Crusaders 2 â€“ 2 Derry City
(Crusaders won 5-4 on pens)
All of the excitement of the Setanta Sports Cup final was crammed into the closing twenty minutes of normal time at The Oval and into the 30 minutes extra time before the match was decided in sudden death penalty shoot-out.
Crusaders were triumphant in the end and they deserved their narrow win as they claimed the all-Ireland trophy for the first time. Had they taken advantage of their scoring chances they would surely not have had to endure the tension of extra time and penalties.
The winning strike from the penalty spot was claimed by substitute Gareth McKeown. The teams had finished level 4-4 on penalties after the obligatory five-a-piece when Derry full-back Dermot McCaffrey failed to beat goalkeeper Sean O'Neill and McKeown took full advantage.
It was a spirited win for Crusaders who had to play the 30 minutes extra time at a numerical dis-advantage after Stephen McBride was shown a second yellow card and the inevitable red in added time.
Crusaders had failed to turn their advantage into a pay-off on the scoreboard and must have harboured feelings of anxiety when they spurned a glorious opportunity two minutes into the second half. Stuart Dallas set up Chris Morrow for a close range shot that was parried by goalkeeper Gerard Doherty and Declan Caddell blew the rebound over.
Again, in the 58th minute, Crusaders were frustrated when Timmy Adamson crashed a header against the crossbar following a corner and it was the excellent Doherty who stood in their way in the 76th minute when he pushed a shot from David Rainey over the bar.
It looked as if they might pay a heavy price when Derry broke away to take the lead with only ten minutes left. Dermot McCaffrey crossed from the left and substitute Owen Morrison laid it into the path of Rory Patterson who finished in style.
Crusaders responded well and were level in the 86th minute. A free was knocked into the penalty area by Stuart Dallas and Colin Coates headed into the net with Derry complaining that goalkeeper Doherty was being impeded by Rainey.
The referee awarded the goal and extra time failed to separate the teams as they swopped goals. Coates was again on target for Crusaders when he headed home following a corner five minutes into extra-time and Derry levelled in the 102nd minute. Paul Leeman was penalised for hand-ball and Patterson calmly converted the penalty to ensure a dramatic shoot-out.
CRUSADERS: O'Neill; Magowan, Coates Leeman, McBride; Watson, Caddell (Gargan 112), Morrow, Dallas; Rainey (Snoddy 97) Adamson (McKeown 90).
DERRY CITY: Doherty; Madden, S McEleney, McBride (McCallion 106), McCaffrey; Molloy, Higgins; McDaid, P McEleney, McLaughlin (Morrison 63); Patterson.
REFEREE: Mr. R. Crangle (Belfast).
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