Carrick dreams come true

What a feeling! Carrick United Captain Wayne Fitzgerald raises the FAI Junior Cup.                                                         Photos by Jim O’Sullivan

What a feeling! Carrick United Captain Wayne Fitzgerald raises the FAI Junior Cup. Photos by Jim O’Sullivan

Carrick United 2; Killester United 1

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Carrick United won the Umbro FAI Junior Cup in amazing fashion on Sunday last. They trailed at half-time to Killester United and then missed a penalty 10 minutes into the second half. But the character and guts of this side knew no bounds and they battled back manfully to go on and defeat the holders with style and grace.

Manager Liam Wells and his coaching staff put the Carrick squad through an incredible training regime since last August and all of their hard work paid off on Sunday evening last. Three sessions a week, sometimes four, weekends away from loved ones and a special diet all paid off as they put a Dublin side who were three-to-one on to retain their title to the sword.

Carrick have now followed our four other winning clubs into local soccer folklore, Hibernians in 1947, Evergreen in 1953, Bohemians in 1996 and Waterford Crystal in 2006. Carve their names with pride. Carrick United, FAI Junior Cup champions 2008 – it has a great ring to it.

It was a glorious day for the Waterford and District League and even more so for the club based in Tom Drohan Park, Coolnamuck. Tom Drohan and all of the other deceased Carrick United members were surely looking down from above on this greatest ever day in the history of a club that was founded in 1968.

It was also a truly wonderful day for the current committee members such as John Nolan and the Carrick legend, PJ Torpy. These men have devoted their lives to the club and they were entitled to shed a tear (many a tear in fact) when Wayne Fitzgerald lifted the most famous trophy in Irish football high into the air. Magnificent. Truly magnificent.

Dubliners
lead

Brian Barry sent in a free kick in the 2nd minute which was met by Daryl Kavanagh but his header was cleared by defender Alan Murphy. Carrick almost took the lead on 12 minutes but Keith Walsh’s effort cam crashing back off an upright and, when the ball broke free inside the six yard box, Ian Cleary tried to get the ball into the net with his left foot as opposed to his favourite right and that gave Ross Carrig the chance to clear the danger.

Before that, Cleary had fed Kavanagh but his shot was kicked clear by Stephen Murphy. The Dublin side began to get a foothold on the game from then on and a corner kick taken from the right by Michael Keogh was met by Darren Murphy but he headed straight at the Carrick goalkeeper Adrian Walsh.

Killester did, however, take the lead on 28 minutes. Jason Donnery found David Lacey who headed the ball off the crossbar. The Carrick defenders did not clear the danger and that gave Ken Curley and Donnery the chance to work the ball out wide to Keogh.

Then, from just inside the right side of the penalty area, he drilled the ball past Adrian Walsh and into the far corner of the net. Killester very nearly went further in front on 33 minutes but James Walsh was in the right place to head a net-bound shot from Alan Murphy off the line with Walsh beaten.

Carrick take control

Wells replaced Stephen Hahessy at half time with Alan Ryan and the Waterford League side looked brighter and sharper throughout the second half. They had a great chance to level the game on 55 minutes when referee Michael Franklin from Wexford adjudged that Curley had fouled Kavanagh inside the box. Killester were angry to say the very least about the decision but they were relived to see Kavanagh strike the penalty well wide of Lee Murphy’s right upright.

Walsh produced a fine save from David Lacey on 63 minutes, diving at the striker’s feet after a through-ball from Donnery. Six minutes later, Walsh was back in action again, this time saving from Keogh who had run on to a ball from Donnery.

Carrick equalised on 73 minutes. Donnery picked up a yellow card for a foul on Wayne Fitzgerald out on the right. Brian Barry took the kick and, trying to head clear, the Killester defender Darren Murphy only succeeded in heading the ball past his own goalkeeper. That goal rocked the champions and Kavanagh went close when he fired in a shot from 25 yards on 85 minutes but Murphy turned the ball around his left upright.

Extra time was on the cards as we had entered the first minute of injury time but, when James Walsh played the ball into the penalty area from a move created by Fitzgerald, defender Ross Carrig was forced to take down Kavanagh. Alan Ryan took the responsibility this time and the substitute hammered the ball past Murphy.

Two minutes later the RSC was a mass of green and white as hordes of Carrick United supporters invaded the pitch to salute their heroes. It was an incredible finish to an incredible game.

Carrick United: Adrian Walsh, James Walsh, Brian Barry, Anthony O’Donnell, John Walsh, Keith Walsh, Anthony Power, Wayne Fitzgerald, Daryl Kavanagh, Ian Cleary, Stephen Hahessy. Subs: Alan Ryan for Hahessy (H-T), Barry Murphy for Cleary (67 mins), Glen Keane for Kavanagh (90 mins). Rest of panel: Ritchie Lawrence, Thomas Fitzgerald, Michael Walsh, Eoin Burke and Alan Redmond.

Killester United: Lee Murphy, Shane Dunne, Alan Murphy, Ross Carrig, Stephen Murphy, Darren Murphy, Jason Donnery, Ken Curley, David Lacey, Micchael Keogh, Alan Connor. Subs: Wesley Doyle for Connor (77 mins), Terry Corbally for Keogh (89 mins).

Referee: Michael Franklin (Wexford)

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