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Crossabeg make Raheen pay penalty

Soccer, Wexford Football League: Crossabeg 3 Raheen 3 (aet, Crossabeg won 6-5 on pens)

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Crossabeg goalkeeper Cathal Devereux saves a first-half penalty, but Raheen’s Peter Finn tucked away the rebound

Crossabeg goalkeeper Cathal Devereux saves a first-half penalty, but Raheen’s Peter Finn tucked away the rebound

Crossabeg goalkeeper Cathal Devereux saves a first-half penalty, but Raheen’s Peter Finn tucked away the rebound

Goalkeeper Cathal Devereux and substitute Kenny Kavanagh were the heroes for Crossabeg as they edged out Raheen on penalties in a pulsating Neil O'Sullivan Cup first round clash in Newcastle on Sunday.

Devereux stopped a penalty in extra-time and another two in the shoot-out, while Kavanagh twice netted equalisers for the hosts as well as blasting home the decisive spot-kick.

Incredibly the net-minder also saved from twelve yards in the first-half, but on that occasion his efforts proved to be in vain as Peter Finn tapped home the rebound.

The home side had to come from behind three times, with Finn firing Raheen in front in the 20th minute, only for Robert Murphy to restore parity before the break.

Crossabeg looked like they had it all to do when Conor Maddock was dismissed six minutes after the turnaround, and Mervyn Moloney edged the visitors back in front on the hour mark.

However, Raheen lost their numerical advantage when Mark Cowman was shown his second yellow card in the 66th minute and Crossabeg made them pay, with a Kavanagh strike sending the game into extra-time.

After Peter Finn was thwarted by Devereux in the first-half of extra-time, Raheen did get their noses in front for a third time early in the second period when Enda Wickham headed home.

However, the gutsy hosts weren't done yet and Kavanagh netted a dramatic, last-gasp leveller to force penalties.

A physically imposing Raheen outfit began the game brightly, earning a succession of early corners, and they made the breakthrough with 19 minutes on the clock when Paudie Barden was bundled over in the box.

Peter Finn stepped up to take the penalty, and although Cathal Devereux did well to save the spot-kick, the striker was quickest to react to stroke in the rebound.

The concession of the goal looked to be the kick in the backside Crossabeg needed as they came within inches of drawing level seconds later, with Davie Fenlon flashing a shot just wide of the far post.

Fenlon then forced a save out of Jason Whitty with a vicious free-kick, with Cian Doyle seeing his follow-up effort deflected out for a corner.

Crossabeg were rewarded for their pressure in the 32nd minute when Andy Butler did well on the right, and when his cross found its way to the feet of Robert Murphy, he finished with aplomb.

The hosts almost made the perfect start to the second-half, when Cian Doyle fired in a stinging effort from distance, and although Jason Whitty failed to hold on to the shot, there was nobody following up.

Crossabeg suffered a massive blow moments later when Conor Maddock reacted to being dragged back by John Whitty by pushing his marker to the ground, leaving referee Derek Campion with little choice but to brandish a red card.

Things went from bad to worse in the 60th minute when Patrick Whitty floated in a free to the far post and Mervyn Moloney steered a superb header to the far corner of the net.

However, Crossabeg were soon handed a lifeline when Mark Cowman was shown a second yellow card and they drew level in the 78th minute, when the ball fell to Kavanagh and he curled in a sweet strike from the edge of the area out of the netminder's reach.

Raheen had a chance to snatch it at the death when Paudie Barden sluiced through the heart of the defence, but his finish lacked the finesse of his approach play and he sliced his effort wide.

At the start of extra-time Kavanagh slid an effort narrowly wide of the right post after being put through by Cian Doyle, but Raheen were handed a gilt-edged opportunity to regain the initiative when Frank Staples was felled in the area after being found by Peter Finn.

Finn stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Devereux was equal to it, spreading himself well to make the save.

Raheen did manage to hit the back of the net for a third time two minutes into the second period of extra-time, when Enda Wickham met Paudie Barden's deep cross and looped a fantastic header beyond Devereux.

Crossabeg weren't willing to give up without an almighty fight though, and Will McCreavy went agonisingly close when he turned brilliantly but saw his shot come back off the crossbar.

With the last throw of the dice and everyone forward, including goalkeeper Devereux, the third equaliser came when substitute Peter Culleton whipped in a delicious free-kick and the ball fell to the right man in the right place, with Kavanagh firing to the net.

Devereux took centre stage in the shoot-out, pulling off a superb acrobatic save to deny Frank Staples, while he also thwarted Paudie Barden, with Raheen's claims that the ball had crossed the line falling on deaf ears.

That gave Kavanagh the chance to score the winning penalty and he made no mistake, confidently slamming the ball to the net to send Crossabeg through.

Crossabeg AFC: Cathal Devereux, Niall Kelly, Craig Coughlan, Barry Coughlan (capt.), Oran Maddock, Andrew Butler, Cian O'Connor, Cian Doyle, Conor Maddock, Robert Murphy, Davie Fenlon. Subs. - Oisín O'Connor for C. O'Connor, inj. (HT), Will McCreavy for Butler (56), Kenny Kavanagh for Kelly (72), Michael Cullen for Murphy (105), Peter Culleton for O. Maddock (108).

Raheen: Jason Whitty, Eoin Furlong, Mervyn Moloney, Patrick Whitty, John Whitty, Mark Cowman, Enda Wickham (capt.), Frank Staples, Rúairí O'Brien, Paudie Barden, Peter Finn. Sub. - Dylan Whitty for J. Whitty (73).

Referee: Derek Campion.

Wexford People