CRUMLIN UNITED ... ... .......... ... 5
SPARTAK DYNAMO ... ............. ... 0
ONCE again, the Leinster Football Association produced a splendid programme.
It was for the Leinster Junior Shield final in Baldonnel on Friday night. The great John Hyland would have been charmed with the occasion.
It was a fine evening. The pitch could have hosted the Pakistan cricketers, and a decent crowd showed up. Even the midges, in their hundreds, couldn't stay away.
It was third-time lucky in the cups this term for Crumlin, the AUL Under-19 champs.
"We lost two semi-finals on penalties. They were the only two games we lost all year," revealed Tom Connolly.
"The lads have had a terrific season. Winning the double is a credit to them. And they played some lovely football here. We like to keep it on the deck."
For the most part, Spartak kept it tight at the back. They were formed in 1970 when Pele and Brazil were in their pomp.
They have been long-time residents of the Marlay Mansion. They once had a heroic run in the Leinster Senior Cup ended by the League of Ireland champions, Athlone Town.
They finished third in Division 3 (Sat) of the Leinster Senior League.
"It was good to get to the final, but we were well beaten. Fair play to Crumlin, they are a very good side," reflected Spartak manager, Paul McGowan.
Spartak have an accomplished 'keeper in David Marlow, who made notable saves from Jamie Keane in either half.
Keane also had an effort cleared off the line by Shane McInerney before the oranges.
Up front, Spartak's Paul Byrne showed a dash of pace and daring.
He went close with a first-half header, while earlier, Dermot Dooley had a header saved by Mitchell O'Dwyer.
In the second period, Stephen Barr's stylish back-heel earned the applause.
Crumlin were without the injured Kieron Connolly, but they dominated the script. They didn't lack speed or movement, and they didn't waste the ball.
Yet it was only in the last 17 minutes that they enhanced their tally with three goals against tired legs.
The opener came in the 27th minute.
Danny O'Reilly lofted in a delicious delivery from the left just in front of the dugout for Stephen Johnson to head in from close distance.
Stephen's pen-picture in the programme predicted such a moment – 'a great header of the ball and brave.'
O'Reilly has a thundering right boot, and 21 minutes into the second period, he arrowed a 25-yard scorcher to the right corner. On the terraces, even the opposing fans were saying 'what a cracker, a great strike.' And so it was.
That second goal was coming for a long time. And it was the captain, Gavin McArdle, Crumlin's longest serving player, who nipped in to guide in the third with a near post header.
United were pouring on the custard now, and they decorated their fine work with further finishes from Sean McDermott and the skipper fantastic. Gregory Moorhouse had a foot in both goals.
CRUMLIN UNITED: Mitchell O'Dwyer; Ciaran Lawless, Danny O'Reilly, Gavin McArdle, Adam Rock, Stephen Johnson, Neil Jordan, Christopher Strassle, Gregory Moorhouse, Jamie Keane, Aaron O'Flaherty. Subs: Jamie Reid for Lawless (60); Sean McDermott for Jordan (70); Ciaran Cooke for Keane (75). Peter Oyedji, Liam O'Farrell. Managers: Tom Connolly, Gerry Bermingham.
SPARTAK DYNAMO: David Marlow; Anto Doyle, Chris Hogan, Martin Costello, Fintan Grace, Shane McInerney, Stephen Barr, Conor Callis, Dermot Dooley, Paul Byrne, John McCluskey. Subs: Jeff Gamble for Callis (ht); Glen Burke for Doyle (56); Mick Costello for McCluskey (77). Ross Kelly, Cathal Clancy, Conor Canavan, Niall Lennon. Managers: Paul McGowan, Mick Greene.
Referee: John Black.