Killavilla On Double Trail As Tullamore Lose Thriller

Tullamore Town 2. Killavilla Utd 3.

LEAGUE champions Killavilla advanced to the CCFL Under 17 Cup final with this thrilling win over Tullamore in Portlaoise last Saturday.

Town were first to threaten when Gareth Byrne picked out Alan Geoghegan and his fine effort was tipped around the post by Stephen Byrne and then Derek Walsh knocked the ball on to Declan Cuskelly and his brilliant volley was somehow kept out by Byrne down low to his right.

As Killavilla hit back, Sibtain Haider did well to keep out a Daniel Butler effort while at the other end Byrne and Walsh combined to set up Cuskelly, but he fired over.

With David Doyle, Ken Hogan, Kevin Fletcher and Matthew Kilroe holding firm at the back and Alan Geoghegan working tirelessly in midfield play continued to ebb and flow as Butler again brought a fine save from Haider and then Hogan picked out Declan Cuskelly on the right and his deep cross found Gareth Byrne, but his header was scrambled clear.
United nearly broke the deadlock on thirty minutes when Daniel Butler knocked the ball over Haider, but David Doyle got back to clear from under his crossbar and then Robbie Ryan played in Fergal Flanagan, but he fired wide when well placed as the referee brought the first half to a conclusion.

On the resumption Tullamore went on the attack and within five minutes had hit the front.
Derek Walsh picked out Gareth Byrne and his cross was knocked behind and, from the resultant corner Alan Geoghegan flashed a brilliant header into the back of the net.

Killavilla immediately threw everything into attack with Daniel Butler racing clear and Sibtain Haider saving superbly at his feet and then Butler found Fergal Flanagan, but they were again denied by an amazing double save from Haider.
As Town hit back, Gareth Byrne swept in a dangerous cross that was fired over by Declan Cuskelly while at the other end David Doyle did well to charge down a Butler effort.

With an hour gone United equalised when, following a corner, Jamie Coleman rose above the defence to head home.
As they went in search of the lead Alan Heffernan did well to block a goal bound effort from Flanagan and then, with sixty five minutes gone, Tullamore struck again.

Eoghan Coffey picked out Declan Cuskelly on the left and, when Stephen Byrne failed to hold his deep cross, Derek Walsh pounced to send his header into the back of the net to put his side back in front.

Killavilla responded like true champions when Daniel Butler won possession out wide on the right and fired a superb shot into the top left hand corner to once again level this thrilling cup tie.

With seventy minutes on the clock United hit the front for the first time in somewhat controversial circumstances.
Sibtain Haider brilliantly blocked a Butler effort and, as he lay injured in the goalmouth, Brian Maloney fired the loose ball into the unguarded net.

Despite the Tullamore players’ protestations the score stood, with Derek Walsh taking over in goal and Declan O’Neill coming on in attack.

As Killavilla went all out to kill the game off, Walsh twice saved superbly from Fergal Flanagan and Ian McCarthy but, with minutes remaining, Town thought they had equalised.

Alan Geoghegan threaded a defence splitting pass through to Declan Cuskelly in the inside left channel and the big centre-forward crashed the ball into the roof of the net only to be called back for off-side as Killavilla ran out deserving winners of this pulsating cup semi-final.

Played in a wonderful spirit, this was a game that was a credit to both the League and these two fine sides.
For Tullamore there were excellent contributions from Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Matthew Kilroe, Alan Geoghegan and Derek Walsh with Brian Maloney, Fergal Flanagan, Robbie Ryan and Daniel Butler the pick of the Killavilla boys, but the man of the match award went to Tullamore’s outstanding goalkeeper, Sibtain Haider.

Tullamore: Sibtain Haider; David Doyle, Kevin Fletcher, Ken Hogan, Matthew Kilroe, Eoghan Coffey, Alan Geoghegan, Alan Heffernan, Gareth Byrne, Derek Walsh, Declan Cuskelly. Subs: Declan O’Neill, Aaron McDermott, Austin Davis and David Geraghty.