Gallant Shelburne United side beaten in extra-time
All Blacks 4, Shelburne United 3
Two goals apiece from Shane Cassidy and Adam Devereux earned All Blacks a dramatic win over Shelburne United in Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday to seal the league and Neil O’Sullivan Cup double.
The Division 3 winners had to come from behind three times before Devereux grabbed the decisive goal in the first period of extra-time.
Eoin Kelly and Brian Lynch hit the back of the net for Shelburne in the opening half, but on both occasions the All Blacks response was swift, with goals from Cassidy and Devereux ensuring the sides were deadlocked at the break.
Eoin Burke fired Shelburne in front for a third time early in the second-half, but again the Mayglass men were back on level terms in a matter of minutes, with Cassidy hammering home his second.
The chances continued to flow at both ends in an absorbing encounter, until Devereux popped up with the winning goal in the fifth minute of extra-time.
It looked like we were destined for a goal-fest from the off, with Aaron Goff warming the gloves of goalkeeper Luke Connor early on, before Eoin Kelly grabbed the opening goal with just four minutes on the clock.
Patrick Barron floated a free-kick into the danger zone, which was added to in the box and nodded down by Brian Minogue, with the ball falling to Eoin Kelly, who poked home from close range.
All Blacks almost hit back within seconds of falling behind, as Darren Naughton, who put in a tremendous shift throughout, fired over the crossbar when the ball fell kindly to him.
They threatened again moments later when a brilliant left-footed effort from Kyle Rankin from the edge of the area struck the post.
The equaliser did arrive in the 13th minute and it came as no surprise who was on the end of the move. Adam Devereux played the ball to Aaron Goff down the left wing and his delivery across the face of goal came off a defender and was tucked away by the inrushing Shane Cassidy.
The contest continued in free-flowing fashion and in the 20th minute Shelburne looked dangerous once more, with Shane Cullen feeding Eoin Kelly, who cut inside but couldn’t generate enough power on his shot.
Moments later the eyes of the spectators were back on the other goal as Aaron Goff, who was seeing plenty of ball down the left wing, ran on to a pass from Darren Naughton and forced a save out of Luke Connor from a tight angle.
Shelburne were back in front in the 34th minute when Brian Minogue gathered a return pass from Eoin Burke and crossed to Brian Lynch, who slid in to apply the finish.
This time the lead lasted less than a minute as All Blacks responded straight from the kick-off. Again Aaron Goff was the provider, whipping in a delivery from the left, which Adam Devereux swept in at the near post.
Shelburne had an opportunity to regain the initiative five minutes before the interval when Brian Lynch tigerishly won possession, but his effort on goal was stopped by Eoin Cummins.
The second-half was only four minutes old when they did grab their third goal as Eoin Burke ran into the box with real intent and showed great composure to expertly steer the ball to the net from a tight angle. Burke threatened again moments later, seeing his shot blocked, and when the ball ricocheted back to him he crossed to Brian Lynch, who fired straight at the netminder.
All Blacks levelled for a third time in the 56th minute and this one was a little bit special as Shane Cassidy fired in a vicious, swerving free from all of 40 yards, with the movement on the ball deceiving the goalkeeper. Remarkably it was the prolific striker’s 52nd goal of the season.
Both sides continued to attack at every opportunity, with Brian Minogue getting on the end of an Eoin Kelly cross and firing over, and Aaron Goff pulling the ball back to Shane Cassidy, who saw his powerful drive blocked.
Shelburne substitute Patrick Boland had a couple of sights of goal, first being denied by Eoin Cummins, who was quickly off his line to narrow the angle, and then firing a left-footed effort just over the crossbar.
In the 80th minute Shelburne striker Eoin Burke did well to make space for a shot and dragged the ball across the face of goal, while, at the other end, Shane Cassidy twice went close to grabbing a late winner, first fizzing an effort narrowly wide of the left upright and then testing Connor with a free-kick.
All Blacks had one last chance before the game went to extra-time when a Conor Breen pass put Mark Doyle in on goal, but the substitute shot wide of the near post.
The winning goal came just four minutes after the re-start when Shane Goff turned smartly on the right and sent in an inviting cross to the near post, with Adam Devereux arriving right on cue and glancing a header to the net.
Shelburne tried to rally, with substitute Jamie O’Rourke forcing a save out Cummins from the edge of the area three minutes after they fell behind for the first time, but All Blacks managed to run down the clock without any real scares thereafter and the double celebrations could begin.
All Blacks: Eoin Cummins, Conor Breen, Gary Moore (capt.), David ‘Dot’ Moore, Shane Goff, Peter Goldsmith, Darren Naughton, Kyle Rankin, Aaron Goff, Adam Devereux, Shane Cassidy. Subs. - Mark Doyle for Rankin, inj. (65), Brad Koolhoff for A. Goff (ET), Craig Carroll for G. Moore (100), also David ‘Duck’ Moore, Niall Moore, Greg Troy, Paul Murphy.
Shelburne United: Luke Connor, Shane Cullen, Patrick Barron, Pádraig Lynch, Kevin Collins, Eoin Kelly, Brian Minogue (capt.), Brian Lynch, Daire Bolger, Barry Kelly, Eoin Burke. Subs. - Jes Quigley for Cullen (HT), Patrick Boland for Bolger (HT), Jamie O’Rourke for B. Lynch (59), Seán Moran for Collin, inj. (78), also Seán O’Connor, David O’Leary, Craig Delaney.
Referee: Darren Ennis.