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o'NEILL thE new sheriff in town



Sheriff YC and Kilbarrack United meet in the final of the FAI Junior Cup at the Aviva next Sunday and that game is featuring as the curtain raiser to the Republic of Ireland's friendly international versus Georgia at headquarters.

The pace of this Leinster Junior Cup final was frenetic.

Sheriff's all-action Alan McCabe epitomised the game's early flavour.

His first three plays saw him, in his first action, slide in, studs quite high, after the ball had been cleared which raised an eyebrow or two.

Secondly, catch a Kilbarrack defender again having been slightly late, which encouraged referee Adam Conroy to have a word or two.

And finally receive a yellow for leaving a foot in as 'keeper Mark Hattan dived to save. That was after only three minutes!

As the early pace settled to more managable levels, both teams engaged in the quality action which you would have expected.


An excellent pass from McCabe to his strike partner Keith Dunne drew a brilliant save from Hattan in the Killester goal.

At the other end a David Jackson free-kick from the right found John Meleady whose shot was taken off the line with a last-ditch clearance.

Killester were to the fore in this period and the excellent Dean Gibbons in midfield was at the centre of almost everything they did.

Another Gibbons-inspired move down the right saw Meleady, under pressure from Sheriff 'keeper Lee Murphy, go just wide.

When Jackson found the head of Alan McHugh with another free from the right, McHugh's effort went just over.

A defence-splitting passing move between Aaron Humphries and Mark Townley forced Murphy to make a brave save at Humphries' feet, after which Humphries needed treatment. But Sheriff, despite playing second fiddle for a good chunk of the half, survived to the break without any damage on the scoreboard.

The second half was greeted with a much more expansive Sheriff performance.

With John Lester and Darren O'Brien more influential in midfield, Sheriff's attacks down the flanks paid dividends.

Right-winger Sean Murphy drove at the Killester defence and as the ball was played through McCabe to Dunne, he followed on as the ball came back off the post and side-footed home to give Sheriff the lead on 50 minutes.

The game opened up more as Kilbarrack went in search of an equaliser but Sheriff looked dangerous with the extra space.

Big Kilbarrack substitute Keith Kirwan was proving a handful for the Sheriff defence but the northsiders' task got much more difficult when a sweet passing move saw Sheriff double their lead.

The ball was transferred from Murphy to Dunne to McCabe and finally to Joseph O'Neill who drilled to the net.

Right at the end we got a grandstand finish. With 89 minutes on the clock, Kilbarrack were awarded a penalty when Paul Murphy was penalised for hand-ball in the area.

Their captain, Meleady, gave them some hope when he converted, and in a nail-biting closeout 'Barrack 'keeper Hattan was sent off for a rash last-man lunge.

But when full-time rang out Sheriff were Leinster Junior champs.

SHERIFF YC: Lee Murphy, Paul Murphy, Gavin McDermott, Anthony Kavanagh, David Brown, John Lester, Darren Dunne, Stephen Murphy, Sean Murphy, Joseph O'Neill, John Rock, Keith Dunne, Alan McCabe, Anthony Kane, Darren O'Brien, Kevin Lynch, Ian Dumbrell, Michael Piggot.

KILBARRACK UNITED: Mark Hatton, Daniel Byrne, Gavin Gaughran, Mark Mooney, Alan McHugh, Aaron Humphries, David Jackson, Mark Townley, Keith Kirwan, John Meleady, Mark Geraghty, Mark Nolan, Mark Dunne, Robert Coomes, Sean Beresford, Dean Gibbons, Eamon Mullingan, Paul Breen.