Deen Celtic A 4
Callan United 4
(AET - Callan won 8-7 on pens)
IT TOOK four rounds of sudden death spot-kicks, but Callan United took their place in the last eight of the McCalmont Cup after an action packed and goal-laden game in Castlecomer. Locked in a sunny battle with Deen Celtic, the sides shard eight goals in the 90 minutes of action, but it was Callan who held their nerve to prevail on penalties.
The opening 20 minutes gave no sign of what was to come, as both sides struggled to retain possession or get shots on target. Jason Carroll looked dangerous for the home side, with his opposite Matthew Holohan causing a few problems for the Deen defence.
A Mark Delaney free-kick whizzed wide before from the resulting goal kick, Callan took the lead. The ball found its way over the Deen Celtic defence and was seized upon by Holohan, who coolly finished past Robbie Lynch.
The Deen response was swift. Jason Carroll immediately hit back for the hosts when a low corner found its way to him on the front post, Carroll finishing the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Celtic finished the half better than they had started it. They got their second of the game when fleet-footed Richie Lynch took the ball past the Callan defence and was through on goal when he was tripped up for a penalty on 37 minutes.
Neil Murtagh stepped up and slotted the ball past ’keeper Eoin Wall, leaving the score at 2-1 to the home side at the break. Deen were on the up but had missed a couple of good chances; a bit of luck could have seen them even further ahead at the break.
Straight after the break Deen nearly had a third goal to celebrate when Tom Dowling rose high to meet a cross, but his effort was inches over the crossbar. However, Celtic made amends when Richie Lynch won his second penalty of the game on 55 minutes, allowing Neil Murtagh to double his tally from the spot.
Five minutes later and Richie Lynch was at it again. This time the striker got his head on a long clearance from his brother Robbie, finishing past the out-rushing Wall.
Now 4-1 up Deen Celtic appeared to be cruising, until a rebounding free-kick meant an easy finish for Callan’s left-back Derek Hally with 25 minutes left to play. Substitute Dan McCormack spurred on the visitors when he scored another goal two minutes later, reducing the deficit to just one goal.
Deen were really panicking now and were undone when John James Egan grabbed the equaliser with a fine finish past Lynch. The match finished at four apiece and went to twenty minutes of extra time. Neil Murtagh came close with one half-attempt at goal but there was little goalmouth action.
Even when it came to penalties, it was tough to find a winner. After five penalties each, the teams were tied at 4-4, Callan missing the chance to win when they hit the post on their fifth attempt. The stalemate continued until the fourth round of sudden death spot kicks, when Joey Byrne swept home a low finish to win it for United.
Deen Celtic: Robbie Lynch, Darragh Stone, Shane Renwick, Alan Phelan, Tom Dowling, James Sherwood, Johnny Kenny, Neil Murtagh, Jason Carroll, Richie Lynch, Mark Delaney. Sub: Stephen Ruth.
Callan United: Eoin Wall, Jason Nugent, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Derek Hally, Alan Costigan, John James Egan, John Mark Egan, Andy Ryan, Matthew Holohan, Adrian Kealy, Joey Byrne. Subs: Dan McCormack, Ian McLoughlin.
Seven up for Evergreen
EVERGREEN A marched into the last eight of the McCalmont Cup when they put seven past Freshford Town.
A brace from Mark Cashin, coupled with goals from brothers Niall and Mark Andrews, Oisin Corr, Joe Mulcahy and Chris Whearty, ensured the Premier Division champions moved into the final eight on a 7-0 scoreline.
Joining them there are two of their city neighbours. Dessie Hayes and Damien Raggett hit the mark as defending Cup champions Freebooters A saw off Tullaroan 2-0 away from home, while Joe Walsh grabbed the winner as Freebooters B ended a tricky away tie against Stoneyford United with a 2-1 win.
The final quarter-final places went the way of two home sides who also racked up the goals. Clover United A beat East End United B 4-0 in Rathdowney, thanks to goals from Sean Mullins (2), Brian Bowe and Phil Russell. St Pat’s Boys also made home advantage count, as they saw off Newpark United B in Graiguecullen. Colin Price (2), Darragh Harland and Shane Fitzharris hit the net in a 4-1 win for the Saints, with Liam Kelly scoring the consolation for Newpark.