Saturday 22 July 2017

Sheriff gunning for record after cup win

Sheriff YC celebrate after winning the FAI Junior Cup for the fourth time in six years. Photo: Sportsfile
Sheriff YC celebrate after winning the FAI Junior Cup for the fourth time in six years. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Sheriff YC are gunning to become the record kingpins of the amateur game in Ireland after completing their fourth FAI Junior Cup success in six years on Saturday.

Their comfortable 2-0 victory over Evergreen from Kilkenny at Lansdowne Road puts them on course to emulate the feat of Fairview Rangers who won the title six years out of seven from 1997-2004 and before that, Cherry Orchard's golden era from 1985-1991 which encompassed five crowns from six attempts.

Rarely on Saturday did the Dubliners seem in trouble of being caught cold like they were in the 2015 final when Liffey Wanderers produced the biggest shock within the recent history of the competition.

Brothers Stephen and Paul Murphy grabbed the goals at the end of each half but another of the four brothers, Lee, had only to be called upon once during the decider to repel Evergreen contesting their first final since 1984.

"The difference was we didn't test their goalkeeper and Sheriff were clinical from the chances they got," was the blunt assessment of Evergreen player-manager Packie Holden, who had a busy day in goal.

Stephen 'Bones' Murphy gave Sheriff a deserved interval lead by curling his free-kick around the wall and beyond the grasp of Holden on the stroke of half-time and his brother sealed the victory by finishing a flowing move with three minutes remaining.

Liffey Wanderers after their victory in the Intermediate Cup final. Photo: Sportsfile
Liffey Wanderers after their victory in the Intermediate Cup final. Photo: Sportsfile

The challenge now for Sheriff is keeping their experienced side, the vast majority of which are from the inner-city, refreshed for next year's tilt.

The spine of their team, from Paul Murphy to John Lester and striker John Rock, has remained intact since 2012 when their incredible run began by beating Kilbarrack in the final.

Despite stepping down for a brief period last summer, their managerial pairing of Alan Reilly and Chris Giles have been at the helm throughout.

Also at the Dublin 4 venue on Saturday, Liffey Wanderers were twice pegged back in a 2-2 draw against Cobh Wanderers before prevailing 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out.

Cobh's Ian Stapleton had an early goal ruled out for offside and was 19 minutes from the end before the deadlock was broken.

Teenager Clayton Maher, the youngster player of the pitch, followed up his rebound to head in the opener for Liffey.

Although Lee Roche could have added a second soon after, Cobh's efforts were rewarded with an equaliser on 85 minutes when Conor Meade seized on O'Connor's spilled save to tuck the ball home.

Four minutes into extra-time, Liffey regained their lead. Aidan Roche's brilliant solo effort was too much for Cobh and he evaded two defenders and buried his drive into the net.

Roche then spurned a chance to settle it and Cobh capitalised by Meade finding the roof of the net with the last kick of the game. The striker's decision to take his jersey off in celebration cost him as it incurred a second yellow card.

In the shoot-out, Philip O'Connor's save from Michael O'Shea proved decisive as Liffey from nearby Pearse Street made it double-joy on the day for inner-city Dublin.

Irish Independent

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