Leinster Junior Cup
East Wall Bessborough-2
Luke Fitzpatrick ensured a fittingly dramatic ending to a tight and tense Leinster Junior Cup quarter final in Clontarf on Friday night.
Just when it looked like we would have to tune into extra time to see what would happen next and who would progress to the last four the classy defender came up with a last minute goal to send the 2014/15 winners through.
So late was the header that it meant the now LSL sixth tier outfit only lead for 30 seconds of the cup clash. However they were in front when it mattered most and having twice come from behind ensured the moved to within one win of another prestigious final.
The second half may had as much action and drama as a Die Hard box set but the first was more like an episode of Nationwide- slow to get going and relatively dull.
Eastwall looked a threat in behind for the hosts but Collinstown shaded the early exchanges. Graham Doyle showed some nice touches and Dean Carpenter again showing he is a left back that would be at home in the League of Ireland. However the visitors failed to create any chances of note with an Eastwall defence well marshaled by Jeff Flood looking solid.
On 20 minutes Ger Short did manage to break in behind but a brilliant Jason Reilly recovery challenge prevented him getting a shot on target. Fitzpatrick headed just over from the resulting corner and it looked like the Clondalkin side were going to go trough the gears. However Within a matter of seconds they were trailing.
Jeff Ennis cut out a pass in the middle of the park allowing Sean ‘Marley’ Martin to feed into the feet of Stephen McGuire. The big front man turned at a leisurely pace and walked two steps forward. With nothing on he set himself and in pure laid back fashion let fly and brilliantly found the bottom corner from 25 yards.
The goal spurred EWB on and both Reilly and Maguire had unsuccessful headed efforts during a period of home dominance.
Collinstown, who had to take short and his replacement Mikey Griffin off before half time, were full of effort but looked a bit rushed and struggled to create against a strong back four.
Considering they usually walk their way to handsome wins in the LSL Major 1 it may have been they were lacking practice with the uglier side of football and all they had to show for their efforts were a few Carpenter crosses until Griffin raced onto a punted clearance only to see a clever effort drift just over-he limped off afterwards.
Another Carpenter cross provided passage for the away side back into the game. Seconds after Maguire had flashed a volley over the bar, the captain crossed from deep, Ian McNeil drifted in off the right, meet the cross and looped a header over the keeper just three minutes into the half.
Again Collinstown saw more of the ball and McNeill and Coates began to grow into the game, but they fell behind for a second time just short of the hour mark. Captain Flood got his head to a free sent into the box and the ball fell to Ger Carroll who riffled home.
Again the goal filled the hosts with confidence and McGuire volleyed over from range soon after before the tricky Calvin Douglas pounced on a ball allowed bounce into the box, but stooped to head over from 7 yards with 20 minutes remaining.
At that stage there was a sense Collinstown were approaching the tie as there was only five minutes left and a more measured approach may have suited them.
However, the game swung massively in their favour after a crucial 60 seconds. First Douglas broke down the left flank beat three players and worked his way into the box before cutting cleverly back to Shane Rooney. The front man saw his first effort from 14 yards saved, but the ball fell back to him, he had time to take a touch and set himself, but failed to kill the game off and pulled his shot wide.
From the resulting passage of play another tricky wide man Darren Clarke attempted a left wing raid, but was brought down by Kevin Curtis. After settling down a spell of handbags the referee reached into his back pocket and reduced Eastwall to 10.
Collinstown were nigh on forced to play more football as a result and they began to take control. It wasn’t long before they were level. Coates collected throw from the right and was given time to cross he picked out Doyle and the former Dublin Bus regular net finder took the ball on his chest and volleyed home.
The visitors were not extra time keen and went all out to get the job done before 90 minutes. They thought they had done just that when Dylan McKeever fired home, but a flag cut the celebrations short. Derek McDonnell then saved brilliantly from Fitzpatrick before the away side had a number of half chances.
Just when it looked like they would have to put in some over time Fitzpatrick popped up with the winner. The centre half rushed to the near post and meet a great delivery with his head to finish into the far post to win the game in style.