Queen’s University 3 Dundela 3 (a.e.t. Dundela win 7-6 on penalties)

Steel & Sons Cup quarter final

This was a big game with a place in the Steel Cup semifinal up for grabs. Queen’s last played in the semi-final in 1968 against Larne, who were by far the strongest team in Intermediate football at that time. The first game was a draw, no penalty shootouts in those days, and Larne won the replay before going on to beat Glentoran 2nds in the final. This was the first of four consecutive Steel Cup victories for Larne.

Conditions were perfect for good football and we got a great game between two well matched teams. From start to finish it was exciting fast paced skillful football from both teams with numerous goal scoring chances for both sides.

After just four minutes, Dundela right back Collins crossed to James Sofley whose goal bound header produced a brilliant save from Queen’s keeper Conor Lally. Sofley broke clear on the right and Lally again denied him with a fine save with his legs. Queen’s Emett Friel was continually testing the Dundela defence with his pace and trickery on the left wing and it was he who opened the scoring after 23 minutes. Ciaran O’Hare played him in and he carried the ball deep into the Dundela box before driving the ball low into the near corner giving Dundela keeper David Ferguson no chance.

The lead didn’t last long. Sofley received the ball on the right side of the box, turned inside and his left foot shot went in at the bottom of the near post. Five minutes later Matthew Ferguson found a surprising amount of space in the Queen’s box and slotted the ball under Lally to give his side a lead which they held until the break despite further good chances for both teams.

The high tempo continued in the second period and soon Dundela extended their lead. They hit a long clearance out of defence and Mattie Burrows, who looked offside, ran on, rounded Lally and shot into the empty net. Queen’s responded well and increasingly dominated the game. They got one back when Ferguson punched the ball from a corner. It landed 25 yards out and Matt Hughes volleyed it home through a ruck of players. Queen’s equaliser came from O’Hare who was in the right place when Ferguson could only parry Nathan Jones effort. For Queen’s, Kevin Hagan’s 25 yarder hit the inside of the top of the far post but somehow stayed out.

Neither team could find a winner in the extra twenty minutes and Dundela went on to win the shootout by 7 to 6.

It was heartbreaking to play so well but lose in the end.

Next game is away to Banbridge on Sat 5th Nov KO 2pm