NEFL | Mullen’s heroics can’t stop Bay from crashing out of Leinster Shield

Leinster Junior Shield | Donacarney 4–4 Bay FC
AET Donacarney won 6–5 on penalties

Bay made their exit from the Leinster Junior Shield in a penalty shootout on Sunday, beaten by fellow NEFL Division Three outfit Donacarney Celtic after a 4–4 draw in Castlemartin.

Damien Bellew’s side won the corresponding league fixture between the clubs earlier in the season with a narrow 1–0 victory and the Rock Road side knew that they would be given a stiff examination by the hosts.

A thrilling first-half saw Donacarney burst out of the traps, testing Kevin Mullen in the Bay goal with a shot from distance and then going close with a header that just went over the bar.

Bay opened the scoring, very much against the run of play, when Robbie Murphy got his reward for chasing a long ball into the box. A fluffed clearance fell at the feet of the Bay winger and his back heel beat the Celtic goalkeeper to find the net.

It was one-way traffic after that as Bay struggled to deal with the pace of the Donacarney attack and the equaliser duly arrived after 20 minutes.

Bay struggled to shake the cobwebs away and moments later Donacarney pulled in front. A goalbound shot was stopped on the line by the hand of Johnny Winters and the hosts tucked away the spot kick to go ahead.

The ding dong nature of the tie continued and Bay pulled level with ten minutes left in the half when a wonderful Paddy Connor delivery was met by Ryan Dillon and his looping header beat the home side’s goalkeeper.

The visitors took took the lead straight from the kick-off when Murphy turned provider for Dillon who hit a half volley just inside the penalty area to move Bay 3–2 in front.

Mullen made a number of great saves to keep the natives out but their pressure eventually told right on the stroke of half time when the Bay netminder was left helpless to stop a fine solo effort.

Bay were much improved in the second half, working hard to close down any space and they edged back in front with 55 minutes played.

Dillon returned the favour to Murphy on this occasion, squaring it for the youngster to rifle the ball into the bottom corner and give Bay the lead again.

The frantic pace of the opening 55 minutes eventually took its toll on the players and the game settled down with few chances created by either side.

The goal that forced extra-time arrived with 20 minutes to go when the Donacarney winger broke the offside trap to make no mistake.

With both sides failing to take their chances in the additional half an hour, the game looked destined for penalties but Donacarney had a chance to win it in the dying stages when their striker was tripped in the box.

The same player dusted himself down to take the penalty but his effort smashed off Mullen’s post and away to safety!

The hosts fared better in the shootout, however, going through to the next round on a 6–5 scoreline even though Mullen saved one of their efforts.

BAY FC: Kevin Mullen, Gavin Toner, Brian McCloskey, Angelo Stanley, Johnny Winters, Alfonso Crespo, Robbie Murphy (Edgar Baros 115), Mark Larkin, Paddy Connor (Robbie Rafferty 35), Ryan Dillon, Mario Kolak (Kevin Scollon 75).

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