Wednesday 22 November 2017

Drama and excitement as cup semi-final spots decided

ALL BLACKS, Kilmore United, Wexford Celtic and Bridge Rovers are all just 90 minutes away from competing in the Neil O'sullivan Cup final.

The quartet all advanced to the last four of the competition on Sunday in differing circumstances.

All Blacks and Kilmore United are battling it out for the most dramatic quarter-final tie.

A seven-goal bonanza was how All Blacks secured their last four spot. The Casey Park men hosted Gorey Celtic and took the lead through Mattie Kavanagh, only for Graham Healy to strike that effort off with a leveller before the half-time break.

The hosts then went ahead through John Codd but then Wes Fitzpatrick got on the scoresheet to leave the sides on equal terms for the third time in the match.

Shane Cousins looked set to have headed the Blacks into the next round, but a last-minute penalty gave Celtic a lifeline and Danny Reilly duly tucked it away to force extra-time.

And the contest was finally decided when centre-half Jimmy Staples popped up to bag the winner with a spectacular 30-yard volley with just five minutes of extra-time left.

Staples' late winner helped All Blacks avoid the lottery of a penalty shoot-out but that is precisely what it took to prise Moyne Rangers and Kilmore United apart in Enniscorthy.

The sides were deadlocked at 0-0 at the end of both normal time and extratime and so a shoot-out would decide their fate.

The first four penalties were converted but then Kilmore 'keeper Jimmy Benson earned his crust as he kept out Rangers' third effort.

And when Rangers sent their fourth 12-yarder wide, it was celebration time for the Ballyeskin club.

Mark Doyle, Daithí Moore, Devin Furlong and Shane Cassidy had kept their cool for United as they netted their penalties.

With All Blacks already relegated to Division 2 for the 2012-'13 campaign, the Neil O'sullivan Cup offers them a light at the end of the tunnel. Kilmore United are by no means home and hosed either though and they still are faced with the danger of possible relegation. As are Wexford Celtic, but they overcame Division 2 side Shamrock Rovers B 3-1 to march on into the next round.

Bridge Rovers is the final side of the quartet and their last eight success came in the form of a 1-0 triumph over Stoney Rovers, another Division 2 side.

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