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Barry Peelo: Looking back at the AOH Cup Final 2009-10


 The Knockavilla side that defeated Leeside 6-5 in the penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw over extra time back in 2009-10
The Knockavilla players and supporters celebrate.

Barry Peelo: Looking back on the AOH Cup Final in 2009-10.
As we continue to defend ourselves against the dreaded CORONA VIRUS, let’s avail of an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane a bit and focus on some of the memorable moments over the season 2009-10.
Although just ten seasons ago, the structure of the AUL on the playing side of things was quite a different landscape to that of today as aside from the Premier and Premier A, there were 2 x First Divisions, 3 by Second Divisions and 2 by Third Divisions.
This little re-cap will for now just focus on the AOH Cup because it certainly was the year of the underdog with regard to this trophy as Leeside and Knockavilla locked horns that Friday evening on the 21st May at the Cross.
Ahead of the final itself, Knockavilla were fighting relegation in the Premiership while Leeside were certainly one of the top teams around at the time and after securing the Mossie Linnane league cup after defeating Park United 2-1, they were also strong challengers for the Premier title so, needless to say, they were red-hot favourites heading into the big game.
However, a resilient Knockavilla had other plans and certainly spoiled the party for the Little Island outfit after running out 6-5 winners in the penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw over extra time.

Here’s a brief reminder of how the match went:
Leeside made a good early impression from the off and when Brian McCarthy forced Krzandowski into making an important early save, the Knockavilla keeper had to be razor sharp soon afterwards to intercept an Alec Nodwell cross destined for the in-rushing Derek Delea.
Rob Walsh threatened minutes later when after collecting from Kevin O’Crualaoi, he turned smartly before firing goal-wards – forcing Jamie O’Donovan to push out for a corner.
From the resultant corner, Brian O’Sullivan headed clear, but Brian Crowley picked up the loose clearance before forcing O’Donovan to a firm save from his half-volley.
Then, Derek Delea produced a clever little back heel for Ricki Getting to drill over from 25 yards.
The best clear-cut chance so far fell for Johnnie Barrett when after neat build up play, he found himself in on goal, but was foiled when Krzandowski came to his side’s rescue with a fine save.
At the other end, Knockavilla had their moment of opportunity when Rob Walsh lost a chance after failing to pull the trigger from Pat McCarthy’s headed pass.
The stalemate was broken on 38 though when Leeside were awarded a penalty after Johnnie Barrett was upended inside the box.
Derek Delea was entrusted to take the spot kick and with great aplomb, he rattled the net with an unstoppable pile-driver.
But, Knockavilla were back in the hunt when referee Finbarr Murphy pointed to the spot after noticing an infringement by one of the Leeside defenders in the box on the hour.
Rob Walsh was appointed for the spot kick and he made no mistake when his blistering effort nestled in the net to make it honours even.
With the game being forced into extra time,  it was going to be all about blood, sweat and tears now and after both sides continued to give it their all without reward over the remaining 20 minutes of extra time, the dreaded penalty shoot-out was called upon to settle the issue.
It was 5-5 each going into sudden death, but when Leeside’s Ken Dempsey blazed over, Kevin O’Crualaoi became the hero when he slotted his penalty home for Knockavilla to seal victory in what was a memorable triumph for the club.
Referee: Finbarr Murphy
Leeside: Jamie O’Donovan, Padraig O’Sullivan, Barry Goggin, Paul Condon, Brian O’Sullivan, Alec Nodwell, Coleman Coady, Ricki Gettings Derek Delea, Brian McCarthy, Jonnie Barrett.
Subs: Joe Lyons for Padraig O’Sullivan (63), Ken Dempsey for Coleman Coady (80),
Colin Aherne for Brian McCarthy (83).
Knockavilla: Peter Krzandowski, Denis Mahoney, Keith White, Barry Cullinane, Aidan Daly, Brian Crowley, Rob Walsh, Pat McCarthy, Brian McSweeney, Paul Kelleher, Kevin O’Crualaoi.

Subs: Donal Collins for Paul Kelleher (85).