Pike Rovers 1 - 1 Janesboro (Pike won 5-4 on pens aet)
Pike Rovers retained their Munster Junior Cup title in dramatic fashion at a packed Jackman Park on Friday evening edging out arch rivals Janesboro in a penalty shoot out after the sides finished 1-1.
It was a story of courage for the Hoops. Courage to pick themselves up from last weekend's devastating defeat in the FAI final. Courage to take the field without three of their star players following injury and ineligibility.
It took courage to bounce back from a harshly awarded opening goal for 'Boro and it was courage personified as Colin Daly, who missed from the spot last weekend, stepped up to blast home a crucial goal in the shoot out.
Janesboro's never rose to the level they've been at all season and their front runners for once were well marshalled by the opposition.
Steven McGann deservedly picked up the man of the match award but there were many who could also lay claim to the prize. Centre backs Pat Mullins and Darragh Carroll were excellent. Wayne O'Donovan had a superb outing while Colin Daly continued on from where he left off last week. That said one to eleven Pike knew their job and worked tirelessly to achieve their goal.
As usual with Janesboro, Thomas Clarke was a tower of strength at the back. Alongside him Steven Bradley was up for the battle with Niall Hanley most prominent in the middle of the park.
A tension packed opening saw both teams struggle to create a chance of note. The first real attempt on goal was a Paddy O'Malley header from Wayne O'Donovan's cross that hit the side netting on 20 minutes.
A minute later 'Boro were awarded a free kick on the right. John Tierney floated a ball into the area. Shane Clarke won the header but Gary Neville gathered cleanly before being bundled into the net. The Assistant Referee ruled the ball crossed the line and the Pike protests started.
To their credit Mike Shiel's men got on with the job at hand and went close to an equaliser when Cian Collins wormed his way in along the end line to be denied by the legs of 'Boro keeper John Mulready.
Just before the break Pike got back on level terms with a superb goal. Heavily involved in the build up, Steven McGann traded passes with Cian Power and despite having five defenders between him and goal, he delicately curled a shot away from Mulready to the top corner.
Janesboro started the started the second half on the front foot. Arron Nunan crossed and Keith Mawdsley nearly sneaked in, stooping to head just wide of the front post before Shane Clarke fired narrowly over the top.
Adrian Power had a great chance to restore Boro's lead, when arriving at pace onto Aidan Hurley's knock down, but blasted wide of the goal.
A brave challenge by Pat Mullins denied Mike Ryan while a quick break from a Pike corner set up a cameo for Keith Mawdsley but just as the League's top scorer teed up to shoot, Darragh Carroll racing back, made a superb block to keep his goal safe.
As the game wore on Pike began to get on top and Colin Daly dinked an effort just too high of goal before extra time was called for.
In the opening period a goal line clearance from Eddie O'Donovan denied Thomas Clarke while his brother Wayne was spared blushed when Gary Neville produced his best save of the day to deny an own goal.
In the second period a dropping volley from O'Malley threatened and with time virtually up Cian Collins had a great chance when the ball fell to him 8 yards out but he volleyed to high and a penalty shoot out was needed to separate the sides.
Going to sudden death Gary Neville saved to give Paddy O'Malley the chance to win in for Pike and he duly obliged to begin the celebrations. See the penalties here:
Pike Rovers: Gary Neville; Wayne O'Donovan; Eddie O'Donovan; Pat Mullins; Darragh Carroll; Dave Ryan; Steve McGann; Colin Daly; Paddy O'Malley; Cian Collins; Cian Power. Subs: Jason Mullins; TJ O'Dwyer
Janesboro: John Mulready; Steven Bradley; Tom Clarke; Ryan O'Doherty; Arron Nunan; Niall Hanley; Aidan Hurley; John Tierney; Adrian Power; Shane Clarke; Keith Mawdsley. Subs: Mike Ryan; Danny O'Neill, Lee O'Mara
Match Stats - Courtesy of Turlough McNamara
Free Kicks 1st Half 2nd Half X-Time Total
Pike Rvs 8 12 2 22
Janesboro 16 10 2 28
Corners 1st Half 2nd Half X-Time Total
Pike Rvs 4 3 3 10
Janesboro 1 3 3 7
Shots on Target 1st Half 2nd Half X-Time Total
Pike Rvs 2 2 1 5
Janesboro 2 3 2 7
Shots off target 1st Half 2nd Half X-Time Total
Pike Rvs 4 3 3 10
Janesboro 1 2 1 4