CITY CHALLENGE CUP
Douglas Hall 4 Castleview 2
Douglas Hall, noteworthy also-rans in AUL 1, advanced to the last four of the Murphy’s Stout City Challenge Cup with a comfortable 4-2 win over Castleview, the probable champions in AUL 1A.
The Hall, two up at the break, added a third immediately afterwards and went four up thanks to a third quarter penalty. ‘View keeper Tony Carroll, injured midway through the second half, came up to play centre-forward and his goal sparked a mini revival but there was too much ground to make up and the Joe Harris managed home side survived.
Harris and his crew looked in for a tough afternoon as the visitors mounted an early siege, forcing three corners in the first three minutes. Indeed they should have scored from the third; the clearance broke to Alan Healy; his shot was parried but the incoming Neil Twomey was unable to turn in the loose ball.
Twomey had another opportunity in the 15th minute. That came after Keith Fitzgerald had headed on a Healy through ball but Twomey, on the run, shot straight at the keeper. Three minutes later, John Sexton’s free spun past the Douglas wall. It was heading for the bottom corner but keeper James O’Brien got down to save.
Neil Twomey again failed to find the target in the 27th minute, this time missing with a header after a well placed long free in by Brian Murphy.
The misses would prove costly as the Hall took the lead in the 31st minute, two minutes after the referee had turned down Castleview penalty claims. The goal came after some very poor defending and Hall midfielder Brian Stanton poked the loose all home from seven yards.
Worse was to follow for the ‘View. Their defence fouled Hall skipper Martin Davies in the 39th minute and the 26-yard free kick special by Ciaran Olliffe flew past keeper Carroll for number two.
The View, though short four first choice players, would have been expected to mount a second half comeback but found their task much harder less than sixty seconds in. Then Olliffe fired in his second after good work by Davies and Fitzgerald.
The visitors were determined nonetheless to make a fight of it and Steven Duffy came close with decent efforts in the 48th and 49th minutes. In the 54th minute, Hall keeper James O'Brien, under pressure from Keith Fitzgerald, dropped the ball from a corner but the defence managed to clear.
The ‘View saw another big decision go against them in the 64th minute when Brian Murphy was adjudged to have handled, at close quarters, a cross by Davies. Referee John Linehan, up with the play for this and the earlier ‘View claim, awarded the spotter and Brendan Crowne converted to make it 4-0.
The mounting bad luck didn't knock the fight out of Castleview and they continued to attack, but without success. In the 69th minute, Douglas forced three corners in a row and it was then that keeper Carroll injured a hand and striker Fitzgerald took over in goal.
Carroll would have better luck outfield. Ten minutes later, he fired home the rebound after a great run and shot by sub Mark Daly.
Encouraged by this strike, the losers fought on and scored again with five minutes to go. Roy O’Sullivan's corner was half cleared to Brian Murphy and his 24-yard shot produced a diving save from O'Brien. But he could only parry the ball against a post and it then crossed the line. That made it 4-2 and that was as good as it got for the ‘View.
Douglas Hall: James O'Brien, Richie Butler, Austin Twomey, Shane Kennedy, Mark Hackett, Brian Stanton, Aidan Fitzgerald, Ciaran Olliffe, Martin Davies (captain), James Slowey and Brendan Crowne. Subs: Alan Eaton, Johnny Dunlea and Alan Carroll.
Castleview: Tony Carroll (captain), Brian Murphy, Steven Duffy, Niall Curtin, John Sexton, Kevin Garvey, Roy O’Sullivan, Terry Furlong, Keith Fitzgerald, Alan Healy and Neil Twomey. Subs: Paul McGrath and Mark Daly.
Referee: John Linehan.