cronin heroics win title

01 March 2017

Gavin Cronin turned out to be the hero of the night at Abbotstown with two brilliant saves in the penalty shoot out to hand the Colleges and Universities Division Two title to the DIT and earn him the Man of the March award..

After a scoreless 110 minutes in testing conditions where both DIT and IT Blanchardstown had a limited amount of chances to win this keenly fought decider it finally came down to the spot kicks.

Both sides were on target with their first penalties. Then Cronin kept out Ger Jameson's effort after Jake Daly had put his kick over the IT Blanchardstown crossbar.

The next two kicks were converted to leave the sides level at three apiece. Rauf Smyth then beat Marcin Kowalczyk and hand DIT the advantage. The vital fifth IT Blanchardstown penalty then saw Cronin guess correctly to deny Ger Maher and clinch the title for Noel Boland's side.

Both sides found it difficult to master the cold swirling wind with a Jameson header from a Matthew Nolan free that Cronin comfortably held IT Blanchartown's only real first half chance.

While Smyth brought a fine save from Kowaiczyk after the winger burst through on goal. Later the Blanchardstowen 'keeper did well to save again from Daly and Vinnie Ogbe.

Not much changed after the break with injuries and cramp taking its toll on players in both sides.

Kowalczyk was in top form and he kept out further efforts from Ogbe and Marcel Matondo as DIT pressed for a goal but all to no avail as the game went into extra time and was eventually decided in the penalty shoot out. But full credit to both sides for an providing an intriguing battling in difficult conditions.

DIT 'B': Gavin Cronin; Michael Lynch, Sam Fasan, Eoin Haverty, Johnny O'Connor; Rauf Smyth, Marcel Matondo, Sam Lenehan, Daire Dunne, Jake Daly; Vinnie Ogbe.
SUBS: Tomi Jinad (for Johnny O'Connor 17 mins), Sergio Camara (for Fasan 77 mins), Patrick Kavanagh, Tega Donie, Opabio Ruis, Emmanuel Lawal, Joshua Flood.

IT BLANCHARDSTOWN 'B':Marcin Kowalczyk; James Brophy, Andy McKenna, Aaron Brazil, Cormac Mouselly; Brian McCrossan, Ger Jameson; AJ Ryan, Matthew Nolan, Hafeez Bolarinwa; Curtis Durnin.
SUBS: Daryl Henderson (for McCrossan 50 mins), Ade Alabi (for Ryan 62 mins), Damo Kelly (for Brophy 66 mins), Mantas Malinovskis (for Durnin 78 mins), Ger Maher (for Nolan 98 mins), Keith Silvester, Alex Regan.

REFEREE: Eddie Reilly Assistants: Dave Fitzsimons, Declan Troy.

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