Ireland claim All Nations Cup
The 24th All Nations Cup, which takes place in Australia, was decided on penalties after an excellent match between Scotland and Ireland. Ireland prevailed in the shoot-out by 4 goals to 3 to win their first Cup since 1986, when coincidentally they also beat Scotland.
The two teams were packed with quality players who ply their trade in the Victorian Premier League and State League Division One. This made for an enthralling match despite the fact that neither side could break through for the vital goal.
Generally, the defences were on top with Craig Elvin supreme at the back for Scotland and John Fitzgerald and Luke Fitzpatrick unpassable at the other end. As a consequence, both goalkeepers had relatively easy days but when they were called into action they were flawless. In particular, Stewart Webster made a brilliant one handed save in the first half to save Scotland from falling behind. In the second half, his Irish counterpart earned his keep when he raced from his goal to foil Wayne Gordon on the edge of the penalty area. It was a tough day for the forwards as they struggled to find chinks in the opposing back lines.
Scotland looked the better of the two sides in the first half as they played the more flowing football but Ireland turned the tables in the second half as their pressure forced Scotland to defend for long periods. Two periods of extra time also could not separate the sides so the game went to penalties after 110 minutes of play.
Ireland took an early lead when Chris Cullen’s shot was well saved by Henry, but the count was all square when the Irish captain, Declan Mahon shot over with the next kick. They then went goal for goal until with Ireland leading 4-3, Wayne Gordon sent Henry the wrong way but saw his shot agonisingly hit the post and bounce clear to give the Irish a memorable victory.
The trophy was presented to the Declan Mahon in front of the rapturous Irish supporters who had provided a carnival atmosphere all day.
The trophy for the Best Player of the Tournament went to Padraigh Gologelly of Ireland with 9 votes, one in front of his compatriot, Alan Mulcahy.
The trophy for the Top Goalscorer went to Shane Tagliaferro of Scotland with 6 goals, one more than the unlucky Mulcahy who scored five.
The quality of the match was matched by the officials provided by the Football Federation of Victoria, the match referee Kevin Dockerty being on the A-League panel.
Next year will be the 25th year of this tournament and Knox City FC is already planning a bigger event.