Mighty Magpies secure historic shoot-out victory
NEWTOWN advanced to the final of the West Wicklow Cup and a date with Dunlavin after defeating Éire Óg in a terrific game at Kilcoole.
The game ended in the dreaded penalty shoot-out, a first in Wicklow, with Newtown goalkeeper Denis Kellegher proving the hero as he saved all three Éire Óg spot kicks.
Danny Woods opened the scoring with a super long-range point; however, the first 20 minutes were very even with the next four points traded to leave the Greystones men a point to the good.
The game ignited at this stage triggered by a Newtown goal. A long accurate ball from Conor Odlum allowed dangerman Dean Odlum space to drill low and hard past Billy Norman to the Éire Óg net.
It spurred the Greystones men on as they kicked three points on the trot with Shaun Cranley providing them all. The pick of which was one where he battled mightily to gain possession and without looking clipped the ball over.
On the stroke of half-time, Dean Odlum tied the scores up after Declan Doyle had found him in space
The second half continued at a super pace. Ross Davis who was excellent throughout got a free to start the scoring before Cranley replied. Newtown wing back Lee Turner strode forward to put the Magpies in front again before David Rooney launched a free off his magical left foot to tie it up again.
It stayed like this for the next few minutes score for score before Newtown got the upper hand. Davis got two more frees before Dean Odlum got in on goal his rocket of a shot beat Norman but cannoned off the crossbar, the ball rebounded to county man Mark Fitzsimons and with the bar still rattling he tapped a ball over for a three-point lead.
Éire Óg showed great tenacity to come back. Cranley pointed a free, his brother James Cranley pointed an audacious point from a ridiculous angle and Shaun Cranley with another free tied it up.
Once more Newtown replied. Fitzsimons won the kick out and he spotted Turner galloping up the line with the wing back driving straight at the goal before scything a ball over.
With two minutes to go Éire Óg worked a free and centre back Rooney tied it up again with a well struck left footed effort.
That was the last score before referee Darragh Byrne blew the full-time whistle and off to extra-time we went.
Shane Mooney showed his leadership to trundle up from centre back and clip a good score for the Magpies. Sean Gregory got a great point to extend the lead when he jinked by his man and landed a bomb. Again, Éire Óg turned to Cranley and the former Minor star was up to the task, hitting a 45 before getting a superb score from the right wing after Gavin O’Shea had done the donkey work.
Four minutes into the second period of extra-time, Éire Óg took the lead for the first time since the 25th minute when Gavin O’Shea lobbed an effort over from out on the left flank.
Davis replied to level it again. With time running out, Rooney from centre back thought he had clipped the winning score, however, in injury time of extra-time Newtown got the equalising score to force us into penalties.
Éire Óg felt it was a harsh free and with goalkeeper Billy Norman arguing a little too vigorously, referee Byrne black carded him. Matt Maguire stepped in between the sticks for the shootout and was unfortunate not to save one, getting a hand to Conor Odlum’s effort. However, Kellegher was a brick wall, shutting out Danny Woods, Shaun Cranley and David Rooney.
An excellent game. Éire Óg will be disappointed to lose, however it’s a game that will stand to them come championship with Dan Keane to come back too. Darren Hayden and Gavin O’Shea played well for them.
Newtown have improved so much since last year and have another league final to look forward to. Ross Davis, Fitzsimons and obviously Kellegher stood out for them. Man of the match was Cranley. Even though on a losing side, the quantity and quality of his scores were excellent. For a player so young he showed a cool head. Definitely one to watch for the championship.
Scorers - Newtown: Ross Davis 0-7, Dean Odlum 1-1, Sean Heffernan 0-2, Lee Turner 0-2, Sean Gregory 0-1, Mark Fitzsimons 0-1, Shane Mooney 0-1.
Éire Óg: Shaun Cranley 0-9, David Rooney 0-4, Darren Hayden 0-2, Danny Woods 0-1, James Cranley 0-1, Gavin O’Shea 0-1.
Action from the Dunlavin v. Newtown West Wicklow Cup final in Aughrim on Monday evening.