It was a day to savour for Letterkenny Rovers, but ultimately, their first appearance in an FAI Intermediate Cup final ended in deep disappointment.
Letterkenny Rovers 0
Crumlin United 5
Crumlin United, the cup holders, gave a classy performance. However, as Eamonn McConigley pointed out afterwards, his team didn't do themselves justice in the magnificent surrounds of the Aviva Stadium.
“It’s disappointing to have done so well to get this far and not to give a better account of ourselves,” he said.
“ I felt on the night, we just froze a little bit. The occasion got to us. We couldn’t get the running in our legs and we gave away two very soft goals in the first half.
“And then the first two goals we gave away in the second half were really unforgivable. They were silly little mistakes that normally we wouldn’t do.
“But that’s a cup final and on the night, we didn’t play, while the other team were really up for it.”
On a memorable day for the club, Rovers were roared on by several hundred supporters who had made the trip up from Donegal for Saturday's final.
Letterkenny actually started really well but were rocked by two goals in the space of five minutes early in the first half. Both goals came from Gregory Moorhouse, the Crumlin striker who was also on the mark in last year's final.
On that occasion, Crumlin beat Tolka Rovers 4-0. On Saturday night, once they scored their third through Alan McGreal ten minutes into the second half, they were on their way to another cup final win.
Rovers, to their credit, did their best to find a way back into the contest, but never once troubled former Ipswich Town keeper, Shane Supple, in the Crulin goal.
Christy Connaghan almost nicked a goal when he headed over late on. By that stage, Rovers were a beaten docket and substitute, Dean Hurley and Moorhouse again, rounded off an impressive win for the Leinster Senior League men.
Letterkenny had good performances from Shane Bradley, Ryan Lonergan, Paul Yank Boyle and keeper, Rory Kelly. This team will surely learn from the experience and despite the heavy defeat, they will surely have enjoyed their appearance at the Aviva.
Their manager, just like his players, cut a disappointed figure after the game.
“You worry about the Aviva when you have four players on the team who are over 34 years of age,” he said.
“I felt they struggled to get to the pace of the game. The other fellows just couldn’t get the running in their legs because it was just too much for them.
“I’m not running the players down, it can happen any set of players and it happened to us tonight,” he said.
Letterkenny Rovers: Rory Kelly, Ryan Lonergan (Kevin mcGrath 73), Jonathan Minnock (Tristan Ferris), Shane Bradley, Paul Boyle, Christy Connaghan, Terence Shiels (Steve Okakpu-Emeka 55), Mark Forker, Darren McElwaine, Paul McVeigh, David Shovlin. SUBS NOT USED: Sean Friel, Tommy Bonnar, Cathal McDaid, Kevin O'Donnell.
Crumlin United: Shane Supple, Gavin Kavanagh (Patrick Brophy 79), Daniel McGuinness, Thomas Hyland, Noel Murray, Luke Kelly (Jonathan Meleady 66), Carl Forsuth, James Lee, Gregory Moorhouse, Conor Murphy, Alan McGreal (Dean Hurley 73).
Referee: Edwin McNally (Cork).