Ringmahon Rangers 2 Killester/Donycarney 3
RINGMAHON'S FAI Intermediate Cup dream ended in Ringmahon Park on Saturday when they lost their semi-final to Leinster Senior League side Killester/Donnycarny.
Ringmahon gave themselves a mountain to climb after they fell 3-0 down in the first half, and although they pulled one back before the break, and despite a late onslaught which produced a second in injury-time and almost an equaliser, they just came up short.
The early exchanges were even enough as both sides tried to size each other up. Killester had a lot of the ball, particularly in the wide areas where Cian McMullen was causing a few problems on the right.
Ringmahon had the first effort on goal after 10 minutes when Darren Murphy spread the ball from left to right, finding Pa O'Brien in space, but the Ringmahon wide drove his shot across the box and wide at the far post.
However, Ringmahon fell behind in the 13th minute when a McMullen cross found Josh Scully unmarked in the box and he drove the ball past goalkeeper Eric Grimes.
Things went from bad to worse for Ringmaon three minutes later when the visitors scored again. Following a corner by Killester skipper Stephen Chambers, Grimes didn't get enough on his punched clearance and the ball fell to Stephen Nolan 30 yards out and he cracked it home.
Ringmahon had it all to do now and they almost had an immediate response when Anthony McAalvey tried an ambitious lob from just outside the centre circle which had keeper Evan Whelan scrambling back before tipping the ball away for a corner.
Ringmahon pushed hard to get back into the game and Dean Swords forced Whelan to make a fine save for a corner on the half-hour mark.
Seconds later Ringmahon sprung Roy Long from the bench, replacing Jason Forde, in a tactical move that saw them go to three at the back with Danny Long pushing up alongside Swords.
Things got worse for Ringmahon though seven minutes later.
Left full-back Reece McEnteer won the ball in his own half, released Scully before scampering forward on the overlap to receive the return. His cross again wasn't dealt with and McMullen scored with a tidy finish at the back post.
There appeared to be no way back for Ringmahon, but they were given a lifeline two minutes before half-time when Jack Cairns hit a thunderbolt from over 35 yards that crept under the crossbar.
Ringmahon needed another goal early in the second half and they pressed hard to reduce the gap.
Whelan made a fine save at his near post from Cairns and McAlavey had a shot blocked in the box, both efforts coming in the opening five minutes.
Roy Long then had a header go over following a McAlavey free, but Killester weathered that Ringmahon storm and almost increased their lead when McMullen forced Grimes to bat the ball away with a shot on the right of the area.
Long had another header from a McAlavey corner go inches over, but Ringmahon were prone to the counter-attack and McMullen was in again on the 75th minute only to be denied by Grimes closing him down and Anthony O'Donnell cleared the ball off the line.
With 10 minutes remaining Ringmahon brought on defender Alan Higgins for O'Brien and pushed him up front.
That left them further exposed and Killester sub John Brophy almost made it 4-1, but Grimes saved for a corner.
Ringmahon rained high balls into the box and they won most of them, but the breaking ball evaded them.
A Higgins header was saved by Whelan who also blocked what looked like a certain McAlavey goal and while Danny Long crashed the ball home in injury time, it was too little too late for the home side.
Killester will face St Mochta's, 1-0 winners over Malahide United on Friday, in the final.
RINGMAHON RANGERS: Eric Grimes, Philly Keane, Jason Forde, Anthony O'Donnell, Cian Kingston, Darren Murphy, Jack Cairns, Anthony McAlavey, Dean Swords, Danny Long, Pa O'Brien.
Subs: Roy Long for Forde (30), Roy Kenny for Murphy (62), Jason Dunphy for Cairns (71), Alan Higgins for O'Brien (80), Anthony Wolfe for O'Donnell (90).
KILLESTER/DONNYCARNEY: Evan Whelan, Sean Rogers, Reece McEnteer, Terry McCauley, Brendan Lee, Stephen Nolan, Mark Ryan, Stephen Chambers, Eoin Fowler, Josh Scully, Cian McMullen.
Subs: John Brophy for McMullen (70 ) Gary Kenny for McMullen (inj-time).
Referee: Eddie McNally, Jonathan Hennessy, Paul Braganza.