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Friday 24 November 2017

Scully hands saints glory

St Fiacc's 1 Derry Rovers 1 (aet: Fiacc's won 3-1 on penalties)

St Fiacc's proved the pundits wrong when they defeated Derry Rovers on penalties to retain the O'Neill's International Cup.

From the kick-off Fiacc's put it up to the league champions. They were full of heart and determination with Lee Salter a torment for the Rover's defence.

The deadlock was broken on 41 minutes when a Fiacc's cross from way out on the right wing by Ronan Brennan found Lee Salter who headed it superbly over Rovers 'keeper Kenneth Brennan for a spectacular goal.

The Saints, who dominated the first half, should have doubled their advantage before the break, but man of the match Richard O'Leary for Rovers was a Trojan in defence throughout the whole game, keeping Fiacc's to the minimum lead at half-time. Following a stern half-time team-talk by Pat Nolan, Rovers looked a better side in the second half, however again the Saints were quick to close down Rovers when they tried to move forward.

Early in the second half Rovers introduced Darren Price on the left and he gave them that much-needed added dimension on the wing and up front.

On 65 minutes, following some excellent play involving Price, Darren, Coleman equalised.

Injuries and tired legs began to take their toll on both teams with Rovers looking the better for the first time in the game during the final quarter.

Impression

Hennessey brought off two great saves for Fiacc's to keep them in the race, one from Price and the second from Paul Nolan, who failed to impress on the day for Derry up to that point.

Extra-time followed and the Saints defended stoutly for both 10-minute periods, forcing the game into a penalty shootout. When Brennan saved the first Fiacc's spot-kick and Paul Nolan then scored, it looked as if, despite the brave efforts of the Fiacc's team on the day, the cup was going to Clonegal.

However, that was the only spot-kick that Rovers converted with Fiacc's 'keeper Patrick Scully saving two of them. Michael Walsh, referees observer on behalf of O'Neill's, presented PJ Nolan, St Fiacc's captain, with the cup.

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