Avondale United crowned 2019 FAI New Balance Intermediate Cup champions
Avondale United 1-0 Crumlin United
Mark O’Sullivan broke his Aviva Stadium duck with a stunning first-half strike as Avondale United held on to lift their seventh FAI New Balance Intermediate Cup in 14 years.
The former Cork City man lifted the FAI Senior Cup here without getting on the scoresheet himself but he shocked Crumlin with a wonderful solo effort that would turn out to be the game’s only goal.
The two most successful sides in recent years had carved out ten of the last 13 Intermediate Cups coming into the game and it was as close and tightly-contested a game as that suggests.
The first half was tense, with neither side taking any real risks, but it was underdogs Avondale who dominated possession early on with their 3-5-2 affording an extra body in midfield.
Both wing backs were working hard and it was Danny O’Connell who created the first chance on the right, finding Jack Walsh inside and he, in turn, found his strike partner O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan waltzed in between Crumlin centre-halves Thomas Hyland and David Brady, but his finish let him down and Michael Quinn saved easily.
Crumlin didn’t heed the warning, however, and trailed eight minutes from the break when O’Sullivan picked the ball up deep, strode forward unchecked and picked out the bottom corner from 25 yards.
The impressive Jake Donnelly should have levelled for Crumlin from the restart but, after holding off two defenders, he looped his shot over the bar.
Both sides had chances as Crumlin, naturally, opened up in search of an equaliser, as Donnelly hit the side net and both Walsh and Goghan Lougheed missed the target with headers.
Avondale captain Dave Kiely had to improvise in blocking Donnelly’s goalbound effort with his head, before Donnelly was stretchered off following a poor challenge from Walsh.
He was replaced by Ireland junior international Liam Brady, and his nutmeg on Ryan Hogan looked to have opened the door only for Vinnie O’Brien to nip in and clear.
Crumlin had one final chance deep into injury time to force another 30 minutes but it wasn’t to be as captain Hyland headed Alan McGreal’s corner wide, and the day was Avondale’s.
Avondale United: Sean Barron; Dave Kiely, Mark Horgan (Vinnie O’Brien 79), Hughie O’Donovan; Danny O’Connell, Goghan Lougheed, Brian Murphy (Cathal O’Neill 90+4), David O’Leary (Karl Caulfield 64), David Shovlin (Ryan Hogan 35); Mark O’Sullivan, Jack Walsh.
Crumlin United: Michael Quinn; Sean Harding, David Brady, Thomas Hyland, Gareth Brady; Craig Walsh, John Sullivan, James Lee, Alan McGreal; Conor Murphy (Sam Burgess 90+2), Jake Donnelly (Liam Brady 74).