FAI Intermediate Cup Final Report: Avondale United 1 - 0 Crumlin UnitedSun, May 12 2019
Cian Hartford reports from the Aviva Stadium
Avondale United have been crowned 2019 FAI Intermediate Cup champions after they squeaked past Crumlin United by just a single goal on a sunny day in the capital.
Mark O’Sullivan’s first-half effort was enough for the Cork side as Avondale captured their eight Intermediate Cup crown, their seventh in the last 14 years.
The opening quarter of an hour provided little excitement as both sides attempted to find their feet in what was a cagey opening.
Crumlin both overhit and underhit long balls in an attempt to slip in behind the Avondale defence while the Munster men tried to find their way with the ball along the floor.
The Leinster Senior League side were nearly in dreamland after 20 minutes when main man Jake Donnelly forced the ball over the line from a corner.
Much to Donnelly and his teammates’ dismay, however, the referee ruled it out for a foul on the keeper, as Donnelly had barrelled through Avondale stopper Sean Barron.
It was following this that Avondale then began to find a rhythm, stringing some decent passing moves together as they looked to unlock the Crumlin defence.
Lovely link up play along the right flank eventually led to former Cork City man O’Sullivan coming one-on-one with keeper Michael Quinn, but it was the Crumlin netminder who was triumphant, sticking out a leg to deny O’Sullivan’s low effort.
The Cork side pressed on and broke the deadlock with just under ten minutes to go in the half when O’Sullivan picked the ball up deep inside the Crumlin half.
He drove towards goal virtually unchallenged, before firing into the bottom left hand corner past a helpless Quinn.
The goal was coming as Avondale looked the better side as they first period went on, O’Sullivan posing a real threat for the Munster Senior League side.
Crumlin pushed forward, playing long direct balls forward in an attempt to find a goal. However, they were snuffed out every time by the sturdy Avondale rear-guard, in particular the impressive Mark Horgan who was always there to sweep up and clear danger.
Both sides returned from the break with different attitudes. Crumlin came out with a new fire and created several chances in the second period while Avondale were content to protect rather than extend their lead.
Just minutes after the re-start, Crumlin came agonisingly close through that man Donnelly. He latched onto a long throw and charged towards goal, holding off the challenge of Horgan excellently. However, he could only fire over the bar when it came time to deliver.
Donnelly came close once again when he got his head to a Thomas Hyland cross following a broken-down Crumlin corner. His header sailed over the bar however, with the striker getting a knock to the head for his troubles.
Every chance that Crumlin had was coming through Donnelly and he came close yet again when the ball dropped to him at the back post.
His low effort was turned away at the near post by Barron in the Avondale goal, who showed off excellent reactions to get down low to his right to keep his clean sheet intact.
Avondale’s only real opportunity to extend their lead in the second period came when Eoghan Lougheed headed a David O’Leary cross towards goal, the effort just grazing the crossbar on its way over.
Crumlin’s attacking threat was dealt a serious blow when Jake Donnelly had to be stretchered off with just under 20 minutes to go.
The striker came off worse in a challenge with Jack Walsh and was unable to continue, eventually being replaced by Liam Brady.
Despite the loss of their main goal threat, Crumlin continued to throw themselves at the Avondale defence.
It was a nervy ending to the game for Avondale as they found their backs against the wall, the Crumlin tide continuing to crash upon them as they fought for a goal.
Despite their constant pressure, they couldn’t find the equaliser. Avondale defended stoutly and ran out the clock.
Despite having seven minutes off injury time to find a goal, Crumlin just couldn’t capitalise on the advantage and Avondale held out to win their first Intermediate Cup since 2014.
Man of the Match O’Sullivan ran the show up front for Avondale, proving to be the decisive factor as he scored his first goal at the Aviva Stadium.
Crumlin were unlucky not to claim a league and cup double, being just unable to find their footing properly in the game, with the injury to Donnelly hampering their chances in the final quarter.
Avondale United: Sean Barron; Danny O’Connell, David Shovlin (Ryan Hogan 34), David Kiely, Mark Horgan (Vinnie O’Brien 79); Eoghan Lougheed, David O’Leary (Karl Caulfield 63), Hughie O’Donovan, Jack Walsh, Brian Murphy (Cathal O’Neill 90+3); Mark O’Sullivan.
Subs Not Used: Daniel O’Leary (gk), Steven Barrett , Richard Tobin.
Booked: Eoghan Lougheed (62), Jack Walsh (67).
Crumlin United: Michael Quinn (gk); Gareth Brady, David Brady, Thomas Hyland, Sean Harding; John Sullivan, Craig Walsh, James Lee, Conor Murphy (Sam Burgess 90 +2), Alan McGreal; Jake Donnelly (Liam Brady 74),
Subs Not Used: David Meehan (gk), Noel Cummins, Alan Barrett, Blair Mandiangu, Gary Murphy.
Referee: Keith Callanan.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Mark O’Sullivan (Avondale United)