Avondale achieve 4-in-a-row FAI Intermediate Cup success
Avondale United 3 UCD AFC 0
AVONDALE UNITED bridged a gap that stretched back to 1942 when they became only the second side ever to win four FAI Umbro Intermediate Cup titles in a row.
The Cork side, appearing in their fifth consecutive final, emulated Dublin side Distillery, who won titles from 1939 to 1942, when defeating a brave UCD side 3-0 in a highly entertaining game at Turner’s Cross.
Goals from Ian Stapleton, a penalty from Graham McCarthy and a final effort in the 90th minute by Danny Long ultimately decided an affair that was highly entertaining.
The pace of the game was unrelenting and was a frenzied and passionate affair. Avondale were clearly the superior side but UCD’s discipline did frustrate them for the majority of the entertaining first half.
Indeed, the few clear chances were all Avondale’s with Ian Stapleton, Brian Fitzgerald and Danny Long going close.
UCD’s goalkeeper Sean Coffey was equal to the challenges thrown his way and he was very much the reason why the Dublin side were on level terms as the half-time whistle approached.
Coffey’s defences were eventually breached a minute into added-time by Stapleton. Eoghan Lougheed floated in a gorgeous cross for Kenny Murphy to cushion a header into Stapleton’s path and the striker gently guided the ball past the advancing Coffey.
It was no more than Avondale deserved as they had comfortably enjoyed the better of the first half but credit to UCD for making them work ever so hard for the advantage.
The defending champions continued to set the pace in the second half and only spectacular aerial acrobatics from Coffey denied Lougheed’s header from a Michael Mulconry cross nine minutes after the re-start.
Two minutes later Avondale were again desperately unlucky not to score when Danny Long skipped past three defenders before poking the ball under the advancing Coffey. Unfortunately for the striker the ball came back off the post and into Coffey’s grateful arms.
UCD’s first shot of the half came on 69 minutes when substitute Michael Arnold played in Michael Whelan but the winger blasted over from just outside the area.
The Students did rally in the second half and Whelan had another effort that was saved by Daniel O’Leary mid-way through the half but the game was decided beyond doubt in the 80th minute when Steve Dillon pulled down Avondale’s man-of-the-match Danny Long.
The striker fell inside the box and in a double whammy Dillon was sent-off after being shown a second yellow card and match referee Pat Murphy also pointed to the spot for a penalty kick. McCarthy made no mistake as he tucked the ball low to the left corner.
Fittingly man-of-the-match Long had the final say of the game when he was on the end of a Brian Murphy cross to steer the ball home for the third goal to round off a fantastic afternoon for the Cork side as they secured the marvellous four-in-a-row of titles.
AVONDALE UNITED: D O’Leary, B Fitzgerald, E Lougheed, M Mulconry (C), M Horgan, K Caulfield, R Long, B Murphy, I Stapleton, D Long, K Murphy. Subs: G McCarthy for Long (22 mins), G Kelly for Caulfield 33 mins), D Warren for Murphy (82 mins).
UCD AFC: S Coffey, B O’Reilly, N Wright, H Davey, S Dillon Capt., J Timmons, M Whelan, F Moran, C Cannon, T Molloy, M Whelan. Subs: M Arnold for Timmons (67 mins), C Feeney for Whelan (78 mins), J Keohane for Cannon (80 mins)
REFEREE: Pat Murphy.