Dunkineely Celtic came from behind twice to defeat Drumbar United 6-5 on penalties in a pulsating final to claim the U12 Shield.
Dunkineely Celtic 3
(a.e.t. Dunkineely won 6-5 on penalties)
After scores remained level at 3-3 following 80 minutes a sudden death penalty save handed Dunkineely Celtic the title. Drumbar got off to the perfect of starts as Aodhan McCrudden was quickest to react to fire Drumbar into a third minute lead.
Dunkineely Celtic almost replied instantaneously when Liam McShane was played through only for Eogan MacManus to stop him in his tracks. Dunkineely didn’t have to wait long however as the next chance provided them with the equaliser.
A long through ball was chased down by Liam McShane who this time applied a quality finish under Eogan MacManuis. Dunkineely Celtic kicked on from there and should have taken the lead 5 minutes later when a fantastic solo run from Jack Boyle presented him an opportunity only for a wonderful block from Michael Roarty to deny a goal.
That block only delayed the inevitable as Paul Walsh picked up the ball 25 yards out before unleashing an unstoppable strike into the Drumbar net to give Dunkineely the lead.
Dunkineely could have doubled their advantage less than a minute later when Paul Walsh again tried his luck from range however only narrowly going over the crossbar. Drumbar started the second half with a renewed vigour and almost levelled the score in the 33rd minute when Eoghan Timoney created space in the box though couldn’t force a shot goal-wards. Drumbar were unlucky not to have equalised minutes later when a goalmouth scramble fell to Eoghan Timoney however pressure from the Dunkineely defence forced the miss.
Drumbar’s dominance showed in a four minute period midway through the second half when a brace from Jaden Mgbam gave them a 3-2 lead. Jaden’s first came from a precise through ball allowing the Drumbar striker to race on to finish confidently under the keeper. He added his second shortly after with a sublime first time strike from the edge of the Dunkineely Celtic box.
Drumbar could have wrapped up the game three minutes later when a poor clearance fell to Matthew Gallagher 12 yards out though he narrowly fired wide. Dunkineely salvaged an equaliser with 6 minutes remaining when the tireless Paul Walsh supplied Liam McShane who nipped in front of the keeper to tie the game for a third time and force extra time.
The first half of extra time offered little in the way of separating the scores as the best chance was created by Jared Harvey as his right wing run lead to a shot that went narrowly over the bar. As both sides tired towards the end the game grew more open as each team had their chance to claim victory.
It was Jaden Mgbam who supplied Drumbar with their best chance as he lobbed the keeper from distance however not managing to keep the effort on target.
Senan Gavigan had a chance to snatch a win for his side in the final minute but his 25 yard attempt sailed wide of the upright.
As neither side could be separated after 80 minutes of open play the penalty shout-out was where the ale would be decided. It went all the way to sudden death before Drumbar’s sixth penalty was saved by stand-in keeper Liam McShane to give Dunkineely Celtic the Shield title.