Sheriff line up Kilbarrack

by Gazette Reporter

IT IS the draw everyone in the hat would have wanted to happen apart from the two teams involved.
When Kilbarrack United were pulled out for a home tie in the FAI Junior Cup quarter-final draw in the Aviva Stadium on Monday evening, there were three possibilities.
St Peter’s of Athlone, Rivervalley Rangers of Swords and AUL Premier B, or Sheriff YC. When the latter was pulled out, there were some nervous gasps and laughs from the crowd.
The sides know virtually everything about each other there is to know. Sheriff beat United in back-to-back Junior Cup finals in 2012 and 2013, and have pipped to the Premier A title every year in recent times.
Reflecting on the draw was former League of Ireland player Alan Cawley, who is an ambassador for the competition, gave his take on the tie.
“We all know Sheriff vs Kilbarrack is the big one,” said the former UCD, Shelbourne and St Pat’s midfielder. “It’s an absolute whopper of a tie, a repeat of the 2013 final.
Kilbarrack will feel they have unfinished business and will want a bit of revenge. It’s a massive tie with the two favourites against each other.
“The so-called outsiders will be delighted with it,” added Cawley. “One of the so-called big teams will go out of the tournament.”
The 2012 final was the last one not to be played at the Aviva Stadium, which is where, once again, one of these sides will look to be at the start of the summer. Played at Tolka Park, Sean Murphy had the docklands club ahead at half-time when he finished a lovely move with right-footed strike.
John Rock, a constant thorn in Kilbarrack’s side over the years doubled Sheriff’s lead on 75 minutes with a fine volley. Jon Meleady pulled one back for United soon after before Rock grabbed his second and Sheriff’s third with a stunning long-range strike to give the club their first ever Junior Cup trophy.
A year later, the sides met again, this time in very-different surroundings on a glorious day at the Aviva Stadium.
Both goalkeepers proved to be the standout performers in this one, as Sheriff’s Lee Murphy and Kilbarrack’s Mark Hatton saved everything that came their way over 120 minutes.
On 52 minutes, Sheriff defender David Browne was dismissed for bringing down Mark Townley while last-man.
Kilbarrack were then giving another chance to seize the initiative on 70 minutes when the referee awarded a penalty for a supposed stamp on Mark Geraghty. Goalscorer from the previous year, Meleady stepped up but dragged his spot-kick wide.
That was the last big chance of normal time and extra-time meaning penalties were needed. Meleady went first and missed again; Sheriff successfully scored their first four, as did United with their next three.
It all came down to Keith Dunne vs Hatton and it was the Sheriff man who came out on top to earn the club their second FAI Junior Cup.
Whoever wins this year’s edition will no doubt be favourites for the 2015-16 crown.

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