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O’NEILLS LEINSTER JUNIOR CUP FINAL

MURPHY THE MAN AGAIN AS NORTH END RETAIN LEINSTER JUNIOR CUP

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SEAN DEMPSEY PHOTOGRAPHY

NORTH END UNITED………………… 4 KILBARRACK UNITED………..1

ON A sunny Sunday afternoon North End United and Kilbarrack took to the field at Arklow Town’s excellent facility to contest the O’Neills Leinster Junior Cup final.

North End the favourites and holders against a Kilbarrack second string who performed heroics to get to this final and whatever the outcome this was a major achievement for the north Dublin club.

We knew all about the Beary’s and the Murphy’s of North End fame but it was evident early that Jack Kelly might be the one to be the torn in Johnny Godkin’s side.

KILBARRACK UNITED: GREAT RUN TO THE FINAL BUT CAME UP AGAINST A STRONG WEXFORD OPPONENT

BY DERMOT CLARKE

The pacey right winger collected a ball from Gary Whelan in the fourth minute and wriggled his way into a shooting position but was off target.  A minute later he was at it again as Noel Heffernan misjudged the bounce and Kelly was in behind but the ball was taken away as he attempted to roll into an empty net.

On 21 James Cumiskey swung over a corner from the right and Kayin Sweeney’s header was cleared from the line. 

On 34 North End almost went in front when Adam Beary headed a ‘Spot’ Murphy cross from the right into Kyle Dempsey’s path but Keith Donohue was up to the task.

Then it was Kelly again with 6 remaining in the half.  He won a ball he had little right to and rounded Heffernan to score.  Before that the holders had lost Beary who hobbled off with a hamstring injury.

Godkin’s boys were in trouble but four before the break Beary’s replacement Niall Connolly slipped Gary Delaney in but Donohue saved superbly with his feet, the ball rebounded to Connolly who blasted wide and Kilbarrack went in one up.

John Lester, yes the same fella, entered the fray for North at the start of the second half.  Kilbarrack though were still in front at the hour mark.

Then on 62 Alan Rhodes slipped a ball to Craig McCabe and from fully 30 yards out, he unleashed a scud that, had there been no nets up, would have ended upon the N11, a truly magnificent goal.

Murphy almost replicated McCabe’s feat two later when his blistering half-volley dipped a fraction too late from the same sort of area.  A minute later though Kyle Dempsey slipped ‘Spot’ through and he rattled home the lead goal.

Kilbarrack plugged on but were looking a little leg-weary and indeed shell-shocked never better illustrated than when with 19 left Dean Prendergast allowed Murphy get a toe on it and the ball flew past Donohue.

In the final minute murphy fed Connolly who found Shane Dempsey alone and he put a ribbon on it and North End retained the Leinster Junior Cup.

A few mentions before we wrap up.  Murphy was given the MOTM award and he deserved it.  Had Kilbarrack managed to hang on it would surely have been Jack Kelly.  Kilbarrack will go back to Greendale and realise, after a Bimbo’s Burger and a few beers, what they have achieved and the club has achieved in recent years.

Dave Jameson (referee) and his team were faultless.  John Lester told me that that was it, he’s hanging up the boots.  If he does the curtain will come down on the career of the very best junior baller I have seen.  The man has more medals with the last three words engraved being ‘junior cup winner,’ than anyone in the country, I would say.  If it is indeed the end thanks for all the wonderful memories Johnny Lester!

Well done to John Godkin and his boys and a big well done to the friendly and hospitable catering ladies for the tea and sandwiches and, indeed, cakes.  Talk about one for everybody in the audience! Well done to all.

Kilbarrack United: Keith Donohue, Mervin Mambo, James Cumiskey, Dean Prendergast, Ciaran Whelan, Gary Whelan, Daniel Loftus, Josh McKenna, Kayin Sweeney, Sean Cumiskey, Jack Kelly.  Subs: Robert Dolan, Gavin Ryan, Dwayne McCourt, Rian Finnegan, Jonah Selberg, Karl Brennan.

North End United: Noel Heffernan, Craig McCabe, Dale Flynn, Declan Downes, Gary Delaney, Reece Murphy, Alan Rhodes, Robin Dempsey, Kyle Dempsey, Paul Murphy, Adam Beary.  Subs: Evan Roche, John Lester, Ciaran Carthy, Niall Connolly, Shane Dempsey, Darby Purcell, Ayman Youssef.

Referee: Dave Jameson.  Assistants: Keith Neville, Joe Hillman, Cillian O’Reilly (4th).

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