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Stunning comeback sees Maynooth University Town crowned Intermediate champions

Maynooth produced a seismic comeback late on to secure a memorable extra time win at the Aviva Stadium.

Maynooth players celebrate with supporters at the Aviva Stadium.
Maynooth players celebrate with supporters at the Aviva Stadium.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Firhouse Clover 1

Maynooth University Town 4

Dave Donnelly reports from the Aviva Stadium

Substitute Tommy Illunga produced a game-changing performance as Maynooth University Town pulled off a stunning comeback win over Firhouse Clover to lift the FAI Intermediate Cup.

Firhouse led deep into injury time through Carl Forsyth before Darragh Reynor equalised, and Maynooth replacements Illunga, Yousef Belhout and Eoin Donnellan sealed the win in extra time.

Both sides were contesting their first finals at this level and Clover, who rank two divisions above Maynooth, looked to have justified their favourites tag in front of a large support from Tallaght.

They were the more physical side, if less fluid in possession, and had the first serious chance when centre-half Luke Walsh curled a brilliant free kick off the crossbar.

A superb through ball from Maynooth’s Daniel Burke found striker Eoin McDermott on an angled run, but from a tight angle he couldn’t nick the ball past Clover goalkeeper Ian Molloy.

Cillian Duffy rippled the side-netting with a shot from a tight angle and McDermott shot straight at Molloy, as Maynooth continued to exploit the space in behind the Firhouse full backs.

It was the younger Forsyth who was to open the scoring, brilliantly nicking the ball around a robust Harte challenge before placing an unsaveable effort in off the far post.

Firhouse sat back and paid the price in the third minute of injury time, as a corner was flicked on and Darragh Reynor lashed home at the back post.

Tommy Illunga celebrates after scoring a goal in extra-time Tommy Illunga celebrates scoring in extra time. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Things got even better from Maynooth 40 seconds into extra time when Illunga picked up the ball in the box, swivelled and shot in off the post.

Clover collapsed from there. Michael McLoughlin was given a yellow card for cynically cutting down Donnellan on the break, swiftly followed by a red for dissent.

Belhout sealed the victory seconds later as he fired low past the helpless Molloy, with Donnellan adding another following more good work from Illunga.

FIRHOUSE CLOVER: Molloy; O’Donnell, Brophy (Ray 98), Walsh, Farrelly (McGrath 93); McLoughlin, Doyle, Byrne (Bambrick 60); D Forsyth (Arevadze 78), C Forsyth, O’Connor (Rafferty 65).

MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY TOWN: Sterio; Harte (Illunga 76), Mooney, Dunne, Corrigan; Gannon, Reynor, Farahamad (Donnellan 62); Burke (Belhout 81), Duffy (Daly 65), McDermott (Kinsella 80).

 

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