Derry City were victorious in the 2021 EA SPORTS National League of Ireland U-19 Enda McGuill Cup final following a dramatic match which seen a red card, a wonder-goal, a late equaliser and a penalty shootout. Michael Harris scored the decisive pena
Derry City were victorious in the 2021 EA SPORTS National League of Ireland U-19 Enda McGuill Cup final following a dramatic match which seen a red card, a wonder-goal, a late equaliser and a penalty shootout.
Michael Harris scored the decisive penalty which seen Derry City claim the title following goals in normal time from Bohemians’ Sean Grehan and Derry City’s Evan McLaughlin.
Derry City had the first real opportunity of the match. Michael Harris done brilliantly down the right-hand side, beating his man to create some space before crossing low into the box. Unfortunately for Derry, though, Patrick Ferry failed to connect with the cross and it came to nothing.
Gavin O’Brien produced fantastic technique from the volley to test Derry City ‘keeper Ruadhán McKenna at the 20-minute mark. Bohemians’ best opportunity of the match to that point.
Aaron Doran then had another opportunity minutes later for Bohemians, but it was from a tight angle and went sailing over the bar.
Bohemians were starting to control play now and were looking comfortable. Ruadhán McKenna was forced into another save near the 30-minute mark following a cross in from the right. The ‘keeper did well to get down early and divert any danger.
Darragh Murtagh had an opportunity 35 minutes into the game, controlling the ball cleverly inside the box and releasing a snapshot. It was easy in the end though for Ruadhán McKenna with the effort going directly at him.
Robbie Mahon had an excellent opportunity to make it 1-0 to Bohemians just a minute later following a cutback into the box, but he failed to connect properly to the relief of Derry City. Any decent connection and it would have been a goal.
Derry City then went on the counterattack once they regained possession with Michael Harris going on a run down the right-hand side. After running out of space, the winger played a good ball into Patrick Ferry who took a couple of touches before firing over.
The best chance of the first half came to Derry City and it was Patrick Ferry again with an opportunity. The teenager was played in and left one-on-one with the ‘keeper before getting his shot off which was fired in off the post. The game was very much end-to-end at this point.
Despite a lack of goals, there certainly wasn’t a lack of entertainment in the first half. It ended scoreless at half time.
No changes were made at the break and the teams kicked off for the second half.
Bohemians started the second half well, Opey Owalabi getting a shot off after showing some tidy feet in the box. Again, though, it was straight at the Derry ‘keeper who had a routine save to make in the end.
Aaron Doran had a good chance near the 55th minute following some good link up play between himself and Robbie Mahon but after a couple of nice touches which created some space, he shot wide of the mark.
Unfortunately for Derry City, they were reduced to ten men around the 60-minute mark. Caoimhin Porter getting sent off for a second yellow after a challenge just outside the box.
Bohemians fired wide from the resulting free-kick.
Derry City brought on some firepower minutes after the sending off with senior players Evan McLaughlin and Marc Walsh entering the fray.
It didn’t take Marc Walsh long to get involved, shooting from range in the 68th minute, but it was easily saved the Bohemians’ ‘keeper Enda Minogue.
The game was, however, in the control of Bohemians at this stage. The Dublin club took their man advantage and controlled much of the possession.
Derry ‘keeper Ruadhán McKenna was called into action again on the 75th minute, palming away a fantastic cross to keep it scoreless. McKenna was having a great game.
Billy Vance had a good chance in the 78th minute as Bohemians’ pressure mounted. The Bohemians man was played in following some good possession but his effort was saved by Ruadhán McKenna who used his feet to keep the ball out of the net.
Evan McLaughlin had a good chance to create something in the 90th minute following link-up between himself and fellow substitute Marc Walsh, but he failed to connect properly with the ball following good work from the latter.
That turned out to be the last chance of the 90 minutes and the scoreline read 0-0 at full time. Extra time was needed to decide the game so both teams were given a short break before coming out for the first period.
Despite being a man down, Derry City were looking dangerous in the opening minutes of extra time, particularly Evan McLaughlin and Marc Walsh. Both players got shots off in similar positions within minutes of each other but both sailed over the bar.
Bohemians were far from done, though. They responded with an effort of their own in the 95th minute. Defender Len O’Sullivan ventured into the box and was played in with a brilliant ball. He shot at goal and it took a fantastic save from in-form ‘keeper Ruadhán McKenna to deny him. The best save of the night by some margin.
It wasn’t to remain scoreless for long, though. Bohemians’ defender Sean Grehan picked up the ball at the half-way line following a short period of possession. He then travelled some yards unchallenged before unleashing a brilliant shot from well outside the box which beat the ‘keeper in the 101st minute. He was having a fantastic game and more than deserved a goal for his performance.
Bohemians almost scored another shortly after following a scramble in the box, but it was eventually cleared out of danger.
The first period of extra time finished 1-0 to Bohemians following Grehan’s wonderstrike.
There weren’t many chances in the second period, but the one good chance that Derry City did have, they took. The Candystripes were awarded a penalty in the 116th minute following a handball in the box. Up stepped substitute Evan McLaughlin to take the penalty against Enda Minogue but it was the former who came out on top, converting the penalty with a brilliant strike into the corner of the net.
Billy Vance had a great opportunity to potentially win the game for Bohemians in the dying minutes, but he fired his effort over the bar from inside the box.
That was the last chance of the game which ended 1-1 following extra time. The game went to penalties.
All eight opening penalties were converted with aplomb making it tied 4-4 on penalties.
Darragh Murtagh then stepped up for Bohemians to take his penalty, and unfortunately for him, he missed. That meant it was down to Michael Harris who, if he was to score, would win the 2021 Enda McGuill Cup for Derry City U19s. He stepped up and did just that.
Following the converted penalty, Harris and his teammates ran over to the Derry support to celebrate, a fantastic achievement for the club.
BOHEMIANS: Enda Minogue; Gavin O’Brien, Len O’Sullivan, Cian Byrne, Sean Grehan, Colin Conroy (Darragh Levingston 108’), Opey Owolabi (Billy Vance 56’), Sean McManus, Darragh Murtagh, Aaron Doran, Robbie Mahon.
Substitutes: Kian Moore, Jake McCormack, Darragh Levingston, James McManus, Billy Vance, Scott Mahon, Precious Omochere.
DERRY CITY: Ruadhán McKenna, Caoimhin Porter (Sent off 60’), Matthew Walker (Darragh Kelly 113’), Dean Corrigan, Shaun McDermott, Orrin McLaughlin (Ronan McAleer 109’), Mark McFadden (Evan McLaughlin 63’), Gerard Storey (Marc Walsh 63’), Caolan McLaughlin, Michael Harris, Patrick Ferry.
Substitutes: Oisin Gibson, Darragh Kelly, Ronan McAleer, Zach McFadden, Tiarnan McKinney, Evan McLaughlin, Marc Walsh (Tiernan McKinney 105’), Ronan McKinley.
Referee: Michael Connolly.
Assistant Referees: Ciaran O’Reilly, Keenan Deering.
Fourth Official: Declan Toland.