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Manortown triumphant in Maher Cup

Shelbourne SSC 2

Manortown United 3

For the second Friday running the competing teams in a final at the OTC&DC had us on the edge of our seats. Seats that we had just taken up in fact, when the first goal was scored.

It took Manortown United just 17 seconds to open the scoring in this Maher Cup final against Shelbourne SSC. They're going through the archives as we speak, but I can't imagine a quicker opening goal in a final at HQ.

From the tip-off the ball was fed out the right to Ryan Maguire who scooted down the flank before crossing. Stephen Mulvaney did well to control on the outside of his right boot, he then pivoted round to drill home with his left.

Shels' response was immediate. Just over two minutes had elapsed when they levelled matters. Ben McEvitt's long throw from the right was chested down and drilled to the net by Dave Dolan.

Two goals and three tip-offs in less than three minutes. Someone give Carol Vorderman a call! Nine minutes in, Shels almost took the lead, but Dan Murphy dived to his left to fist away a Dave Nolan volley.

'Town reacted and Maguire just failed to get a toe on a Dermot O'Donoghue delivery from the left. The end-to-end pattern continued, with neither side gaining the upper hand.

Just after the half-hour mark, though, United regained the lead. A decent move out right involving Gary Scully, Maguire and Keith Meehan was rounded off by Sean O'Brien, who lobbed over Michael Murphy to score.

Two-one to Manortown at the break and Shels enjoyed a purple patch after the restart without too much penetration. Midway through the half, their never-say-die attitude was rewarded.

Fran Staunton swung over a free from the right and Dave Kelly arrived at the near stick to power home a header. Seven muinutes later, substitute Phillip Robinson set Maguire up, but he poked wide.

He made amends with eight minutes remaining when he met Darren Carroll's left-wing cross at the far post and looped a header over Murphy.

They had to survive some hairy moments in the dying throes, but Manortown held on. Maguire's winner swung the coveted man-of-the-match award in his favour, pipping teammates O'Donoghue and Scully. Kudos to both teams for an excellent Maher Cup final.

Manortown United: Daniel Murphy, Keith Meehan, Dermot O'Donoghue, Derek Hanbury, Ronan Deasy, Gary Scully, Ryan Maguire, Stephen Mulvaney, Sean O'Brien, Jason Coleman, Darren Carroll. Subs: Phillip Robinson, Alan McCann, David Cullen, Eoin McDonnell, David McGuinness.

Shelbourne SSC: Michael Murphy, Ben McEvitt, David Hennessy, David Mackie, Andy Lawlor, Paul Daly, Conor Fullam, David Nolan, David Dolan, David Kelly, Fran Staunton. Subs: Leo Hennessy, Eoin Morris, Andy Brown, Gary McKinney, Brian Ennis.

Referee: John McCarthy. Assistants: Brendan Emerson, Ray Lynch.