|May 06 - 96s, 95s and 94s Take Part in Cork International Tournament|
Sat and Sunday, May 27th and 28th: 92s, 94s, 95s and 96s all took part in in the Cork International Tournament held in the Farm, Bishopstown. The 96s and 94s emerged as champions of their groups.
If Carlsberg did cup finals .... they couldn't have written a better script than this one. This was the 96s second visit to the Cork International Cup having won the U8 title last year. Blarney had come through the group stages without conceding a goal. On Saturday they began the tournament with a 2:0 win over St. Francis B from Dublin. The second match saw Blarney battle through to a close fought 1:0 victory over Bridge Blues from Manchester. The third game of the day saw Blarney beat Leeds B 5:0.
Sunday began with the last group game against Beach Park. Blarney began as they had finished on Saturday with strong attacking football resulting in a 5:0 victory. Steven Sheedy and Cillian Geaney provided a solid defence, David Murray, Sean O'Donoghue and Jack Charrington provided pace and great attacking football in midfield with Ray Murray as the lone striker. The semi-final saw Blarney playing a strong St. Francis A team from Dublin. The match finished scoreless after extra time and was decided on penalties. The Blarney players took their penalties with great confidence and scores from Ray Murray, Aaron O'Raw, Peter Worth, Sean O'Donoghue and Jack Charrington meant that St. Francis had to score their final penalty to stay in the competition. Once again Blarney's gifted goalkeeper, Luke Conroy, performed magnificently and his outstanding stop took his team into the final of this tournament for the second year in a row. Leeds were through to the final having come through their group stages with ease. They took the lead in the first half with a well taken goal by their number 12. Blarneys solid defence of Dylan Lennihan and Sean Hickey responded brilliantly and contributed well to Blarney's attacking response to going one down. Dylan was unlucky not to break the deadlock when his well - executed volley struck the crossbar from the edge of the box. Sean Hickeys pace was used to great effect in breaking down a number of probing runs by the Leeds number 12 and 14. Blarney took the game to Leeds but failed to get the equaliser. With 2 minutes of normal time remaining, Blarney were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal at the right hand touchline. David Murray was brought on from the bench to take the kick. His perfectly executed left foot strike curled the ball into the top left corner of the Leeds net bringing Blarney level to roars of approval from the great support that had now gathered. The parents and friends of the 96 squad had now been joined by the St Francis team from Dublin and Bridge from the UK to enjoy this closely fought game. Blarney's 94 squad, who had just won their section, added to the support along with the 95 squad who were due to start playing in the afternoon.
The atmosphere was electric. The match went to extra time and both teams were beginning to show signs of fatigue after a hectic weekend of competition. The first period ended without a breakthrough and looked certain to be heading for a repeat of the penalty shootout that occurred at this same venue this time last year. With less than a minute remaining Blarney got the winner. Luke Conroy found Aaron O'Raw on his favourite right wing and with a quick look up and 2 touches he let rip with a cracker of a shot from about 30 yards out. The ball beat the Leeds keeper before dipping below the bar into the top left corner. The entire Blarney invaded the pitch and formed a massive pile of bodies on top of the winning team.
It was a well deserved victory for this young team who always continue to fight to the very end. The visiting teams commented on the quality of football played by both sides. It was a great finale to a memorable weekend for Blarney United.
Blarney United 96s A Squad: Luke Conroy, Sean Hickey, Cillian Geaney, Dylan Lennihan, Ray Murray, David Murray, Sean O'Donoghue, Aaron O'Raw, Peter Worth, Jack Charrington, Steven Sheedy.
Coaches: Dermot Sheedy, Ron Worth, John Conroy, Anne Hickey
Manager: Mark O'Raw.
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