Dramatic penalty shoot out sees Boyle through
Boyle Celtic made history on Sunday as they reached the semi-finals of the FAI Junior Cup thanks to their victory in the penalty shoot-out against Carrick United in Tipperary.
Darren Hurd's side went behind when former Ipswich Town man Jack Doherty hit the back of the net after 30 minutes.
But not ones to give up, the Sligo Leitrim side were back level six minutes later when Mick Corrigan headed into the back of the net from a cross.
There was further elation for Boyle as they went 2-1 up in the second-half thanks again to Corrigan.
The tie looked to be over as the teams entered injury-time, but Boyle hearts were broken in the 92nd minute when the hosts made it 2-2.
Extra-time was a tense affair and neither side was sitting back, and so we entered penalties.
Boyle were 3-1 up thanks to a save from Kyle Suffin in goals, and a miss from a Carrick player.
But it was soon 3-3 and the game entered sudden death.
Luckily, Suffin was on hand to pull off another save to give Boyle the victory on an historic day for the club.
Such is the dedication of the Boyle Celtic players, that both Kyle Suffin and Sean Purcell drove down on the morning of the game, as both of their partners are expecting babies.
"I'd say for those lads, their minds were 70% on the game and 30% on their partners and expectant babies," said manager Hurd.
"But that just shows you the passion of the game and the work and commitment that they put in," he added.
Goalkeeper Suffin was the penalty shoot-out hero, as he was against Ballina, although it was his error that led to the second Carrick goal.
"He was a bit upset as we went into penalties but I told him to keep his chin up and in the end he did the business for us so all credit to him.
"He saved two penalties against Ballina and he did it again on Sunday," said Hurd.
Hurd was defiant prior to the game and maintained that he was confident, despite Carrick's history with the FAI Junior Cup, having won it previously.
"They are a fantastic side and obviously they are. They played well but I have to say, and I know I'm biased because I'm the manager but I thought that we played them off the park on the day," exclaimed Hurd.
Boyle will now face Kilkenny's Evergreen at home in April in the semi-final.
Hurd feels that Celtic Park will not be suitable for the fixture, and has been in touch with Sligo Rovers about the possibility of playing the fixture at The Showgrounds.
He says Rovers have been receptive to the idea and he is hopeful that they will get approval to play the game there as it is likely to draw a bigger crowd.
Over 300 fans from Boyle travelled the whole way to Tipperary for the game, and Hurd paid tribute to local businesses who helped them fund the trip.
"We were of course under a little bit of pressure going into the game. If it wasn't for the local people and businesses who donated money to us we wouldn't have been able to get there," he said.
All football fans love a penalty shoot-out, but being involved in one is quite different.
"There was grown men crying on the sideline when we conceded two minutes into injury time. My heart was in my mouth. But the lads never gave up and never let their heads drop.
"It was mad, but the lads deserved their victory and it was a brilliant day for us all.
"Our preparation was good and even though two lads got injured in the warm up we still played at our very best," he said.
Their resolve was admirable and was ultimately what saw them through to the next round of the prestigious cup competition.
Boyle will also be entered in the first round of the FAI Cup based on their success in the Junior Cup.