Date: 4 p.m. Aug. 1, 2010
Venue: Morton Stadium
An early Eamon Zayed goal put Fingal ahead, but Craig Sives scored to send the game to 1-1 going in to half time. Sporting led through Gary O’Neill until two goals in the space of four minutes put Rovers ahead. Ronan Finn’s late goal salvaged a point for Liam Buckley’s side.
On a day in which the cascading rain played a significant part in the match, Fingal had the brighter start. Shane McFaul hit the crossbar with a powerful shot on nine minutes, and two minutes later the home side got the opening goal.
Ger O’Brien out on the right flank crossed well for Eamon Zayed at the far post, and Zayed headed well past Alan Mannus.
Rovers went in search of an equaliser, and James Chambers had an opportunity on fifteen minutes with a long-range shot when he saw Darren Quigley off his line. The ball just dribbled wide though. Rovers pushed for an equaliser, but Fingal were able to hold them off until the thirty-fourth minute.
James Chambers drafted a free-kick in towards the Fingal goal and Ger O’Brien was forced to hoof the ball out for a corner. Chambers again took the corner and found Craig Sives, who volleyed powerfully into the goal for his first senior goal for Rovers.
Neither side really looked capable of scoring again before half time and it went 1-1 in to the interval. Fingal came out in search of a goal, and found it in the fiftieth minute through Gary O’Neill.
O’Neill, starting his first match since returning from injury, finished simply after Alan Mannus couldn’t hold on to Ronan Finn’s rasping shot. Eamon Zayed could have doubled Fingal’s lead on sixty-two minutes, when he dribbled past two defenders only to shoot just wide.
For all of Fingal’s attacking prowess, it was their defence that starred for most of the match. Shane McFaul worked tirelessly in midfield, putting in a real box-to-box performance. Another player whose work rate shone through the rain was Gary Twigg, and the striker popped up to level the match again in the seventy sixth minute.
Twigg robbed Shaun Williams of the ball after a sloppy backpass from Conan Byrne wasn’t controlled by Williams. The Scot then raced in and finished past Darren Quigley with a low shot into the bottom right corner.
Four minutes later the Hoops grabbed what looked like it would be the winning goal through substitute Stephen Rice. Rice scored a beautiful goal from just outside the Fingal penalty area with a low shot into the bottom left corner, which the outstretched Quigley couldn’t reach.
Sporting pushed hard for an equaliser, and found it in dramatic circumstances with just three minutes of normal time remaining. Ronan Finn shot from twenty yards out and the wet ball slipped through the hands of Alan Mannus. This entertaining match finished 3-3, a high-scoring draw but a fair result nonetheless.
Sporting Fingal: Darren Quigley, Ger O’Brien, Lorcan Fitzgerald, Shaun Williams, Kenny Browne, Shane McFaul, Conan Byrne [Brian Gannon ‘83], Ronan Finn, Alan Kirby [Kevin Dawson ‘86], Eamon Zayed, Gary O’Neill [Glen Crowe ‘63] Brendan
Subs Not Used: Brendan Clarke, Ollie Cahill
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus, Aidan Price, Craig Sives, Dan Murray, Enda Stevens, James Chambers [Stephen Rice ‘54], Robert Bayly [Stephen Bradley ‘69], Chris Turner, Paddy Kavanagh, Gary Twigg, Thomas Stewart [Billy Dennehy HT]
Subs Not Used: Pat Jennings, Danny Murphy
Referee: Anthony Buttimer (Cork)
Extratime Man of the Match: Shane McFaul