Newmarket Celtic win the FAI Junior Cup on penalties


Newmarket Celtic win the FAI Junior Cup on penalties

Newmarket Celtic won the FAI Junior Cup for the first time in their history after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory against St. Michael's AFC.
29th Apr 2023

Harvey Cullinan's penalty put Newmarket into a first-half lead but David Slattery equalised from close range in the 57th minute. St. Michael's defender Paul Breen was sent off in the final four minutes of normal time as Jack Kelly scored the winning penalty in a dramatic 5-4 penalty shoot-out win.

Two Ireland Amateur internationals were named in the starting XI of either side as Jimmy Carr lined up for St. Michael's AFC and Eoin Hayes skippered Newmarket Celtic. It was the Tipperary club who started the stronger and threatened within the first two minutes of the game as Paul Breen headed narrowly wide from a right-sided free-kick.

Newmarket worked their way back into the game as both sides battled difficult conditions at Jackman Park. Newmarket found themselves in front on the half-hour after they were awarded a penalty and Harvey Cullinan stepped up to fire home past Adrian Walsh in the Saints' net.

Whatever was said by Saints manager at half-time worked as the Tipp club came out with added impetus as Jimmy Carr headed wide seven minutes into the second-half. Five minutes later, Saints equalised from a well-worked set-piece. The right-sided corner found Breen who flicked it towards David Slattery who didn't need a second invitation to powerfully fire home to draw Saints level.

Saints continued to push forward as the impressive Edmond O'Dwyer turned inside off the left and fired his curling effort over the bar in the 68th minute.

Both sides continued to threaten in the difficult conditions as the rain lashed Jackman Park throughout the second-half. Saints' task was made even more difficult just four minutes from time as Paul Breen received his second yellow card thanks to his challenge on the edge of the area on Hayes as they were reduced to ten men. The free-kick was blocked and from the resulting corner, Darragh Leahy hooked his effort narrowly wide for Newmarket.

Despite their one man disadvantage, Saints almost won it in the 90th minute when O'Dywer got in down the left side of the area and his poked finish was well saved by Shane Cusack in the Newmarket net.

That wasn't the end of the action however as Newmarket hit the post with the final kick of normal time. David McCarthy's free-kick from 25-yards out was curled brilliantly over the wall and as he went away to celebrate, the ball hit the post to deny Newmarket.

Neither side could find the breakthrough in extra-time as Newmarket failed to make their extra man count with the game decided on penalties. St. Michael's Shane Ryan saw his penalty saved by Newmarket's Cusack which meant Jack Kelly's final penalty sealed a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory for the Clare club, the first time they have won the FAI Junior Cup in their long history.

St. Michael's AFC: Adrian Walsh (GK), Sean Murphy, Donagh Hickey, Denis John Cremins, Paul Breen, Joseph Mulcahy, Jimmy Carr (Christopher Higgins 90), Colin Bargary, David Slattery, Edmond O'Dwyer, Russell Quirke.
Subs not used: Adam McGrath, Shane Ryan, Ashley Kelliher, Rhys Byron, William O'Dwyer, Robert McGrath.

Newmarket Celtic: Shane Cusack (GK), David O'Grady, Conor McDaid, Harvey Cullinan, Ethan Fitzgerald, Jack Kelly, Kevin Hartnett (Eunan Doherty 71), Georoid O'Brien, Darragh Leahy, Eoin Hayes (C), David McCarthy.
Subs not used: Ronan McCormack, David Lennon, Stephen Kelly, Eoin Kelly, Garry Higgins, Dermot Lannon.

Referee: Alin Suteu

Red Card: Paul Breen (86)

Man of the Match: Eoin Hayes

Attendance: 2,357