JAKE Donnelly is enjoying his newfound Twitter fame after scoring a spectacular injury-time winner for Crumlin United in their Intermediate Cup semi-final win over holders Maynooth University Town.
It gives Martin Loughran’s side another final to look forward to, this time in Aviva, having already sealed a place in Sunday’s Charlie Cahill Cup final against Malahide United.
The LSL Sunday Senior leaders looked, at one point, to be on course for their first defeat of the season in NUI Maynooth before late goals from Craig Walsh and Donnelly turned the tie on its head.
The Kildare side had twice taken the lead through Daniel Burke and Conor Foley, either side of a Conor Murphy equaliser, but the defending champions bowed out courtesy of Donnelly’s dramatic late volley.
Videos of the goal have been viewed thousands of times on social media sites but Stephen’s Green native Donnelly says that, while it might have been the most important, it wasn’t even the best goal scored in the game.
“To be honest, I’ve never felt anything like it,” Donnelly tells the Dublin Gazette of his dramatic winner.
“When you’re hoping, you’re just looking at the ball and thinking ‘Jesus, I’d love a ball to drop to me in the last minute of the game.’
“You never dream it’s going to drop to you in the last minute of an Intermediate Cup semi-final. My Twitter blew up after the game, and then they put up the video and it’s all over the place.
“I only said to one of the lads, it’s not fair on Conor because everyone was like ‘Jake, well done.’ Conor’s was better than mine but my goal, in the circumstances, was probably a bigger goal.”
Maynooth took the lead after just six minutes when Gary Daly’s cross from deep was missed by the defenders and Burke was on hand to slide home at the back post.
Crumlin were back on terms shortly after as striker Murphy took the ball to the edge of the box before cracking a shot across the goalkeeper and in off the underside of the bar.
The holders were back in front after the break when striker Foley won the ball in midfield and unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner.
The visitors responded 13 minutes from time, breaking quickly from a corner and Walsh used his pace to eke out the space before slotting the ball nicely into the far corner.
A replay back in Crumlin looked to be on the cards but Donnelly had other ideas, acrobatically volleying into the top corner to set up a final date in May with Cork’s Avondale United.
“People say you should beat them, they’re in a lower league and this stuff, but they’re Intermediate Cup champions and we’re going down to play them in their ground.
“We knew it was going to be tough going down. It was probably tougher than we expected. The difference between this year and last year is we’re digging out results when we’re not playing well.
“The belief is there that, even if we’re not playing well, we never give up.”