BAMBRICK beats the 'bell
Bluebell United old boy Ger Bambrick returned to haunt his former club by netting a dramatic late winner at Armagh Road on St. Patrick's Day to send Crumlin United into a FAI Intermediate Cup semi final collision with Rockmount.
Bambrick, who played in the final of this competition for the Bell last season against Crumlin, popped up with ten minutes left to latch on to a Dean Kelly through ball and slide home by Andrew McNulty and hand the holders the win and in turn break the hearts of his former team mates.
While the game ended in burst of excitement the opening stages were very much sticking to the stalemate script from the first game. The tentative and cautious opening was blown apart, though, when Dean Kelly nodded home the opening goal of the tie and the blue touch paper was lit and fireworks soon followed.
Kelly's opener arrived after 17 minutes as the Irish international made no mistake with a free header, nodding home Martin Cramer's free kick from six yards out after the Bluebell defence failed to pick up the lethal striker.
Bluebell got further into the mire with just six minutes of the half left when Kelly skipped through the visiting defence and forced McNulty into a save. The 'Bell 'keeper could only parry Kelly's low effort, though, and James Lee was on hand to gladly tap home the rebound from close range.
The Bell were on the ropes but hope was restored for Liam Reilly's side just before the break in fortunate circumstances when Alan O'Duffy swung in a cross that caught Coleman flatfooted and the ball ended up in the back of the Crumlin net. Bluebell was in the ascendancy now and should have equalised when Glen Keddy set up John Cleary, but the big defender poked wide from close range.
Having survived Bluebell's late first half revival Crumiln took control of the game after the break and Bambrick went close on a couple of occasions, first cracking the crossbar with a high quality overhead kick and then forcing McNulty into a point blank stop.
Crumlin failed to unearth a knockout blow and Bluebell lifted the siege with fifteen minutes left when Darren Meade produced a wonderful overhead kick to level the game up. Parity was short lived.
With ten minutes left Kelly managed to pick out Bambrick's run and the striker collected the ball and managed to slide home by the advancing McNulty.
The 'Bell responded in the dying moments of the game and launched a late surge on the Crumlin goal, but some heroic goalkeeping from Karl Coleman repelled the visitors as he kept out chances from Graham Dunning and Darragh Hollingswoth. Crumlin suffered a major blow when with two minutes left Dean Kelly picked up a red card after a few unwise words with referee Dave Fisher and will now miss the semi final trip to Rockmount.
CRUMLIN: Karl Coleman; Ciaran Reilly, Carl Redmond, Paul McCabe, Gavin Kavanagh, Martin Cramer, Stephen Larkin, James Lee, Ger Bambrick, Dean Kelly, Robbie Shields. Subs: Tony Griffiths (for Shields 70mins), Keith O'Brien, Damien Cuffe, Carl Forsyth, Colm Corcoran, Sean Fitzpatrick, Gareth Sutton.
BLUEBELL: Andrew McNulty; Ian Cherry, Shane Flynn, Peter Sherlock, John Cleary, Anthony Doyle, Paul Kenny, Glen Keddy, Gary Crowley, Darren Meade, Alan O'Duffy. Subs: Graham Dunning (for Kenny 78mins), Darragh Hollingsworth (for Crowley 78mins), Alan Behan (for Cleary 87mins), Stuart Smith, Stephen Fay, Derek Fay, Mark Clohessy.
Referee: Dave Fisher.