RYAN TREBLE HELPS KNOCKLYON REEL IN PARK IN LFL SHEERAN CUP THRILLER
KNOCKLYON UNITED…….4 PARK CELTIC……..3
LAZARUS-LIKE, Knocklyon United came from three-nil down to triumph 4-3 and claim the LFL’s premier cup competition at Home Farm’s Ground in Whitehall on Sunday at the expense of a gallant Park Celtic.
Underdogs Park raced into a commanding lead with just 12 minutes on the clock with brothers Max and Jamie Ariey along with Michael Nolan finding the net against a shell-shocked Knocklyon.
It was an explosive start by Rory Fitzgerald’s Park Celtic and every attack seemed to deliver a goal as Knocklyon endured the worst possible start – but with lots of time on the clock they rolled up their sleeves and set about the task of reeling in their rampant opponents.
BY EAMON SCOTT
Remarkably, it could have been four-nil when Nolan rounded Conor Cullen in the Knocklyon goal but his angled shot cannoned off the base of the upright and away to safety.
That let-off was to prove fortuitous for United as they suddenly realised that the were in a real battle to justify their favourites tag.
A long delay for attention to goalkeeper Stephen Fitzgerald was to prove pivotal. Fitzgerald received a nasty headwound that required stitches after the game but he bravely carried on.
The stoppage however afforded Knocklyon an opportunity to assess the situation and tweak their shape and when the game recommenced Daniel Ryan announced himself on the game and it was his hat-trick which helped Knocklyon overcome that horrendous deficit and eventually take the FA Cup like trophy back to their southside base.
Park need to get to the interval with their goal still intact as Fitzgerald looked a little dazed despite his brave decision to soldier on.
But after parrying a freekick in the 42nd minute the ball spilled into the lurking Ryan to rattle the back of the net and and then two minutes later he netted from the edge of the box pulling a shot wide of the diving Fitzgerald to find the bottom corner of the net.
With a solitary goal in it it was always going to be an interesting second period and so it proved to be.
Park saw plenty of the ball and introduced fresh legs off the bench to try and inject some more defensive solidity and the maroon shirts performed heroically but Knocklyon were finding their own rhythm and their passing and interplay indicated that were were finally finding their cup fighting groove.
Still Park defended stoutly until the 76 minute when Knocklyon won a free close to the sideline just outside the 18-yard line.
With a three man wall and defenders anticipating a lofted ball to the back post, Adam Murphy’s majestic free kick deceived everyone by going for the near post and his shot was right on the money and the game deadlocked at three-apiece.
It set things up for the run in down the final straight but three minutes later Knocklyon’s recovery was complete when the lurking Ryan availed of another spilled ball and from close-in tapped home for his third of the game as United finally got their noses in front.
It was a roller coaster of a game but once they secured the lead, Knocklyon looked very solid and Park rarely got a sniff of goal. Credit Rory Fitzgerald’s battling performance but on the day you have to doff your cap in Knocklyon’s direction for a great fightback to claim the magnificent trophy presented ley legendary Charlie O’Leary.
Daniel Ryan rightly claimed the Man of the Match award for his fabulous treble and well done to the LFL for an excellent occasion played in a very sporting manner by two fine sides.
Well done to Glen Geraghty and his match officials for an excellent job in keeping the match flowing with the minimum of fuss and a whole lot of sensible refereeing.
It brought the curtains down on a brilliant season for the LFL and with over 100 teams on their books, the league looked to have finally turned a corner with a promise of great days ahead.
KNOCKLYON UNITED: Conor Cullen; Sam Leonard, Kyle Brennan, Jake Trainor, Andrew Wickham, Daragh Cullen, Shane McCall, Kevin Kirwan, David Keegan, Evan Cullen, Jack Culliton, Ben Mullen, Adam Murphy, Sean Kane, Edward Phelan, Mazen Acamy, Cian Leahy, Daniel Ryan.
PARK CELTIC: Stephen Fitzgerald, Jack Reedy, Brian Moore, Des Roche, Matthew Hickey, Justin Carroll, Max Airey, Jack Crowley, Jamie Airey, Michael Nolan, Jack Stewart, Robert Johnson, Ben Ralph, Steven McGovern, Eoin Curley, William O’Riordan, Joseph Power, Tim Brennan.