By Kevin Regan
The players and management of Evergreen FC will be hurting over the next couple of days.
A freak Own Goal and a highly controversial refereeing decision was the difference in Sunday’s Leinster Junior Cup Final played at the Prince Grounds in Castlecomer, as Sheriff added to their FAI Junior Cup title earlier this year.
And in truth, a number of decisions went against Evergreen on the day, with the officials turning a blind eye to a number of blatant fouls throughout the 90 minutes, and the Kilkenny kingpins were by no means a million miles off the pace.
In fact they were the better team for large periods of the game, particularly during the early stages of the second half when Sean Barcoe and Darragh Walshe both went extremely close to leveling the tie after Sheriff took the lead in the first half with a fortuitous own goal by Evergreen’s Neal Andrews.
The eventual winners were very comfortable on the ball in the first half, but Evergreen were outstanding in that second period and were hit with an absolute sucker punch in the 73rd minute when the referee bizarrely pointed to the spot,after it appeared that Sheriff veteran John Rock had gone down outside the area.
Robbie Quan was dismissed for dissent and John Lester tucked away the penalty to give Sheriff a two goal lead which they scarcely deserved.
However, 10 man Evergreen didn’t throw in the towel and Walshe went close again late on, but Sheriff held on to claim the victory.
What I witnessed on Sunday was concrete evidence that Evergreen FC most definitely have what it takes to mix it with the best in the land, which Sheriff currently are and that it might not be too long more before they or indeed Thomastown United claim the Leinster Junior Cup.
Had little things gone in favour of Evergreen then they would have reached that destination today including key decisions from the officials, however the game was still there for the taking and they simply just couldn’t put their goal chances away when it mattered.
Player/Manager Packie Holden was disappointed and understandably frustrated after the game, and you can click the link to hear the full interview below.