Keane Cup Final
Avondale United 2 (Shovlin o67, O’Sullivan 71) v Cobh Wanderers 1 (O’Connor 49)
Avondale Utd are the Keane Cup winners courtesy of Mark O’Sullivan’s headed goal after an absorbing final at Turner’s Cross.
After a goalless first half, the game came to life early in the second half with Cobh taking a deserved lead but Avondale stuck to their guns and turned the game on its head in a five minute spell.
On the balance of play, it was a deserved victory and sets Avondale up nicely for rest of the season.
The opening exchanges were played ata frantic pace with half chances at both ends with George Keating’s pace on the right giving Cobh a decent outlet.
A David Curran free kick on 15 minutes provided the first real threat on goal but his delivery drifted beyond everybody and went harmlessly wide.
At the other end, Eoghan Lougheed was left holding his head in disbelief as three quick-fire chances somewhat failed to find the net.
A ball across the area by Richard Tobin was met by Lougheed and his initial strike on goal was blocked with penalty appeals waved away, his second effort from close range was bundled off the line and the third attempt where it looked like he had to score was deflected just over the bar.
A huge let-off for Cobh Wanderers.
They responded well though and a fantastic move on the half hour mark involving Kyle Downing, Keating and Stephen Griffin eventually led to a strike from Curran which just flew wide of the top corner.
Mark O’Sullivan who returned to the club recently after a few seasons playing League of Ireland drove a free kick wide on 36 minutes and two minutes late a rare Mark Horgan error let Cian O’Connor in but Sean Barron saved well as the first 45 minutes ended without a goal.
O’Connor didn’t have to wait long for his moment of glory and it came on 49 minutes when he met Jason Abbott’s corner with a powerful header at the near post to put the Keane Cup holders in front.
There was almost an instant reply with Mark O’Sullivan going close and it’s at this stage that Avondale manager, Ken Bruton opted for more attacking options with the introduction of Jamie Murphy.
The early second half goal changed the dynamics of the game and a second goal for Cobh which could have put the game to bed almost came justafter the hour mark when O’Connor and Griffin combined well with the latter’s strike flying narrowly wide.
Parity was restoredon 67 minutes and it was richly deserved with O’Sullivan playing a great through ball for the David Shovlin who broke from midfield and he finished superbly into the bottom right hand corner.
At this stage, extra time would have been fitting for two sides who were evenly matched on the night with a good blend of youth and experience and it was one of those experienced players on the Avondale side that produced the winner with 20 minutes remaining.
Sean Barron in the Cobh goal came to meet an Avondale cross and under pressure his punch dropped invitingly for O’Sullivan who headed home from close range.
Cobh pushed for an instant equaliser and O’Connor almost doubled his tally when through on goal and just about to shoot at goal he was denied by a fantastic last ditch challenge from Andy O’Connell.
Cobh’s last effort came latein the day with a free kick that drifted harmlessly wide and Jamie Murphy had a chance to make it three for Avondale but his headed effort off a corner kick went narrowly over.
Avondale Utd: 1. Sean Barron 2. David Kiely (capt) 3. Eoghan Lougheed (Greg Kelly 46), 4. Andy O’Connell 5. Mark Horgan 6. Declan Cahill 7. David Shovlin (Brian Murphy 81) 8. Hughie O’Donovan 9. Mark O’Sullivan 10. Danny O’Connell (Cathal O’Neill 90) 11. Richard Tobin (Jamie Murphy 58).
Cobh Wanderers: 1. Shane Hallahan 2. Kyle Downing 3. David Stack (Jordan Tarrant Lowry 72) 4. John Meade (capt) 5. Anthony Wolfe 6. Jason Abbott 7. George Keating (Prezmyslew Weiss 72) 8. David Curran 9. Ian Stapleton 10. Cian O’Connor 11. Stephen Griffin (Eoin Hastings 76).
Man of the Match: Andy O’Connell (Avondale United)
Referee: Edwin McNally.
Avondale United / Cobh Wanderers
Shots on target 7 / 4
Corners 7 / 2
Shots off target 4 / 4
Yellow Cards 4 / 0