O'Regan gem sends Springfield past favourites Greenwood and into the Murphy Cup final

O'Regan gem sends Springfield past favourites Greenwood and into the Murphy Cup final

Springfield's PJ O'Reagan jumps clear as Greenwood keeper John Gould saves. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Greenwood 0 Springfield Ramblers A 1

SPRINGFIELD Ramblers A have progressed to the final of Cork Youth Leagues' Murphy Cup final as they narrowly beat Greenwood 1-0 at Mayfield Park on Saturday afternoon.

A stunning finish from PJ O’Regan in the first half was enough to see Springfield Ramblers second team at this age emerge victorious from an enthralling semi-final and book their place in the showpiece occasion. It was a stunning achievement for the underdogs to defeat a team from the division above them.

Greenwood are currently leading a fiercely contested title race in the Daly Industrial Supplies U18 Premier League as they are a point clear at the top just ahead of Carrigaline United who have played a game less. They started the game the better side as they created numerous goal-scoring opportunities inside the opening minutes.

In fact, their first effort on goal came from the kick-off but Darragh Callanan’s confidence wasn’t rewarded as his shot from the halfway line drifted wide of the target.

The favourites again looked dangerous in the third minute as Kian Pender looked to have sent Callanan through on goal with a precise defence-splitting pass but the striker’s first touch was heavy and allowed goalkeeper Jamie Bates to gather safely.

His strike partner Jamie Lenihan charged into the penalty area moments later but his powerful shot was well saved by Bates, who brilliantly tipped it around his near post.

Springfield Ramblers are top of the U18 League 1 and they were never overawed here.

Just shy of the quarter of an hour mark, they took the lead against the run of play thanks to an incredible finish from O’Regan. The Ramblers number 10 raced onto a brilliant pass over the top from Darragh Healen before expertly lobbing the ball over the advancing shot stopper and into the back of his net.

This match was originally set to be played on Greenwood’s pitch but due to the terrible weather conditions over the weekend a decision was made to switch it to Mayfield United’s excellent all-weather surface.

The home side for this tie responded well to that set back as continued to play some great football but they struggled to break through Springfield’s stubborn defence.

They produced an incisive move midway through the first half when Jamie Lenihan’s pass between the lines found Ryan Long and his square ball sent Callanan in on goal but again his touch let him down and allowed the Rambler’s netminder to collect the loose ball.

O'Regan went close to doubling Springfield’s lead with another sensational effort but on this occasion, his half volley from the edge of the box drifted wide of the bottom left corner.

Greenwood finished the first half strongly but they remained behind at interval as fullbacks Adam Grainger and Adam Bruton both sent long-range shots wide of the target.

They almost levelled the scores shortly after the half time break but Fionn Kelly’s shot from a decent position was well saved by Bates.

Ramblers always looked dangerous on the break and moments after Colin Lane sailed the ball well over the bar from distance he thought he had doubled their advantage but his celebrations were cut short as the linesman signalled for offside.

With the game drawing towards a conclusion, Greenwood began to pile players forward as they desperately looked for a goal that would force the game into extra time.

Springfield Ramblers A's Ciarán Griffen wins the ball against Greenwood's Adam Cronin. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Springfield Ramblers A's Ciarán Griffen wins the ball against Greenwood's Adam Cronin. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The lively Jamie Lenihan twice failed to test the keeper with decent hits before they squandered their best opportunity deep into injury time.

Substitute Oyemen Ayere and Fionn Kelly appeared to get in each other’s way as they looked to finish Darragh Callanan’s header across goal and instead the ball dropped wide as Springfield hung on to reach the final.

GREENWOOD: John Gould, Adam Bruton, Adam Grainger, Adam Cronin, Daniel O'Sullivan, Cathal Crowley, Kian Pender, Fionn Kelly, Darragh Callanan, Jamie Lenihan, Ryan Long.

Subs: Oyemen Ayere for Kian Pender (53), Jake Hourihan for Ryan Long (73), Joseph Higgins for Adam Cronin (87).

SPRINGFIELD RAMBLERS A: Jamie Bates, Luke Hamilton, Roland Nsubuga, Diarmuid Kearney, Kieran Allen, Jamie Kelly, Morgan Dillon Hilton, Colin Lane, Ciaran Griffin, PJ O'Regan, Darragh Healen.

Subs: NONE.

Referee: Christopher Sheehan.

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