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Despair for Irish duo as Spanish icon Raul enjoys fairytale ending to illustrious career

Richie Ryan and Colin Falvey were part of the Ottawa Fury side that suffered defeat to the New York Cosmos.

Image: Associated Press

THERE WAS HUGE disappointment for Irish pair Richie Ryan and Colin Falvey last night as their Ottawa Fury side were beaten 3-2 by the New York Cosmos in the NASL championship final.

The result proved the perfect send-off for Spanish icon Raul who was playing his final competitive game for the storied US franchise before retiring.

It was a similar story for his compatriot and team-mate Marcos Senna, who had been with the Cosmos since 2013 and who had already tasted championship success with the team in his debut campaign.

The Cosmos had won the 10-game Spring season back in June but the Fury were the in-form team in the league, having claimed the Fall season title just a number of weeks ago.

With Ryan as captain and Falvey at centre-half, the Canadians lost just once from twenty games and that included a 4-1 thumping of the Cosmos in their own backyard in late September.

Still, it was a different affair last night.

The Cosmos were in front after just eight minutes when Gaston Cellerino bundled home from close range.

Things got worse for the Fury when Mason Trafford was dished a straight red card by referee Alan Kelly – another Irish connection – after an inexplicable stamp.

Down to ten men, Ottawa needed something and fast.

Thankfully, their top scorer Tommy Heinemann equalised just two minutes later but the Cosmos were back in front within moments when Cellerino grabbed his brace.

He’d compete his hat-trick with five minutes left and although Heinemann made it interesting deep in injury time, the Cosmos held on to claim the title.

For Raul, who’s now 38, it was an emotional end.

“It was my last game in my career. I’m very proud of everything I did. For me now, I start a new life with another project. I’m happy, but I’m also very sad.”

His senior debut came back on 29th October 1994 when, as a seventeen-year-old, he featured for Real Madrid in an away game with Real Zaragoza.

His career has spanned more than 21 years and what a way to cap it off than with one more trophy.

‘Every kid wants to go to the UK but Ireland needs to get away from that mentality’

‘I was constantly called a 5-a-side footballer because I wanted to keep possession of the ball’

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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