Match Details Below
ST MICHAEL’S CUP SEMI-FINAL
Ballincollig 1 Rathcoole Rovers 1
(Rathcoole won 4-3 on penalties, after extra time)
James O’Connor whacked in the clinching spotter as Alfie Cooney’s Rathcoole Rovers took the shootout route to the final of the Murphy’s Stout St Michael’s Cup. Ballincollig had blown a couple of spotters over the bar as O’Connor came up to take the last of the regulation ten. Ballincollig keeper Owen Walsh had made one fine save in this phase but couldn't get near O'Connor's effort and Rathcoole were in the decider on a 4-3 decision.
It looked as if they’d clinched their place about 30 minutes earlier. Then Gerald O'Connell had scored off a cross by strike colleague Tadhg Brown, the man of the match.
There were just about four minutes left and a wee bit of injury time. But wounded Ballincollig rallied and McAlpine came in at the far post to equalise from an injury time corner.
There had been more drama in those few minutes than in the rest of the game. The teams were well matched throughout the park, particularly in the middle where a ding dong tussle between Ballincollig’s seasoned campaigned John Kelleher and Rathcoole’s battling Trevor Murphy developed into one of the highlights of the game. It was honours even here and that was more or less the story throughout the pitch over the one hundred and ten minutes.
John McAlpine was perhaps the top man for Ballincollig. He was regularly involved in their build-ups as well as getting that late late equaliser. On the other side, the top player was undoubtedly Tadhg Brownie, the man of the match.
His runs were a joy on a bitterly cold afternoon. Pity he didn't get more of the ball because, when he had it, he rose the temperature. He showed his potential in the 10th minute, worked his way into the left hand side of the Ballincollig box before delivering a chipped cross that eluded friend and foe alike as it crossed the face of the goal.
The Rathcoole defence was somewhat jittery in the 2nd half and Donal Cashman needed to be decisive a few minutes later. Then McAlpine looked set to turn in a low cross in the box but Donal got there first and whacked the ball out for a corner.
Rathcoole settled after that and Ballincollig were undone in the 86th minute. Tadhg was again the culprit, collecting the ball on half-way and skipping away from tackles by Anthony Hogan and John Kelleher before getting into the box and squaring the ball for O'Connell to score from close range.
The visitors held on until the end of normal time but were caught in the first minute of injury time. Then Benny swung in a corner and McAlpine came in at the far post and steered it home for the equaliser.
Ballincollig: Owen Walsh, Jason “Benny” O'Leary, Adrian Brady, Trevor O'Mahony, John McAlpine, John Kelleher, Terry Coomey, Brian Hartnett, Anthony Hogan (captain), Thomas Galvin and Dave Kenny. Subs used: Colin Weste for Galvin (60th minute) and Dec Flanagan for Coomey (start of extra time).
Rathcoole Rovers: Fergal Walsh, Donal Cashman (captain), Hugh Sheehan, James O’Connor, Michael Cashman, John Browne, Ger McSweeney, Trevor Murphy, Vincent Browne, Tadhg Browne and Gerald O’Connell. Subs: Alan Guerin for V. Brown (69th minute) and David Burke for McSweeney (81st).Referee: John Lyne.