LINNANE LEAGUE CUP quarter-final
Grattan United 3 Wilton United 2 (aet)
|Grattan scorer Tim Long celebrates his equaliser..|
Grattan United turned in a performance of true grit as they came from behind to pip Wilton United 3-2 in a thrilling quarter-final tie in the Murphy’s Stout Linnane League Cup at O’Neill Park on a cold and windy Saturday afternoon.
The wind did threaten to spoil the game as a spectacle but these two Premier A sides rose above the elements and there were spells of admirable skill, also brilliant performances, particularly by Grattan’s John Kelleher and Wilton's Steve Daly, not to mention some brilliant goals, three in extra time.
Daly really put it up to home side Grattan when he stroked Wilton ahead in the 72nd minute but the never say die Northsiders took the game to extra time when the irresistible Timmy Long took full advantage of a defensive howler with minutes to go.
|Grattan's Mark O'Sullivan heads on|
Grattan have a large panel this season and a good one too as illustrated by their subs, particularly by John Paul O’Sullivan who headed Grattan into an early extra time lead. Kelleher probably deserved a goal for his five star show in the Grattan colours and his soft free increased their lead before Wilton struck back immediately to leave the outcome in doubt right to the end of the 110 minutes.
Wilton had the contrary wind to their backs in the first half and forced a string of early corners but it was Grattan who had the first decent chance. That came from their 14th minute corner, floated in by Darren Galvin. The ball was half cleared, recovered by Mark O’Sullivan and his prod forward found Galvin who let fly but the windswept shot curled across the goal and wide.
Grattan really worked very hard all through but particularly when against the wind in that first half and that was illustrated midway through when centre forward Long popped up in the goalmouth to head clear from a Daly cross.
|Wilton's Fergal Kelleher heads clear against Barry O'Rourke|
Seconds later, Long was involved at the other end. Barry O’Rourke, who had a quite a battle with Phil Haly, found Long and he in turn set up Steve Walsh for a low drive that forced a good save from keeper Mark Dooley.
In the 23rd minute, Wilton's Paul O’Mahony got away after a poor Grattan free but was halted at the edge of the box with a superb tackle from young Brian O’Sullivan. Then O’Rourke got Kelleher in at the other end but a super intervention by Alan McCarthy saved Wilton.
McCarthy again came to the visitors’ rescue in the 33rd minute. Walsh and Kelleher had combined well and the latter’s cross was heading for the head of Long until McCarthy got there himself to clear.
Wilton's work rate may have been marginally less than that of Grattan but their passing game was good and they came close enough with ten to go to the break. Then Daly found Fergal Kelleher. He laid it off to Eric McCarthy and took the return before firing a curling shot towards goal. It was well hit but keeper Mark Smith held it well.
Grattan ended the half on the attack. Following good work by Mark O’Sullivan, Long crossed to Galvin but his shot was deflected for a corner. Grattan finished the half with another flag kick and started the second with a couple, all fruitless.
|Wilton keeper Mark Dooley faces Grattan sub John Paul O'Sullivan (12).|
It looked like a Grattan goal in the 63rd minute. Then Long and Kelleher again combined and got Mark O’Sullivan into the box but again that man Alan McCarthy came to the rescue with a well timed challenge. The Grattan defence though leaked a few minutes later and Paul O’Mahony got clean through but lifted his shot over the top as keeper Smith approached.
But Wilton found the target in the 72nd minute. A good move got Kelleher free on the left and his pass across the box was accurate and clinically dispatched by the incoming Daly. Grattan responded well. They forced a corner two minutes later. Galvin sent it over and Goulding’s flashing header was knocked away off the line by Phil Haly.
The pressure on Wilton mounted as Grattan began to deploy their subs. Declan Gostel, just on, started a free flowing move. Goulding got in on it and sent Long in for a shot but that was blocked for a corner. Kelleher got on the end of the corner and there were penalty appeals but all they got was another corner, which was very well held by keeper Dooley.
Wilton came close to scoring in their next attack but Paul O’Mahony curled a penalty box shot just over. Grattan equalised with five to go, Long spectacularly on target from the edge of the box, after a defender had mis-kicked and, with time running out, Gostel had a low drive well saved by Dooley.
|Grattan's Alan O'Riordan leaves Steve Daly on the deck.|
Dooley though was beaten in the first minute of extra time. Then Grattan sub John Paul O’Sullivan timed his run well to meet an inviting Kelleher cross and his close range header made it 2-1. John Paul almost sneaked another but his effort from another Kelleher cross went over the bar.
The home side went 3-1 ahead two minutes into the second period when Kelleher's free from the left went all the way, the visiting keeper no doubt distracted as a series of Grattan players tried to reach the incoming ball
Wilton got one back in the 104th minute. It looked as if O'Mahony’s brilliant run into the box would prove fruitless when his first effort was blocked but he managed to find the net off the rebound. The Grattan defence though would not be opened up again and they held on for a victory that was just about deserved.
Grattan United: Mark Smith, Alan O’Riordan, John Cotter, Harry Goulding, Brian O’Sullivan, Barry O’Rourke, Mark O’Sullivan, John Kelleher, Tim Long, Steven Walsh and Darren Galvin. Subs used: Anthony Peelo for O’Riordan (52nd minute), Declan Gostel for Glavin (66th) and John Paul O’Sullivan for Walsh (81st).
Wilton United: Mark Dooley, Brian Kelly, Darragh Nolan, Thomas Hayes, Alan McCarthy, Eric McCarthy, Stephen Duffy, Phil Haly, Paul O’Mahony, Fergal Kelleher and Steve Daly. Sub used: Brian Leonard for E. McCarthy (half-time in extra time).
Referee: Denis Crowley.