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Maynooth University won 7-6 on pens.

A TEN-GOAL thriller that finished with the sides level plus a dramatic penalty shootout with hosts Maynooth University coming out on top on a count of 7-6 got the opening round of fixtures in the Irish Universities Crowley Cup off to an exciting start.

The other first round tie between St Mary’s College Belfast and Ulster University Magee in the North Section was awarded to Magee after St Mary’s were unable to play the game.


The annual competition is confined to players who have not figured in any of the recent Collingwood Cup games and Maynooth were defending the cup which they won in 2020 the last time it was played for.  

That task looked well on the way to getting off to the perfect start when they pushed well clear of the visitors University of Limerick early in the second half and established a comfortable 4-0 lead.

UL did manage a goal for 4-1 but when Maynooth began to ring the changes making several substitutions the game took on another complexion and the Limerick side hit back in style to beat goalkeeper Jack Harrington five times and finish up level at the finish.

It then took nine series of penalties to finally see Maynooth go through and they will now host Royal College of Surgeons in next Tuesday’s quarter final tie.

Maynooth ‘keeper Harrington turned out to be his side’s hero imitating the recent performance of Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher at Wembley.

The Maynooth man kept out Darren Martin’s spot kick before stepping up to confidently beat fellow custodian Conor O’Leary and send Maynooth into the last eight.

Maynooth made a confident start and Steven Toderic , Neil Mackin and Gerald Okoeguale had them 3-0 up by half time.

Stephen Coughlan a younger brother of St Patrick’s Athletic striker Ronan shone for UL and but for some smart saves by Harrington he might have grabbed a couple of goals.

The second half continued in the same vein and Sam O’Mahony extended the Maynooth advantage to 4-0 early after the restart.

Maynooth began to make several substitutions and suddenly UL clawed their way back into contention with two quick goals from Heelon Grcher and Stephen Skerritt put a different complexion on the tie.

Maynooth recovered to add a fifth through Daniel Ryan and at that stage it looked like they had halted the spirited UL comeback.

How wrong we all were as UL had another go at salvaging something from the game and goals from Graham Power and Skerritt put them within touching distance of causing a shock.

Then Cillian Redmond fired home an injury time penalty to level and take the tie into a shootout which finally went Maynooth’s way thanks to the heroics of Harrington.

Maynooth University: Jack Harrington; Jamie Kearns, Adrian Gumbo, Dylan Waldren, Dotun Mobinuori; Neil Macken, Alpha Elongz; Gerald Okoeguale, Daniel Ryan, Jack Healy; Steven Toderic. Subs: Sam O’Mahony (for Okoeguale 51), Kamsi Nkeni (for Eloucy 55), Sasha Cahill (for Toderic 75), James Murphy Ahern for Gumbo 78), Shaun Nugent (for Waldren 80).Not used: Lord Africa, Sean Martin, Josh Alanji.

University of Limerick: Conor O’Leary; Darren Martin, Kieran Connolly, Cillian Redmond, Robert Timmins; Nathan Williams, Caleb Daly; Evan Tobin, Dean Hegerly, Kyle Tierney; Stephen Coughlan. Subs: Heelan Grcher (for Tobin 46), Graham Power (for Hegerly 58), Stephen Skerritt (for Tierney 69), Dyal Berry (for Timmins 77).

Referee: Eddie Reilly Assistants: Mick Hughes, Peter O’Mahony.

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