St Brendans Park Fc have made it to their first ever National cup final thanks to an all round super team performance . If front of a packed crowed in the region of 500 the two teams played outstanding football but in the end it was the better team who came out on top after a nerve racking penalty shot out .
We couldn’t have got off to a worse start when we fell behind after 90 seconds when a long ball caught us out and was finished home . To the credit of the team they didn’t let this phase them as they got back to playing their own game . Fergal Ryan came close after being set up by Jesse Stafford Lacey but his shot curled wide of the far post . The game was all square after twenty minutes when Fergal Ryan was taken down on the edge of the box , Ferdia o Brien curled his free over the wall which the keeper somehow got a hand to and touched it on to the bar and as it came down Stefan Okunbor was quickest to react to head home to send the home crowd wild . Conor Hurley was hen called into action and saved well at his near post . The Park midfield were now on top with Jesse Stafford Lacey and Ferdia o Brien causing loads of trouble for the opposition while Emmanuel Abubaker show a work rate higher than any other on the pitch as he never let an opponent settle on the ball . Just before the half time break Karl Mullins who was constantly running at the defence was taken down for a penalty . Ferdia o Brien stepped up but saw the keeper touch the ball onto the bar and as it came down was bundled over the line but the referee had judged it was with the use of s hand and was disallowed .
The second half saw the wind which was blowing across the pitch in the fist half change direction in favour of Regional . This didn’t matter as the Park back four of Gearoid Savage , Segun Duyile , Jamie Clifford and Stefan Okunbor were outstanding through out and well marshalled by Conor Hurley in goals . Luke Moynihan who never stopped trying to get forward saw his effort saved by the keeper with twenty minutes remaining before Conor Hurley had to be alert when saving a free kick at full stretch before getting up to save the rebound .The final chance of the half fell to Fergal Ryan who gave the defence no break . Sam Tarrant picked out the run by Fergal and he cut back on to his left leg but shot just over the bar . The final whistle went and for the second week in a row we would go into extra time in the national cup .
Extra time saw both sides very wary of the fact that a single goal from here on could be the winning goal so neither were going to go all out and attack . The better of the chances fell to us with Kieran Carmody , Sam Tarrant and Karl Mullins all testing the keeper but after ten minutes in each half it would take penalties to decide who would face St Kevin’s Boys in final .
Regional went first and scored and it looked bleak when Gearoid Savage saw his effort go over the bar . However Regionals next penalty also went over the bar and Jesse Stafford Lacey made no mistake to level it at 1-1 . Conor Hurley then saved Regionals next penalty and Jamie Clifford gave us the lead at 2-1 after three penalties each .Regional scored their next as did Ferdia o Brien to make it 3-2 with one penalty each remaining . Regional made no mistake to level it at 3-3 and Sam Tarrant had the chance to win it but unfortunately saw his spot kick miss the target . Into sudden death and Regional take the lead 4-3 but Kieran Carmody scored to level it at 4-4 . Then Conor Hurley made an unbelievably penalty save , diving to his right and reaching with one hand to towards the top corner and pushing the ball over the bar for a truly remarkable save . Karl Mullins then made the long walk up and after placing the ball it rolled of the spot two times but he calmly slotted the ball home to sent the players , management and supporters wild .
Never before has their been scenes like this after a game involving the Park but it was truly deserved for a great squad and wonderful managers in Graeme o Sullivan and David Magee .
Team ; Conor Hurley , Stefan Okunbor , Jamie Clifford , Segun Duyile, Gearoid Savage, Karl Mullins, Jesse Stafford Lacey, Emmanuel Abubaker, Ferdia o Brien , Luke Moynihan, Fergal Ryan . Subs Used , Sam Tarrant , Kieran Carmody, Gary Howard , Not Used Tommy Lynch, John Carroll, Sean Collins, Simon Lonergan, Andrew Philips, Alan McElligott .
Man of the Match was Emmanuel Abubaker .