RATHMINES COLLEGE……. 3
COLAISTE STIOFAIN NAOFA….. 4
A BATTLING second half comeback aided in part by a touch of good fortune saw Cork side Colaiste Stiofain Naofa reach the last four of the Colleges FAI Bob Eustace Cup with a 4-3 win over Rathmines College at Whelan Park, Kimmage.
Kenny Purcell turned out to be the unlikely Stiofain Naofa hero by grabbing the 83rd minute winner just two minutes after replacing Chris Bowen.
By John Hudson
And Purcell, a last-minute addition to the travelling squad prior to leaving Cork will hardly score a more bizarre goal.
Stiofain Naofa were pressing for a winner when Jack Sexton swung over a left wing cross that Rathmines ‘keeper Boaz Ninan Samuel couldn’t hold but did well to push away.
Then as luck would have it for the inrushing Purcell the ball hit him clean on the chest and ended up in the back of the Rathmines net for what proved to be the winner.
In fairness Rathmines will be kicking themselves at letting slip their chance of advancing to the semi finals after they looked comfortable in the opening period of the first half and lead 2-0 after 22 minutes.
Jethro Mande had them in front on 14 minutes and eight minutes later centre back Lee Corcoran hammered a first time effort home from a Jack Colgan corner.
A couple of other good chances went begging before they were made to pay as Stiofain Naofa quickly hit them twice in a five minute spell with two goals from Ben Twomey.
The first a speculative long range shot that Samuel failed to gather and shortly after Twomey struck the equaliser with a free from just outside the Rathmines box.
The home side recovered their composure just before the break to hit back for a 3-2 interval lead with Bobola Obajobi running on to Jack Rutledge’s through ball and firing high into the top corner.
Disaster struck for Rathmines early on the resumption when Corcoran directed a header into his own net in his attempt to head clear.
Stiofain Naofa had their tails up as Rathmines began to fade and Dylan McSweeney crashed a shot off the Rathmines crossbar.
But with the sides still level on 3-3 and extra time looking likely substitute Purcell turned out to be the man in the right spot to see the Cork side into the semi-finals.
RATHMINES COLLEGE: Boaz Ninan Samuel; Richard Idowu, Lee Corcoran, Kevin Lisimba, Jack Rutledge; Aristot Tambidila, Jack Colgan; Bobola Obajobi, Brian Sofola, Jethro Mande; Sean Martin.
Subs: Qudus Lawal (for Tambidila 64), Richmond Uzoma (Rutledge 67), Yemi Adebesin (for Obajobi 83) Not used: Ibrahim Adebesin, Abdulla Alkader, Matt Comiskey.
COLAISTE STIOFAIN NAOFA: Adam Stanton; Paul Ambisaye, Sam O’Driscoll. Tomas Kelly, Jack Sexton, Dylan McSweeney, Ben Twomey, Ardinal O’Buachalla, Daniel Walsh, Chris Bowen, Brian Sanderson.
Subs: Jonathan Hollywood (for Kelly 74), Kenny Purcell (for Bowen 81).
Referee: Eddie Reilly Assistants: Mick Hughes, Robert Byrne.