Collinstown FC’s FAI Junior Cup dream was cruelly ended on Saturday night at the hands of Limerick side Ballynanty Rovers through the dreaded penalty shoot-out.
With the game level at a goal apiece after 90 minutes and extra-time, the lottery that is penalties was the only way to separate the two sides in Jackman Park, who gave everything throughout the tie.
Anthony McCormack’s first half opener for Town was cancelled out by David Dunphy on 75 minutes, before Rovers keeper Stephen McNamara pulled off heroics in the shoot-out with three outstanding saves.
In the aftermath of the game, GazetteSport caught up with Collinstown chairman Stuart Goodall to reflect on the game.
“Obviously, we are disappointed not to be going to the Aviva,” he said. “But our day will come, I have no doubt about that. We have gone out in the cruellest fashion possible but the players gave everything and more for the jersey as always, we just came up against a keeper who had one of those days.
“The journey we have been on in the competition is over for this year but with the massive support we received from our own supporters and also from all the other clubs, we will have many more big days out.”
Goodall himself gave a significant speech to the players prior to the game, hoping to inspire the win that would have taken them to the final in the Aviva stadium in May.
He told the players to give everything for the club, just like the clubmen did who passed away during the past year. Men like Mattie Carpenter, who Goodall recalled, reminded him to make sure the club lotto’s were in, even in his final days.
It proved not to be on the day, but Goodall reflected on how well the team have performed this season so far: “We sit in fourth in the AUL Premier A, we were beaten in the semi-finals of the biggest cup in junior football in Europe with the youngest squad in the league so it has been a good season. We have unbelievable young players in our squad and will strengthen in the summer, so the future is very bright for Collinstown FC.
“I just want to thank everyone who travelled to Limerick, the noise and atmosphere created will remain fondly in our hearts forever.”
In what will now be the first year in seven that this side does not land silverware, the challenge for Kevin Carroll’s squad for the closing stages of the season will be to cement that fourth-place spot, which will be a significant achievement, given their poor start to the first season in the AUL’s top league.