The Star are through to the quarter finals of the Border Cup after a hard fought win over Premier side Albert Foundry.On a rain soaked pitch tackles were coming in from every direction but the game was always played in a hard but fair manner.
The home side went close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute but their left winger’s shot went agonisingly wide of the post. As the game went on the Star began to gain more confidence as the front pairing of O’Neill and Murphy gave the Foundry defence all sorts of problems.
Barry McKervey had the Star’s best chance of the half when he burst clear on goal but his shot went well wide of the post. Murphy also had a great chance to give the Star the lead but his tame effort was well saved by the Foundry number one. Half-time: 0-0.
The Star began the second half on the front foot with McNeill and Mooney giving the team lots of energy on the break while Niall Hawkins battled hard in a holding role in midfield.
After just five minutes into the restart the Star took the lead when McKervey found Ciaran Murphy at the back post for the little striker to head in one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score.
Ciaran deserves a lot of credit for his performance as he had to endure one of the most turbulent weeks of his life after his father had a freak accident on holiday and is still seriously ill in Spain. On the hour Foundry got a deserved equaliser when their big number six rose highest and sent a cracking header into the top corner.
The game then ebbed and flowed as both sides went in search of a winner and it was Murphy who had the best chance when McKervey broke clear down the left and squared the ball to him but with only the keeper to beat he blasted the ball straight at the custodian.
The game went into extra time, were Foundry looked the stronger.
But the Star’s defence held firm with McDowell in particular having a fine game at right-back.
So the game went into the dreaded penalties. McKervey, Murphy and Burns all scored then Thompson made a fine save to make it 3-2 to the Ardoyne men with one penalty left each.
So up stepped big PJ O’Neill to send the keeper the wrong way and book the Star a place in the quarter finals where they’ll meet Kilroot Rec at Solitude on 5 November.
This week the Star are away to Newcastle in a league fixture, kick-off 2pm.
CRUMLIN STAR: Thompson (7), McDowell (9), Burns (7), Berne (7), Savage (7), Mooney (7), McNeill (8), Hawkins (7), McKervey (7), PJ O'Neill (8), Murphy (8). Subs: G O'Neill (6), O'Reilly (6), Brown (6).