Avondale United make it three in a row
FAI Umbro Intermediate Cup final
Richmond Park - May 12, KO 3.00pm
BLUEBELL UNITED 1 (Robert Douglas 1 min)
AVONDALE UNITED 4 (Roy Long 7, 13, Ian Stapleton pen 83, Kevin Mulcahy 88)
Cup glory came to Avondale United on the banks of the Camac River at Richmond Park, Inchicore when they claimed the FAI Umbro Intermediate Cup for a historic third successive season with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over local side Bluebell United.
The Cork club in their sixth final appearance in eight seasons, have now equaled the previous three in a row wins last achieved in the 1940s by the now defunct Dublin side Distillery.
A hectic opening 13 minute spell saw Bluebell go ahead in less than a minute of play and then spurn a couple of other good chances to increase their advantage.
But the holders recovered their composure and hit back with two quick goals from Man of the Match Roy Long to put them in control. While Bluebell had a fair amount of the play after this they failed to really trouble Avondale except from some well delivered corners and free kicks.
Two late goals then sealed the win for the Cork boys who now go into the record books for their brilliant achievements over the past six seasons.
Avondale manager John Cotter caused a big surprise with his starting line out by leaving club skipper Eoghan Lougheed on the bench and giving Roy Long his first Intermediate Cup Final start. But Cotter must have been a little anxious after Bluebell went in front with the opening goal after less than a minute of play.
Robert Douglas managed to block a clearance by Avondale centre half Mark Horgan just outside the box and then go on to coolly place the ball past a helpless Danny Long with just 32 seconds on the clock for what must rank as possibly the fastest goal scored in any Intermediate Cup Final.
Avondale were rocked and minutes later they were lucky not to have gone further behind when Glen Madden should have made it 2-0 after a neat Trevor Molloy pass put him through but the Bluebell captain shot wide from close in.
Former St Patricks Athletic favourite Molloy on his old stomping ground had begun well and started to cause problems for Avondale. Minutes later his cross into the goalmouth gave Tony Griffiths another chance to increase the Bluebell lead but he failed to test O’Leary.
The game turned in favour of Avondale when Roy Long struck with two decisive headers in a six minute spell. Long headed home the equaliser on six minutes after Mark O’Sullivan managed to gain possession following Bluebell’s failure to clear an Ian Stapleton corner. O’Sullivan placed an accurate cross to the far post and Long out jumped Des Byrne to head firmly past Karl Coleman.
Avondale went ahead seven minutes later with Long doing the damage with a similar effort. A Kevin Mulcahy cross from the left picked out Long at the far post and he made no mistake with another well placed header past Coleman.
Avondale were clearly on top after this and Stapleton went close with an overhead kick following good work by Horgan and O’Sullivan.
While Coleman did well to keep out a long range David Spratt effort and followed this with up by making a solid save from a fiercely struck Mulcahy drive. Bluebell had looked dangerous after series of free kicks and corners caused the Avondale defence problems.
Griffiths saw his close range shot come off the Avondale post after Molloy’s free and then rebound to Douglas who had his follow up shot blocked by Michael Mulconry.
The second half proved less hectic as the pace dropped and the well drilled Avondale outfit seemed content to contain their opponents. Stapleton and O’Sullivan always looked dangerous and Coleman had to be at his best to keep out shots from both Avondale front men.
Ian Cherry did go close for Bluebell with a header on 70 minutes and Peter Darcy shot well wide after a strong run from midfield.
Avondale’s win was finally sealed on 83 minutes after substitute Andrew Cleary took down O’Sullivan in the box and Stapleton made no mistake with his spot kick.
Mulcahy put the gloss on a fine Avondale victory two minutes from the finish when his shot from distance completely deceived Coleman to send the cup back to Leeside once again.
BLUEBELL UNITED: Carl Coleman; Darragh Killeen, Ian Cherry, Mark Rooney, Des Byrne; Sean Stewart, Glen Madden, Peter Darcy, Robert Douglas, Trevor Molloy; Tony Griffiths.
Subs: Andrew Cleary (for Byrne 57), Anthony Cleary (for Stewart 65), Darragh Satelle (for Madden 85).
Not used: Davy Kelly, Sean Fitzpatrick, Tom Ennis, Patrick Farrelly.
AVONDALE UNITED: Danny O’Leary; Roy Long, Mark Horgan, Michael Mulcroney, David Spratt; Brian Murphy, Danny Long, Karl Caulfield, Kevin Mulcahy; Mark O’Sullivan, Ian Stapleton.
Subs: Graham McCarthy (for D Long 74), Eoghan Lougheed (for R Long 86), Kenny Murphy (for Caulfield 89).
Not used: Michael Kiernan, David O’Keeffe.
REFEREE: Richie Glynn
ASSISTANT REFEREE 1: Marie Ward
ASSISTANT REFEREE 2: James Keating
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Declan Troy.