Cork Business League Champions Super Cup: Quarter-Final Result: CIE Athletic 3 – 3 MCM ( CIE won 5-4 on pens)
In another titanic quarter-final, the unique skills and attitudes of teams from two different eras featured in abundance writes Finbarr Buckley. At the end of an absorbing one hundred and ten minutes, CIE Athletic squeezed past a gallant MCM at The Showgrounds in a shoot-out which was decided by the very last kick of the game.
Within three minutes of kick-off, CIE pieced together a pair of high-speed moves. Peter Gregson’s quick release found the flying Donal O’Leary, who raced down the right and laid off to Chris McCarthy. The equally quick-fire full-back’s clip into the box was flicked on by Pat Downey before running away off Henry O’Connor’s shins. Then O’Leary linked with McCarthy and Downey on the right before nodding into the path on the onrushing O’Connor, who shot first time into the side netting. It was all Athletic in these early stages, Downey’s neat touches and O’Connor’s short-striding runs and close control providing the focal point.
From another raid down the right, McCarthy’s cross to the far post was volleyed in by Thomas Hawkins to deservedly give Athletic a 17th-minute lead. MCM boss Ken O’Callaghan was furious at the amount of space Hawkins was left to run in to but before long his charges responded magnificently to take the game to their celebrated opponents and draw level by the half-way point of the first half.
Captain Tom Frawley did well to dispossess Dommie Murphy in the centre and clipped the ball wide to Shane Donoghue. The striker with an eye for goal unleashed a long range strike which could only be turned onto the post by Gregson. As the ball rebounded Rodney Macken slid in ahead of Noel Kelleher to turn the ball over the line for one-one.
Three minutes on and Athletic were in front again. O’Leary’s flicked header sent the ball into the penalty area, where Downey tussled with Adrian Evans and saw the ball run back to O’Leary. His rising shot hit Kevin O’Shea in the midriff and dropped invitingly for Downey to whip the ball low past Olan Lynch.
Incredibly, MCM drew level on the stroke of half-time through Jerry O’Reilly who chased a clearance out of defence by Evans to reach the end-line before crossing for Macken to beat Davie Desmond in the air and head past Gregson who couldn’t get enough of a hand to keep it out.
CIE manager Jackie Carroll and assistant Joe Harrington brought Tommie Murphy and John Deasy into the fray for the second 45 and the pair were instrumental in setting up Downey for his second of the day and the lead again for Athletic. Noel Kent and Tom Frawley contested a high ball in the middle which broke to Donal O’Leary. The former Cork Celtic speedster was quick to spot Deasy in space. The sub wasted no time in setting up fellow sub Dommie Murphy who beat Lynch from the edge of the area with a terrific strike.
O’Callaghan rang the changes for MCM by bringing on Tommy Ode, Mark Campion and Donnacha McCarthy and with his side well in contention he pushed Evans into the middle and bravely went with three at the back for the last fifteen minutes. A bout of pressure resulted in Gregson keeping out a header from Donoghue and a shot on the turn by Ode while at the opposite end Lynch courageously dived at the feet of Deasy to prevent a fourth and almost certain winner for CIE.
With five minutes remaining, O’Reilly made another one of his runs to the end-line and as he turned inside he was brought down by the outstretched leg of Davie Desmond. Referee Barry Kearney had no hesitation in pointing to the spot from which Frawley confidently beat Gregson to the right from the resultant penalty.
The pace wilted in the last ten minutes with neither teams carving out a goal that would be sufficient to progress. Both teams stayed on the pitch determined to get on top in the twenty minutes that followed and without any further score, the contest was left to be decided by penalties.
Downey fired in CIE’s first into the Atlantic Pond goad with unerring accuracy low to Lynch’s right. Mark Martin followed suit for MCM and with neither team missing the target, Campion stepped to attempt to keep MCM in the tournament. His shot beat Gregson but not the post and so on such a tight margin, MCM lost out but not before giving one of the pre-tournament favourites the fright of their lives.
CIE Athletic: Peter Gregson: Chris McCarthy, Jerry Sheehan (Hugh Barriscale), Davie Desmond (capt.), Noel Kelleher (John O’Regan); Noel Kent, Dommie Murphy, Donal O’Leary (Ger Power); Henry O’Connor (Tommie Murphy), Pat Downey, Thomas Hawkins (John Deasy).
MCM: Olan Lynch: Jeff Nnaji, Sean Murphy; Adrian Evans, Kevin O’Shea (Nigel Thornhill); Tom Frawley (capt.), Mark Martin, Tim Dennehy (Donnacha McCarthy); Rodney Macken (Mark Campion), Shane Donoghue, Jerry O’Reilly (Tommy Ode).
Referee: Barry Kearney. Assistant Referees: Connie Long, Pat Clancy. Fourth Official: Pat Buckley.