LIFFEY Valley Rangers got their hands on the Wally Winn Cup last Sunday, with a 2-1 win over Tallaght side Belgard Athletic.
Paddy Fallon was the hero for Rangers, who have a reputation as an impressive cup outfit. Fallon scored a brace through a penalty and a headed winner.
His opener came after Rangers dominated early proceedings, with the west Dublin club clearly up for their season defining match. Early pressure eventually led to Connor Doherty being pulled down in the box, allowing Fallon to stick away the opening goal from the penalty spot and give Rangers an early edge.
“Belgard are a good side, and we knew it wouldn’t be simple”, Rangers’ Dean Forte said. “They had a great chance that they probably should have scored from, but our keeper made a great save. Though we dominated the first half, we were probably a bit lucky to make it in a goal up.”
Belgard came out stronger, keeping hold of the ball and pushing Rangers back with some strong technical football.
The Tallaght side were struggling to create clear cut chances until the 65th minute, though, when a long ball was misjudged by the Rangers centre half to allow Belgard’s winger through to chip in the equaliser.
That was as good as it got for Belgard, with Fallon tucking in an 80th minute header from a top cross, a breakthrough in a tight contest that was to prove crucial.
As is so often the case in cup games, the game ended with heavy pressure for an equaliser. Belgard began to ping balls into the Rangers’ box, not least a dying seconds corner well punched clear by the Rangers’ keeper to put the tie to bed.
“We saw out about eight minutes of injury time that seemed like about twenty”, Forte said. “Our defence in the last ten minutes was amazing. It was an all hands to the pump, backs to the wall job. Everything that came in we got rid of, and everything that was near the keeper, he caught.”
The cup has been the Liffey Valley side’s main focus since midway through this season, when it became clear that promotion from the LSL second tier wasn’t going to come in 2014/2015. Their future ambitions are still substantial, however.
The Clondalkin side also made the quarter final of the Leinster Senior Cup earlier this year, an impressive achievement for a Division 2 side.
“Next year we’ll be going for everything, league and retaining the cup.” Forte told GazetteSport, “we feel like we’re capable of it.”