Collinstown added another chapter to their growing reputation as cup giantkillers as they saw of St Mochta’s away from home to reach the first round of the FAI Cup for the first time ever.
The Neilstown club – who only formed 12 years ago – already have high-profile cup wins over Shamrock Rovers and Bray Wanderers in their short histories.
To that list they can now add St Mochta’s after Ian McNeill’s first-half goal led them to a historic victory over the 2016/17 Leinster Senior League champions.
The LSL Sunday Senior 1B side belied their position three leagues below Mochta’s, taking the game to the Blanch side on their own turf and defending stoutly as Mochta’s pressed for a leveller.
The home side had the better of the early chances as David Somers headed across goal and Mick Daly volleyed narrowly wide, but it was Collinstown who took the lead just before the half-hour.
Mochta’s had already had a let off moments earlier when Dean Carpenter’s whipped free kick was centimetres away from connecting with an attacking player at the back post.
It was a moment of class from the winger that opened the tie up as took Dano Matthews’ pass, cut in on his weaker right foot and curled the ball into the bottom corner of Craig Hyland’s net.
Hyland must have been left wondering quite what Collinstown have against him – the firefighter was between the sticks four years ago when they beat Rovers in the Leinster Senior Cup in Tallaght.
If Hyland was unsighted for the goal, he was on top form to deny striker Gerard Shortt’s chance, batting away a volley that surely would have settled the tie.
Collinstown sat back and invited Mochta’s to break them down, but it was the home side’s discipline that deserted them when Dean Kelly was shown two yellow cards in succession in injury time.
“We matched them all around the pitch and there was nothing between the two sides,” a delighted Collinstown boss Kevin Carroll told the Dublin Gazette.
“If a neutral person had been watching the game they would have thought we were the senior side. We took the game to them.
“We were strong down both channels because they were sort of playing a narrow three. There was a lot of space down by their two full-backs that we exploited in the first half.”
Collinstown will have to wait until July to find out their opponents in the next round. In the meantime, they’re seven points off the final promotion place with two games in hand.
Carroll fully expects them to achieve their third successive promotion, but there’s something extra special about a cup game that will have them looking forward to the summer.
“There’s that little buzz that goes around when we enter cup competitions, especially against big teams. When we play a big team on a good pitch we usually rise to the occasion.”