Clane United seniors advance to Lumsden Cup Final

Clane United met near neighbours Coil Dubh in the semi final of the Lumsden Cup on a surprisingly sunny Sunday afternoon. Hosts Allenwood did an outstanding job in ensuring the game went ahead in somewhat heavy conditions but the thoroughbreds on show from both sides served up a very entertaining game for the large crowd in attendance.

 Clane started brightly with Ciaran Kelly and Cillian Patchell dominating the middle of the park but it was Coil Dubh who first threatened the goal with a free kick from the left causing a few nervous moments before Mark Kelly took charge and restored calm.  Clane then had a period of domination as Dean Comiskey and Eoghan Maguire made life difficult for the Coil Dubh defence by alternatively dropping deep and stretching the pitch to open valuable space with Maguire going close in the 20th minute from a Clane corner to shoot narrowly over the crossbar. As the match progressed a pattern developed with Clane dominating possession but Coil Dubh dangerous on the break. On 30 minutes Coil Dubh forced the first save in anger when Sean Brennan in the Clane goal pressed into action from outside his area. As Cathal Geoghegan began to influence the game more and more the Coil Dubh defence were happy to scramble away a number of chances as Maguire and Comiskey continued to cause them problems. A 0-0 score line at HT fails to tell the story of an entertaining half.

Clane were forced into a change at half time with Stephen Leavy replacing Ciaran Kelly following a knee injury. Clane continued on the front foot making it very difficult for their neighbours to gain any foothold in the game. Rare forays into the clane half were mopped up by a dominant Jack Kelly and Gavin Dwyer at the heart of the Clane defence.  Clane made the breakthrough their displayed deserved on 53 minutes when Patchell played the ball to Comiskey who deftly played the ball into the path of Geoghegan 25 yards out. The resultant strike flew past the Coil Dubh netminder giving him no chance. From the restart Coil Dubh found new resolve and pushed Clane’s defence further and further back.  16 year Noah Byrne was pressed into the middle of the park and produced a display beyond his years as Coil Dubh pressed for an equaliser. On what must be a first for the Lumsden Cup Noel was joined by his father Noel as Clane manfully stood up to anything thrown at them. 

 Despite being pushed back into a defensive formation Clane looked vert threatening on the the break. On 76 minutes Geoghegan once again proved his worth by stealing a ball in the middle of the park. His pass freed Maguire on the left and as he took the ball around the keeper an errant foot took him down – the referee pointed to the spot with no arguments from Coil Dubh on this occasion. Veteran Clane stalwart Stephen Dunne capped a fine performance by smashing the spot kick to the keepers right to put Clane 2-0 up. The remaining 15 minutes saw Coil Dubh press to get back into the game without overly troubling Brennan in the Clane goal. As full time blew Clane celebrated a well deserved 2-0 victory and now look forward to a final with league champions Clonmullion next Sunday.

 Stars among an array of fine performers for Clane were Jack Kelly, Stephen Dunne with Cathal Geoghegan MOTM

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