Quadruple will not fall by the wayside
Their 'drive for five' may have gone up in smoke last Wednesday night, but Crumlin United can still claim an unprecedented quadruple of trophies, and tomorrow they will look to add the EBS Metropolitan Cup to their tally when they meet Malahide United at Frank Cooke Park.
With the FAI Intermediate Cup and the Cahill Cup already in the bag, and the Senior Division title all but sewn up, United stand on the verge of greatness as the first team ever to claim these four titles in one season.
The clean sweep was sunk last Wednesday night when Wayside Celtic defeated them in the Ryan Cup final at Richmond Park, but there is no better way to pick the players' heads up off the floor than give them another cup final to right the wrongs.
Malahide stand in Crumlin's way of another trophy, although the Gannon Park club will start the game as rank outsiders in a game that pits the champions-elect against the relegated United. The fact that Crumlin won both league meetings, and a gap of 28 points and a dozen teams separate these two in the table, means the battle facing Malahide is not uphill, but more Everest-like.
United's fate was sealed last Wednesday night when Mount Merrion grabbed the point they needed against Tolka Rovers to save themselves and, in turn, send Malahide back to Division 1.
The North County side will look to leave the top flight on a high, though, and they have saved some of their best performances for this competition, a cup they won three years ago against Greystones in Dalymount Park.
It is a mammoth task facing Malahide, but they will face a Crumlin side without the services of suspended duo Danny Loughran and Gavin Kavanagh, both dismissed in the Ryan Cup, along with Stephen Larkin and Tony Griffiths.
The Road to the Final
Crumlin's route to the final has been littered with goals, 23 netted and shared out between themselves and the opposition in four games. In the first round Edenderry Town were edged out by three goals to two, while Phoenix were next to fall, this time by four goals to two. Glebe North arrived down to Armagh Road to give Crumlin a massive fright, but Loughran's lads came out on top by the odd goal in seven. The semi-final produced possibly the game of the season so far as Bangor Celtic took the short trip to take on their neighbours. In a whirlwind cup tie it was Crumlin that emerged thanks to a wonderful Dean Kelly hat-trick as the noisy neighbours were silenced by the odd goal in five.
United skipped by the first round thanks to a bye, while in the second round they sidestepped a potential away-day banana skin when they edged out Division 1 side Celbridge Town by two goals to one. The quarter-finals brought a home tie against 2008 winners Wayside Celtic, and a late extra-time goal booted the visitors out of the competition and Malahide marched on against the odds. United were on their travels for their last-four clash with Cherry Orchard, but 120 minutes of football failed to find a winner. In the end United progressed to yet another final by virtue of a penalty shootout.