In what was probably one of the most hotly anticipated events on the 2018 sporting calendar, Falcon Green went down 5-4 to GPF on penalties after a fiercely contested sixty minutes of normal time.
GPF took the lead early on after James Mannion got the better of one of FG’s centre-halves trying to dribble the ball out of his own box. John Hearty in the Falcon goal pulled off a fantastic save to deny Mannion, but Mark Kirrane was on hand to put away the parry from close range.
Not to be deterred, the FG boys soon found themselves back level with GPF, as Nathan Creevey (drafted in from Durkan Construction on loan for the evening) found the back of the net after latching onto the end of a Simon Reynolds through-ball. 1-1, Game on.
The second half began in a cagey fashion with neither side willing to commit too many men forward for fear of handing the other side an unwitting invitation to catch them on break. With both defences seeming well organised, it looked as though the game had entered into a veritable stalemate. That was until Ross Bennett decided to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Latching onto a fantastic long ball over the top of the FG back four, he calmly controlled the ball and slotted it past a hapless John Hearty with his second touch to put GPF into the lead.
With the clock ticking, FG began press forward in an attempt to find an equaliser. Wave after wave of attacks were repulsed by a staunch GPF defence, and it looked as though victory would go to the home side. Then, out of nowhere, a 45 yard diagonal ball from Simon Reynolds found Nathan Morris on the edge of the box. The Falconian took his finish with aplomb, lifting it over the keeper to bring the sides level for the second time.
However, there just wasn’t enough time to find a winner, and both sides found themselves locked in the deadly battle of wits that is the penalty shootout. After a four excellent penalties (Falcon Green’s second being the pick of the bunch), GPF Lewis managed to convert their fifth, While FG’s Eoin McGeehan saw his fierce effort saved by Rory Fitzgerald to put the away side out of their misery!