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Wanderers mighty comeback effort just falls short




Crumlin United 4-3 Cobh Wanderers.

Only a David Mehan penalty save prevented Cobh Wanderers from completing the greatest comeback since Lazarus in Pearse Park on Sunday morning.
At 4-0 down with just 30 minutes remaining Cobh were more than dead and buried, they were nigh on decomposed, but the Cork side mounted a miraculous resurgence and a game that looked over not long after the turn around went down to the wire.

Moving Ian Stapleton, who has Dublin Intermediate previous scoring for Avondale in a semi final win over Tolka Rovers last season, up front proved central to the fight back, posing the question as to why he started in central midfield and why he wasn’t ordered to take a penalty when the game was at 4-2 with 15 minutes to go.

Ten minutes in and nothing but a comfortable Crumlin win looked on the cards. The LSL Senior Sunday Champions haven’t enjoyed a good start to the new season, but made the perfect start to this exciting cup tie.

The home side were two goals to the good and well on top after just 11 minutes. Alan McGreal and Ger Rowe, who both stood out in the opening period, combined well down the left enabling winger McGreal to send in a delivery that was cleared, but only into the path of recent signing John Sullivan.

The midfielder, who according to one female on looker has Hollywood looks as well as an eye for the Hollywood pass, fired ferociously home from just inside the box.

Four minutes later and the advantage was doubled, some neat inter play between O’Sullivan, James Lee and Rowe left McGreal with the ball at his feet 15 yards out. The left winger danced by two would be challengers and fired across the keeper into the bottom right hand corner.

By this stage Crumlin looked rampant. Sullivan although different in style to Martin Cramer looks like he has the potential to possibly fill the void left by the United great’s retirement. His passing ability was a factor in the host’s dominance, but the cover he provides the back four granted James Lee more freedom and granted Rowe a licence to be a final third nuisance.

Indeed, a brilliant Rowe centre gifted Dempsey the chance to put the home side three to the good, but Green pulled off a sensational point blank save to deny the wide right player.

O’Sullivan then cushioned a header over the cross bar after more decent McGreal approach play and only some last ditch Brian Fitzgerald interceptions prevented Greg Moorehouse and Pat Cannon-when he replaced the injured front man- from being put in one on one.

Cobh did see some of the ball before the turn around, but never tested Mehan in the home goal and it was Crumlin who came closest to adding to the goal tally with Brophy having a header cleared of the line and O’Sullivan firing over.

Crumlin manager Martin Loughran most likely warned his side against a bright Wanderers start to the second half, but it was the hosts who came out firing after the turn.

Cannon fired a quick double to put the Crumlin four to the good. The strikers first came after McGreal rolled Rowe in down the left, the midfielder was pushed a little wide but tried a cheeky shot which came of the bar and landed at the feet of the front man, who tapped home.

Cannon’s second and the manner in which it came seemed to distinguish any Cobh hope. A pass into a crowded box by Dempsey was controlled by the first half substitute; he turned unchallenged and looked confused as he was allowed to convert with such ease.

Game over! well not quite! Cobh moved ‘Chubs’ Stapleton up front and he made a big impact. He raced onto a punted Green clearance and lifted the ball over Mehan much to the traveling supports delight with 30 minutes to go. Over the next few minutes the former Avondale player guided a clever shot wide and had an effort bravely blocked by Brophy.

Route one seemed to be working for the visitors, but the second goal came via a neatly worked move which Shane Geasley finished with a shot across goal from just inside the box.

Crumlin nerves, Cobh hope and neutral excitement all rose simultaneously and all three emotions looked set to engulf Pearse Park when captain Conor Meade was felled in the box with 15 minutes to go. The energetic player placed the ball on the spot and looked set to close the gap further, but Mehan reached back after diving to his left and got a strong hand on the down the middle spot kick.

To their credit Wanderers continued to try and find a way back into the Intermediate Cup and Stapleton had them believing again when he controlled on his chest 20 yards out and converted a sensational volley, but it was too little too late and Crumlin march on.

Wanderers scorers: Ian Stapleton 63 & 90, Shane Geasley 72. Penalty save 76.

Crumlin goals 5,9,53 & 56.

Cobh Wanderers: Jason Greene, Timmy O’ Shea, Dave Stack, Gary Collins, Brian Fitzgerald, Conor Meade(Shane Barrett 90+3), Shane Geasley, Mikey O’ Shea, Davin O’ Neill(Owen Kinsella 58), Ian Stapleton, Peter Nolan(Stephen Bruton 84).

Report by Jonny Stapleton
Source: Junior Soccer Portal –

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