NAFL Border Cup, Round 2

Crumlin Star 8-0 Finaghy

Crumlin Star obliterated Finaghy with a triumphant second half goal bonanza which saw Stephen Smyth and Kevin Lynch score hat-tricks, and James Doyle put away two for the North Belfast men.

From the beginnings of the game, Star were putting serious pressure on Finaghy, but the South Belfast side held firm and didn’t budge much in the way of defence.

Finaghy reacted solidly to Star’s attempts to get ahead of their defence throughout the first half, but failed to take the few chances afforded to them, such as the chance they had in the first minute when a great cross from Thomas Greenaway to Ryan Adair was fumbled at the last moment, in what should have been a goal.

In terms of possession, Star dominated the pitch, but their first few chances didn’t yield any results, such as the free kick outside the box from captain Barry McKervey and Pierce McConnell’s attempt straight after six minutes in which was aiming for the top left of the net only to be saved by Finaghy’s ‘keeper Philip Warnock.

At 18 minutes Finaghy got another good chance from Ryan Adair but the shot didn’t have the power behind it to pose much of a threat to Star’s ‘keeper Ciaran McNeill.

Star kept probing Finaghy’s defences, but were unable to get through until after 33 minutes when Kevin Lynch, following a great cross in from James Doyle put the ball in the back of the net, putting the North Belfast men a goal in the lead.

The first half ended with more of the same play, and with the drizzle swirling around, as both teams left the field and prepared for the second half.

STEAMING AHEAD: Crumlin Star steamed ahead to an 8-0 victory

STEAMING AHEAD: Crumlin Star steamed ahead to an 8-0 victory

When the second hald got underway I don’t think anyone was expecting the plethora of goals which would follow, but it’s clear in the changing rooms Star had been doing their homework, and applied what they learned ruthlessly.

In ten minutes, the North Belfast men put away four goals, putting themselves 5-0 in the lead. The first of the second half goalfest was scored by James Doyle, followed a few minutes later by another from Kevin Lynch, only to be followed a couple of minutes later with a great goal from Stephen Smyth, which came about through some excellent play from Brendan O’Neill and Patrick McIlkenny who assisted in the delivery. This was followed a minute later with another one from Kevin Lynch completing his hat-trick.

Finaghy’s defence appeared to collapse and there seemed little they could do to hold up against the North Belfast onslaught.

At around the 70 minute mark, Stephen Smyth put another cracker in the back of the net, putting the North Belfast side up to six nil.

With about ten minutes left, Star put another two in the back of the net, the first of which was done excellently by James Doyle who took their ‘keeper on one to one and put the goal away, earning him his second goal of the game.

The next goal came from Stephen Smyth, completing his hat-trick putting the final tally for Star up to 8-0 against a despondent Finaghy, which will see the North Belfast men steam ahead into the next round of the Border Cup.

CRUMLIN STAR: C McNeill, B O’Neill, A McNeill, P McConnell, N Hawkins, J McNeill, P McIlkenny, S Smyth (3 goals, 58 mins, 70 mins, 85 mins), K Lynch (3 goals, 33 mins, 56 mins, 66 mins) J Doyle (2 goals, 53 mins, 81 mins), B McKervey

SUBS: K Lynch for S McBurney (68 mins), B McKervey for K Hagans (68 mins)

FINAGHY: P Warnock, L Hendron, A Baker, R Stevenson, M Greenfield, A Peden, A Gordon, K Hamilton, R Adair, T Greenaway, M McMurray

SUBS: T Greenaway for J Walsh (61 mins)