O'Callaghan shoots down Sheriff as Liffey defy the odds
SHERIFF YC 1 LIFFEY WDS 2
Liffey Wanderers claimed the FAI Junior Cup for the first time yesterday by beating 10-man Sheriff after extra time at Aviva Stadium.
Substitute Stephen O'Callaghan proved the hero for the side operating in the fifth tier of the Leinster Senior League when he placed his 20-yard shot past goalkeeper Lee Murphy and into the bottom corner eight minutes into extra time.
Sheriff, aiming for their third Junior Cup crown in four years, started brightly but were rocked by Lee Roche's opener against the run of play on seven minutes.
Although Liffey were forced to defend stubbornly to protect their lead, they were denied a second on 15 minutes when Gary Young's shot smacked off the crossbar.
It was Liffey's rivals from north of the river who bossed the chance-count thereafter.
John Rock's 23rd-minute shot sailed just over the crossbar before Lester's ferocious free-kick from 20 yards was bravely blocked by the head of Dean Young.
Then, two minutes before the break, David Browne somehow blazed over from eight yards when Rock set him up.
On the hour, Sheriff went ever closer to levelling after Joe O'Neill's left-wing cross found the unmarked Joe Flood, but he couldn't keep his header down.
Darren Dunne's shot five minutes later clipped the outside of the post before the superb reflexes of Philip O'Connor kept Liffey's lead intact 14 minutes from the finish when he stuck out a leg to stop a close-range shot from Paul Murphy on the goal-line.
When Sheriff had a penalty claim rejected in the 90th minute, Rock's dissent prompted referee Conor Byrne to brandish the red card.
The drama continued as John Lester followed up a parry by O'Connor from Kevin Lynch's free-kick four minutes into stoppage-time to volley the rebound in from six yards.
Extra-time saw chances exchanged before Liffey regained the lead eight minutes in when Aidan Roche squared the ball across the edge of the box for the onrushing O'Callaghan to convert.
The winner sent the majority of the 4,900 spectators into raptures, crowning a stunning revival for a club reformed only two years ago following three years out of football.
SHERIFF YC - L Murphy; P Murphy, A Kavanagh, D Browne; D O'Brien (A McCabe 83), J Flood (S Murphy 63); J Lester, D Dunne, J O'Neill (K Lynch 63); K Dunne, J Rock.
LIFFEY WDS - P O'Connor; D Young (P Gannon 75), D Roche, D Andrews, W Keegan; C O'Brien, G Young, K Roche (S O'Callaghan 70), A O'Connor; A Roche, L Roche (P Mooney 86).
REFEREE - C Byrne.