08 Dec 2021

No Junior Cup joy for Freshford Town

Freshford Town..................1

Freshford Town..................1

Glebe North.........................2

Freshford Town’s Leinster Junior Cup journey has ended.

Glebe North did what no other team in the country could on Sunday, beating James Farrell’s side on their own turf.

Two goals in the final quarter did the trick for the Dubs, but they had goalkeeper Alan O’Connor to thank for preserving their semi-final berth.

Trailing as the match ticked into stoppage time, Freshford poured forward in search of an equaliser. They thought they had found it when Danny Campion’s deep cross sailed over O’Connor and, after crashing off the post, fell at Jimmy Kenny’s feet.

Standing just two yards out it seemed the defender couldn’t but score – but O’Connor silenced the home crowd’s cheers, soaring across his line to push the ball out and break Freshford hearts.

Cruel ending

It was a cruel ending to a game in which Freshford had held the upper hand for long spells, but couldn’t put the tie to bed.

That said, they almost fell behind inside two minutes, when Sean Clarke’s diagonal ball carved their defence open, but Sean O’Rourke couldn’t finish the gilt-edged chance from in front of goal.

Once Freshford settled, they took control. With Eoin Vaughan and Danny Campion a threat up top, as well as Liam Hickey and Paul Guinan controlling the flanks, Town kept on the offensive.

Guinan spurned a fifth minute chance when he side-footed wide, then turned provider with a teasing 23rd minute free that fell perfectly for the incoming Nigel Stanley, but O’Connor made a fine save from the bullet header.

The netminder was called into action again on 33 minutes. Latching on to a booming Jason Stanley free, Vaughan glided past Keith McNally and burst into the box. Left with O’Connor to beat he tried to work the ball to the right, but the netminder got down to palm it back off the striker and out wide.

Paid price

O’Connor had no chance when Nigel Stanley came up from the back to blast Town in front three minutes later. Glebe failed to deal with a Guinan corner and paid a hefty price, Stanley smashing the ball home from just three yards out.

Freshford continued to hold the upper hand in the second half, but although they dominated possession they failed to turn it into scoring chances.

That came back to haunt them, especially when Glebe struck twice in 11 minutes to swing the game their way. Sean O’Rourke was the chief tormentor, levelling the game when he finished Gary McGrane’s inswinging 70th minute cross before showing his pace to scorch past the Town defence and ram home an unstoppable 81st minute strike.

It was a double blow from which Town would never recover.

Freshford Town: Shane McGree, Michael Farrell, Michael Farrell, Jason Stanley, Jimmy Kenny, Nigel Stanley, Graham O’Flaherty, Paul Guinan (Philly Russell, 83 mins), Davy Brennan (Willie Cuddihy, 66 mins), Danny Campion, Eoin Vaughan, Liam Hickey.

Glebe North: Alan O’Connor, Sean Clarke, Conor Costello, Alan McCabe, Keith McNally (Ken Peers, 72 mins), Sean O’Rourke, Gary McGrane, Stephen Richardson, Keith Richardson, Sean Lynch, Alan Moriarty.

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