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17th Sep 2022

Cormac Costello penalty, Johnny Cooper red card and Eoin Murchan masterclass as Na Fianna edge out Whitehall

Lee Costello

Na Fianna 1-12  1-11 Whitehall Colmcille

The Dublin club championship has always been littered with big names, but it doesn’t always deliver in terms of entertainment and drama.

Na Fianna and Whitehall Colmcille’s dramatic game in today’s quarter final however has definitely delivered in terms of being a spectacle, and had everything a neutral would want.

Live on RTE Two, it got off to a slow start, Whitehall clearly looking for the long ball in early, put Na Fianna under pressure and get the Gannon brothers on the ball as much as possible.

Na Fianna were very Dublin-like in the way they managed they game, kept their opposition from sneaking a goal, and slowly but consistently tipped the ball over the bar.

It was the second half when things burst into life, Johnny Cooper had been playing with a serious edge the entire game, in fact the first whistle hadn’t blown five seconds before he was bulldozing players to the ground off the ball.

Already on a yellow card, the county star was lucky not be sent off getting involved in more off-the-ball shenanigans, but the red seemed inevitable and arrived in the worst possible way for his side.

After pulling down the Whitehall froward who was breaking through on goal, the second yellow arrived, and a penalty was awarded, with his Dublin teammate Cormac Costello stepping up to take it.

It was never in doubt as the sharp shooter buried the ball into the back of the net to tie the game, but despite being down to 14 men, Na Fianna were able to control the last few minutes.

Eoin Murchan was outstanding at corner back, cutting down that left flank and setting up huge scores to keep his team in the lead.

Then with two points in it and the clock already ticking over the allotted five minutes of injury time, a free kick was awarded to Costello.

The back line managed to keep their hearts in check and minds focused as Costello lobbed the ball for Eoghan O’Donnell to get a palm to it, but could only manage it over the bar.

With that the full time whistle was blown and Na Fianna. are through to the semi-final, but as Philly McMahon said on punditry for RTE: “They fell over the line.”

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