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Barry Peelo: Continuing to look back on season 2009-10 (Oscar Traynor)

 Niall O'Regan who took over the Cork AUL Managerial role from Richard "Minty" Fitzgerald for 2009-10.
                                                   The Cork AUL Oscar Traynor Squad 2009-10

Barry Peelo: Continuing to look back on season 2009-10 (Oscar Traynor)

Much was expected of the Cork AUL Oscar Traynor side for this season - especially after winning it last time out.
Here is a brief account of how it all panned out in the end:
The first major competition to kick-off the 2009-10 season was the FAI Umbro Oscar Traynor Cup in October.
And of course as everyone knew at the time, the Cork AUL, holders of this trophy had the huge task on hand to retain their title for the second year running.
After Richard “Minty” Fitzgerald stepped down as Manager following a successful 08-09 season where he guided the Cork AUL to glory by winning the Oscar Traynor Cup, Niall O’Regan was appointed by the league as the man to take up the reigns for the current season.
Their first task was a trip to Mounthawk Park in Tralee where they had to take on the Kerry District league.
Failure to convert chances that night proved costly and they went down 2-1 in a game that saw the Rebels dominate throughout the 90 minutes but failed to deliver.
Ger Harrington was Cork’s scorer that night.
So, roll on the next game against Limerick and what a big ask it was of the Cork team to win by two goals or more.
But, that they did in the Mayfield United complex in December when goals from Richard Holland and Johnny Barrett sent Cork into the next stages of the competition after a hard battle with a well-drilled Limerick side that night.
The next date up for the Oscar Traynor team was an encounter with a formidable Tipperary SDL side at Cooke Park.
This was always going to be a tough task for the Cork side, but a blood, sweat and tears performance plus two fantastic goals from Shane O’Neill helped by a superb goalkeeping performance from Alberto Pulimeno saw Cork struggle through to win out 2-1 in the end to reach the semi-finals with a home fixture awaiting them against Clare.
Everything was going according to plan up to then, but unfortunately in May, the Cork AUL bowed out of the competition after suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Clare in the semi-final at the Cross.
Cork never really got going that day and although they had some chances to even things up despite falling behind, the performance overall was one of disappointment.
With two minutes to half-time, disaster struck the Rebels when Clare nosed in front from a corner after slack marking in the Rebel’s defence.
Cork’s woes were further compounded when they were reduced to ten men after goalkeeper Alberto Pulimeno was sent off for handling the ball outside his box.
This prompted Manager Niall O’Regan to replace Brian Sullivan with substitute goalkeeper Stephen Deasy.
The incident seemed to have injected vigor into the Cork side at that point and what a chance Sean Moynihan had when he latched on to a glorious ball over the top from Mick Bradfield, but he went for glory instead of composing himself and as a result - rifled the bar with his effort to waste one of the best chances in the game.
A couple of more chances fell for the Rebels, but they failed to take advantage and Clare held on to qualify for the final.