IN the chartered history of Cork team’s involvement in the final of the FAI Intermediate Cup, no final drew finalists from so close a locality than that of southside neighbours Crofton Celtic and Everton, 35 years ago in 1985/86.
Cork teams had contested six of the eight finals before Crofton and Everton met at Turner’s Cross on Sunday, April 20, 1986.
Crofton were founded in 1948 by a group of enthusiastic 15 year-olds from around Magazine Road, namely Finbarr Golden, Cyril O’Carroll, Neil O’Connell and Pa O’Connor and derived the name Crofton from one of the popular comics of the time.
The club went on to play junior and senior football in the Youths, Cork AUL and Munster Senior Leagues and later in the MSL Over-35 Floodlit League.
Crofton won their first of two premier titles in 1978/79 as well as competing in the Munster and FAI Senior Cups.
Everton were formed 10 years later by Connie Long, Andy McCallum, Jerry O’Sullivan, Finbarr Connolly and Denis Lingwood. The club made a huge impact in schoolboy football in the '60s before establishing themselves in junior and senior football, winning their first MSL trophy, the Beamish Cup in 1973/74.
Before getting their Intermediate Cup runs underway, Everton entertained Crofton in the league on Sunday, September 22, 1985. Sean Murphy and Martin McCarthy netted for the visitors while Dave Noonan replied for the hosts.
In early November, Crofton hit Tipperary’s MSL representatives St Albies for four at Killeady in their Intermediate second round tie.
Ringmahon Rangers were outdone 2-1 in round three after a replay before Robbie Cuthbert struck the solitary winner in the quarter-final against Bluebell Utd on March 9, 1986.
Holders Ballyfermot United travelled to Turner’s Cross a week later for the semi-final and lost out 2-1 to goals from Sean Cotter and Sean Mullins.
The highlight of Everton’s path to the final were the third-round win over Railway Union and the semi-final two-nil away win over Dublin’s Valeview on Sunday, March 23, 1986.
Promising midfield star Alan Twomey struck the all-important winner against Railway Union after four minutes from a powerful 20-yard free-kick.
Everton sealed their place in their first final by accounting for Valeview, captain Dave Noonan side-footed the first after 62 minutes before the impressive Dan O’Malley struck a blistering second off the underside of the crossbar eight minutes from time.
The final would turn out to be a day to remember for 25-year-old Crofton striker Sean Cotter.
In the process he wrote himself into the record books becoming the first Cork player to score a hat-trick in a decider since JJ O’Sullivan notched three for Cork Bohemians against Strandville in 1928.
Cotter opened the scoring after six minutes when a Christy White free-kick came back off the wall for Laurence Neville to force Everton keeper Christy Dooley to parry his shot for Cotter to sweep in his first.
Neville was instrumental in setting up Cotter’s second six minutes later, crossing for the recalled striker to head Celtic two in front. Cotter along with Everton’s Dave Noonan and Alan Twomey went close before half-time before Cotter struck again three minutes after the resumption.
Substitute Tony Sheehan headed the ball down for the alert Cotter to hit a sweet volley from the edge of the area.
Twomey forced Finbarr Hogan into another diving save and eight minutes from time Crofton’s Liam Howe lifted a Mullins’ cross over the top.
A goal from Crofton’s Barry O’Leary completed the double in the league but it was Celtic’s greater experience which prevailed on the day Cork’s near neighbours caught the eye in Ireland’s blue ribbon showpiece.