Cup heartbreak for Firhouse

IT WAS heartbreak for Firhouse Clover as they lost out 4-1 to Maynooth University town after extra time in the FAI New Balance Intermediate Cup decider in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Keith Baker’s side were just three minutes way from lifting the prize after Carl Forsyth had fired them in front in the second period.


Michael Devine of Firhouse Clover

But Darragh Reynor served up a dramatic leveller for Maynooth in the 92nd minute, subsequently forcing extra time.

And given that Firhouse had been reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Michael McLoughlin, the Tallaght side was not well equipped to meet the demands of added time.

And it told, as goals from substitutes Tommy Illunga and Youseff Belhout left them eating dust and powered Maynooth to their first ever Intermediate Cup.

“Emotions were running high after the match,” said Firhouse boss Baker.

“Some of those players won’t get an opportunity to player there again and to be just three minutes away from lifting the cup and then to lose, it was hard to take.

“But if I’m being honest about it, the better team won on the day.

“We didn’t underestimate them. They’re a young fit side with quality players on the bench and that showed.

Stage fright

“I thought in the first half we were really poor. Maybe of couple of players had stage fright and a couple of the bigger players just didn’t perform.

“We just never got going, but the second half was a bit more even.

“I don’t think it was a case that they owed us one [after Firhouse’s victory over Maynooth in the Metro Cup earlier in the season].

“I think we knew they’d have six or seven new faces in the side and we’d have five or six new players ourselves.

“They [Maynooth] were confident, and they had every right to be. They were well organised, well managed and they played well.”

Still Baker remained very upbeat about his team’s aspirations, insisting “Nothing has changed for us. We still want to be there challenging for everything.

“We’re on the up. We’ve a young management team and a young side. About six or seven players last weekend are under 22. I’m 29 and my assistant manager is 34.

“It was heartbreaking to lose the final, but I couldn’t be prouder of the team. We had so many ins and outs at the start of last year.

“We said that this is a three year project and for the players to really believe in it and get us all the way to an Intermediate Cup Final is just brilliant.

“Right now we just want to win our last few games in the league, finish in the top four and get into the Leinster Senior Cup,” he said.

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