FAI Intermediate Cup Final Preview: Avondale United -v- Crumlin UnitedSat, May 11 2019
Avondale United return to the Intermediate Cup final stage following a five-year absence as the most successful side in recent cup history look to add to their prestigious record (kick-off 2pm).
The Blackrock side has won the cup six times in the past 13 years – compared to Crumlin United’s four – as these two sides have dominated intermediate football’s biggest cup.
Ken Bruton’s side have stuttered in the league this season and sit just two points clear of the second relegation spot, but their cup form has been reassuringly steady.
Avondale overcame fellow Cork side Rockmount in the semi-final thanks to goals in either half from Mark O’Sullivan and Danny O’Connell.
Previous rounds also saw them win out against Cork opposition, beating Cobh Wanderers in round four before seeing off Midleton in the quarter-finals.
“It’s fantastic to get here, but we’ve a pedigree as a club in this competition so we’ll always target,” Bruton told extratime.ie.
“I’ve been involved since 2004 as a player and now as a manager. It’s always been something we look to do well in.
“It’s a measure of where you are as a team and how you’re doing in the bigger context. It’s fantastic to be back after five years – that’s the longest gap for a while.”
Bruton was part of the Avondale team under John Caulfield that lost to Crumlin in the 2010 final, and he expects no less tough a challenge on Saturday afternoon.
“You have an ethos at any club and the ethos they have at Crumlin is the winning mentality.
“They get the ball down and play, they’ve got quality players and good structure. That doesn’t change no matter who’s involved.
“At our club, we’ve got an ethos about how we play and that’s the same whoever is at the helm.
“We expect a really, really tough day. Both sides are good on the ball and hard-working as well.”
Bruton has no injuries to contend it but will be without the services of Josh O’Shea – an FAI Cup finalist with Cork City in 2014 – following his red card in the semi-final.
Crumlin United have contest Avondale’s mantle as the Intermediate Cup’s biggest side in recent years, lifting the cup four times in the past years (the same as Avondale).
They were crowned Leinster Senior League champions two weeks ago after seeing off rivals Cherry Orchard 5-0 in Elmdale to continue their unbeaten season.
It was the club’s first league title in four years after seeing Bluebell United assume the reins as the division’s leading side with three titles in four.
It’s been a remarkable few months for Martin Loughran’s side, who have benefitted from increased professionalism since coach Marc Kenny came on board last summer.
Crumlin had a somewhat more challenging road to the final than Avondale, having been forced to face defending champions Maynooth University Town away in the semis.
A spectacular last-minute volley from striker Jake Donnelly – which subsequently went viral – proved the difference as Crumlin won a tough game 3-2.
“They’ve been Intermediate Cup kingpins over the past 12 years or so – they’ve won it six times,” Loughran told extratime.ie.
“Out of the last 12, I think the only years neither of us were in it was last year and the year before. It looks like it could be a really good game by two good sides.”
Crumlin’s two most recent triumphs in the cup have come since the move back to the Aviva Stadium, but Loughran isn’t sure if that’ll give them an advantage.
“It’ll be a tough game, but we have a good record in the Aviva, which is the only thing [that might be to our advantage].
“We’ve been there twice and won, whereas it’s Avondale’s first go. Whether that gives us the upper hand or not, you never know.
“We just hope we can play to our potential, perform on the day and get it over the line.”
Crumlin have no known injuries or suspensions going into the game.
Referee: Keith Callanan.
Avondale United and Crumlin United have dominated the FAI Intermediate Cup in recent years, with ten wins between them in the last 13 years.
Avondale have won the cup on six occasions in that time (2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) and Crumlin four (2009, 2010, 2015, 2016).
Amazingly, that run has only produced one previous final between the sides, the 2009/10 final at Dalymount Park.
Two goals from Dean Kelly and one from James Lee – who is going for his fifth Intermediate Cup on Saturday – saw Crumlin to a 3-1 win.
Avondale United 11/4; Draw 11/4; Crumlin United 4/6.
Avondale United 1 – 3 Crumlin United
Suspended: Josh O’Shea.