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McAlevey the hero for St Aidan's


THE sight of a captain wearing green and white hoops lifting a trophy at Tallaght Stadium is becoming a regular occurrence, but there was a bit of novelty yesterday as it was St Aidan's Sean O'Callaghan who did the honours after an epic encounter.

The Leesiders came from behind to beat an excellent Malahide side who headed back across the city with plenty of regrets. The tie turned during an extraordinary five-minute period around the hour mark.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time, St Aidan's equalised through Gary Buckley before Alan Hosford gave them the lead. From the kick-off Malahide captain Shane Woods drove into the box and earned a penalty, but as Dylan Cashin lined it up, substitute Jamie Walsh got into an altercation with Kevin Allen and was shown a straight red card.

Cashin scored, but the Dubliners faced an uphill battle with 10 men and ultimately succumbed to Anthony McAlevey's 85th-minute winner.

It had started so well for Malahide, who controlled the first period. Their midfield of Mark Brennan and Woods dominated, while full-back Jacob Ferguson patrolled the right touchline with menace. They deservedly took the lead before the break as Ferguson's cross broke to Colm Curtis, who curled a left-footed shot past Chris Mullane.

St Aidan's were much improved after the break after moving Cork City U-19 star Buckley up front -- he got on the end of McAlevey's cross to level. Two minutes later they went in front as Hosford's cross looped over Kevin Dunne, off the post and over the line.

The Dubliners responded brilliantly, with Woods charging into the box only to be scythed down by Gary Gould. Cashin's penalty was perfect, but the intervening red card was costly.

Both sides were visibly tiring as extra-time loomed, but Hosford was able to find McAlevey, who steadied himself and finished past Dunne.

Their job wasn't done as Malahide found the energy for a final push. Ferguson found Cashin in the box, he turned and sent a fierce shot goalward, only to be denied by Mullane. Buckley was now playing at centre-half and he bravely blocked from Eric Harold, before Corey Long denied Cashin as St Aidan's held out for a first title.

ST AIDAN'S CC -- Mullane; O'Callaghan (McAuliff 40), Long, Gould (Meaney 85), Allen; McAlevey, Kearney, Buckley, Murphy, Hosford; Boyle (Waters 53).

MALAHIDE CS -- Dunne; Ferguson, Cahill, Callaghan, Curtis; Harold, Brennan (Walsh 57), Woods, McGahon; Cashin, Mullarkey.

Ref -- B Whelan.

Irish Independent