Irish Cup Qualifier.
Killyleagh YC 2 Crumlin Star 3
Treble champions Crumlin Star escaped a potential giant-killing as they knocked Killyleagh out of the Irish Cup at The Showgrounds on Saturday writes Chris Hagan.
The clash between the side at the top of the Premier Section and the team at the top of Division 1A in the second round of the cup ended as expected but Killyleagh pushed the champions all the way.
Star absolutely blitzed Killyleagh in the opening 15 minutes and it took an outstanding save from the YC’s Aaron Carberry to keep the scores level.
But Killyleagh refused to buckle and they started to create their own openings. They thought they were in on goal after good work from Keegan Rice only for the ref to rule Jack Sharvin was offside.
Macauley Foster, John Murray and Niall Walsh were holding firm at the back, and with the midfield getting through a lot of work, Paul Sharvin’s side got their reward before the interval to take the lead.
Jack Sharvin’s goalbound effort was misjudged by Star keeper Ciaran McNeill and Adam Neale followed up to make it 1-0 with his 14th goal of the season.
After the break, though, Star showed just how champions are made. At times it was just like watching the Killyleagh teams of old as they punished the YC to the full to firstly equalise and then stretch the lead to 3-1 within the space of 11 disastrous minutes for Killyleagh.
Firstly the home side failed to check left back Aidan McNeill’s run from his own half in the 52nd minute, and after exchanging passes, he stroked the ball past Carberry for a super goal for Crumlin but a goal which will surely disappoint YC manager Sharvin for its execution.
Jon Joe Sharvin had a good chance soon afterwards to put Killyleagh back in front but he hit the side netting and then Star’s Barry McKervey missed an even better chance at the opposite end, skying his shot after some great build up play from the visitors. Jack Sharvin was next up with a half-chance for Killyleagh.
Crumlin scored their second goal in an 11 minute period in the 58th minute and once again it was Chimes who stroked the ball home, as Killyleagh were left chasing McNeill’s shadow in midfield.
Killyleagh hit back and a superb move involving Neale and Jack Sharvin ended with Jamie Sharvin shooting wide, and then McNeill redeemed himself by quickly dashing off his line to thwart Jack Shavin.
The outstanding Joe McNeill was starting to dominate proceedings in central midfield and he sliced Killyleagh open for McKervey to pick up Miguel Chimes to run between the two Killyleagh central defenders and head home in the 63rd minute.
The Showgrounds side were stunned by the rapid turnaround in fortunes but to their credit they hit back with another big chance falling to the raiding Jon Joe Sharvin and then Neale headed just wide.
They were thrown a lifeline when goalscorer Aidan McNeill was shown a straight red in the 81st minute for what the ref adjudged a two-footed tackle on Barry Treacey and within two minutes they had taken advantage when Jack Sharvin was fouled in the penalty area. He dusted himself down and drilled the ball home from the spot to make it 3-2.
Killyleagh went for it in the closing stages and in the dying seconds it looked like they had forced extra time when Tracey’s whipped corner was somehow kept out.
It is an indication of how Sharvin has rebuilt the YC in his 16 months in charge that he was disappointed at the end but he had star performers all over the pitch with Foster shading a number of players for Killyleagh’s man of the match including Walsh, McConnell, Treacey, Neale and Jack Sharvin.