe, Graham Zambra, David O’Keefe.
Sword Celtic: Simon Dunne, Niall Hudson, David Cox, Adam Hanlon, Keith Reilly, Bernard Smith, Anthony White, Mark Gibson, Daniel Smith, Barry Caulfield, Andrew Timmons. Subs: Neill Fenn, Alex Ryan.