first_imgBLANK HOLIDAY MONDAY FOR HARPSCarlsberg don’t do penalty shoot-outs but if they did it would probably leave a distinctly bitter taste following the F.A.I. Cup drama at Finn Park late into Monday night. Not because of the penalties themselves – football’s answer to the lottery – but principally due to what had gone on in the 120 minutes of match time before. “Probably our best result of the season yet,” Harps boss, Ollie Horgan, had hailed the original game in Longford last Friday night when Harps had come away with a 1-1 draw despite having Damian McNulty red-carded early on.No ‘probably’ about the replay being his team’s best performance of this season to date and very possibly last season as well.Right from the kick-off, the home side controlled proceeding against their Premier League opponents and apart from one or two brief spells when Longford threatened to open them up, they had the upper hand over the ninety minutes and the additional half-hour of extra time.The only thing missing was a goal but ill-luck – three times the ball came off the woodwork including a magnificent effort from Kevin McHugh – and some sturdy defending from the visiting back-line (to their credit it has to be said) kept the scoresheet blank to send the game to the dreaded spot-kicks. Like the dark clouds that had been hovering ominously earlier in the afternoon, a sense of forebording settled around the old ground at that stage.History wasn’t quite pointing to a Harps success when it comes to a penalty shoot-out and history has a habit of repeating itself.This had to rank as an even bigger Cup disappointment than the 6-1 trouncing by St. Patrick’s Athletic in last season’s semi-final given the high level of performance throughout Monday’s replay and the lack of reward at the very end of it.The 4-3 penalty decider defeat was as cruel as you can get under the circumstances and watching the half dozen Longford fans who made the trip – I kid you not – dancing in delight only added to the sense of despair.Now Horgan’s men must lift themselves for another trip to the Midlands this Friday to face Athlone Town as they bid to preserve that seven point lead at the summit of the First Division table. With a couple of injury worries to contend with – Mickey Funston having limped out of the action – they’ll require plenty of lifting but at least can welcome back Ruairi Keating (ah, had only he been available this week?) and Brian McGroary, both of whom were Cup tied by parent company, Sligo Rovers.CHAMPION PERFORMANCE BY COCKHILLNot all doom on the F.A.I. Cup front for Donegal clubs – Cockhill Celtic advancing to the third round stage with an impressive 3-0 win over St. Mochta’s on Sunday.Donal O’Brien has the Ulster Senior League champions in tip-top shape and they were well worth their win over the Dubliners, even if two of the goals came courtesy of penalties, both expertly converted by Gerry Gill either side of a Matty Henry effort. Veteran striker and former Bohemians ace Glenn Crowe, has been the bane of many a League of Ireland defence in the past – Harps included – but was unable to breach Celtic’s mean rearguard though he came close with a chipped effort that bounced off Gavin Cullen’s crossbar.A decent home draw is the least the Inishowen side merit – or even a trip to the Brandywell.BALL BEARERSIt’s the seventeenth hole at Royal County Down in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Friday and Rory McIlroy’s ball has just landed in the rough.Almost immediately a spectator locates it and alerts the golfer and his caddie to its whereabouts. Well spotted that man and that man just happens to be Letterkenny native, Eamonn McGlynn, breadman to the stars as it’s surely likely he wouldn’t have let such an opportunity pass!But there’s more to this story. For who then emerges on the scene but another Letterkenny resident and golfing stalwart, Sean Gilroy.“You’ll mark that one for us,” the latter pleads with the world’s number one.McIlroy nods and sure enough after his final round – which turned the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open into the Dubai Rory Free Irish Open for the rest of the weekend – the ball is presented to the proprietor of the well known Global Tiles and Bathrooms.Sean then hands said ball over to our good friend, Brian McArt, who had also made the trip to the Open along with Eunan McGlynn, who completed the foursome. Nice gesture by both gifted golfers…I had been due to travel with the boys for my first experience of any golf tournament since the Irish Women’s Open played at the Barnhill course back in 1999.Unfortunately I was stymied with a chest infection (par for the course for this ageing body) and had to contend myself with watching on from the sitting room.Can’t imagine I would have survived all those inclines between holes and not to mention the torrential weather conditions which proved as wet as the swirling waters of Dundrum Bay underlooking the links course.I did, however, get to hold the coveted ball this week– an Ultra 500 Distance with the letter ‘R’ imprinted on it –  and nobody can take that away from me.Except young McArt who insisted I return it to him!Anyway fair play to the Letterkenny quartet for bringing home a piece of true golfing memorabilia though I still expected them to have retrieved either half of Shane Lowry’s putter.ELECTRIC PERFORMANCEAnother hugely impressive performance by Declan Bonner’s Donegal in the Electric Ireland Ulster Minor Championship at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday evening. As comprehensive a display as you can get – the scoreline of 2-14 to 0-7 a telling tale of the visitors dominance over Armagh. Down or Derry will be their opponents in the semi-final near the end of the month but that victory over the Orchard County in their own front yard will surely leave them fearless for either option as they bid to retain their Ulster title. “Once we moved the ball at pace, it was very difficult to defend against,” manager Bonner insisted afterwards.An omen there for Sunday week?LYIT LINK TO GAA HISTORYA major piece of G.A.A. history at the weekend when Maggie Farrelly became the first woman to referee a men’s inter-county Championship match.The Cavan native took charge of the Fermanagh/Antrim clash at Brewster Park and managed to get through the potentially explosive Ulster encounter without brandishing a single card of any creed or colour. A lot of tributes to the Laragh woman following her officiating in Enniskillen and, no doubt, not least at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology from where she graduated with a degree in Business in Sports Development and Coaching in 2011.They’ll surely be erecting a statue to her in the grounds of the LYIT and how many referees have ever had that honour? Burning effigies, yes, statues never….AMY STRIKES AGAINLast week, this column was saluting Glenties girl, Amy Boyle Carr following her outstanding ‘cover all areas of the park’ display in the Donegal under-14 girls Ulster Final victory against Antrim at the Drumragh Sarsfields G.A.A. grounds near Omagh.Many more salutes this week as the remarkable versatile teenager – an Irish international – grabbed a stunning hat-trick in the Final of the All-Ireland Gaynor Plate competition in Limerick to help the Donegal under-15 girls to a 3-2 success over the host county.The Donegal team claimed victory in five out of six of their games played over the Bank Holiday Weekend to return home with the trophy.An outstanding team/squad effort it must be stressed and mighty congratulations to all the girls and their coaches and mentors.SHAY IT AIN’T SOCome on now all ye Gunners fans out there, you surely cannot be glorifying in THAT Cup win and your team having mercilessly knocked in four against our man from Lifford?Shay GivenIn all likelihood his last ever Cup Final appearance and you go and do that to him and all the service he has given this country and the honour he has brought to his home patch and then you go and deprive him of a coveted winners medal.Bow your heads in shame particularly when you’re passing by the family home and you spot him in the garden sitting sombrely  on the sun lounger and reflecting on what might have been.Okay, I concede. Your lot did play well, flowing passages of football in the traditional (post George Graham era of course) way of the Arsenal. Style, slickness and substance, knotted neatly together, outshining even Tim Sherwood’s suit, the latter (that’s Sherwood, not the suit), looking like a being who, all week had been quietly confident of a big upset that would have the English nation clamouring for his services at the international helm and his stock rising like Benteke in the penalty area only Benteke didn’t rise to any great heights on Saturday like most of his team-mates – Given honourably excepted having pulled off a couple of wonder saves – and young Jack Grealish floundering badly on the wide open spaces of Wembley and Sherwood’s dreams returned to the dressing-rooms marked unopened.And what about the other Jack – Wilshere? Not content with his cup winners medal, he had to go and lord it over the old Tottenham with some apparently choice words from the victory podium which cannot be repeated here for fear of causing offence (yeah, Spurs fan can read as well) ensuring himself a ticker-tape reception the next time he turns out at the Lane.SMOKE SCREENAnd still on the Gunners, what about that story – which re-emerged again in the week leading up to the Wembley decider – that goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, was caught smoking in the showers after that recent 2-0 defeat at Southampton?He has since been fined £20,000 by the club for his actions (the cost of cigarettes really is rising).But then his father intervened to suggest that the sprinkling on his son’s jacket in the dressing-room was not ash but actually dandruff.Head & Shoulders above any other excuse you could come up with….McCAMBRIDGE BREDS SUCCESSClose to a Donegal 1-2 in the Womens’ Mini Marathon staged on the streets of Dublin at the weekend.First past the post from a field of up to 40,000 was former Letterkenny A.C. representative, Maria McCambridge in a time of 34 minutes and 3 seconds. And finishing in second place was current Letterkenny A.C. athlete, Ann Marie McGlynn, who earlier this year was captain of the bronze medal winning Irish team at the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria.Outstanding effort by both women, McGlynn pipping former Irish international, Catherine McKiernan to the line and the runners-up spot.STORM WARNINGMet Eireann has issued a storm warning for the Donnybrook area of Dublin. “It’s getting particularly nasty with the SKY turning overcast and more ugly barrages expected over the coming days.“Our advice is if you do have to venture out, leave the Brolly at home.”DONEGAL MINORS ARE ELECTRIC, COCKHILL CELTIC ‘MOCH’ THE SAINTS – IT’S WALSHY ON WEDNESDAY was last modified: June 3rd, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:columnHome-page SportnewsPaddy Walshlast_img

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