Crumlin Star won the Match Intermediate Cup after a dogged and often inventive display against Queen’s University.
A goal from substitute Paul Prigent deep into added time in the second half was enough for the Amateur League Premier Division champions to take the trophy to north Belfast.
Queen’s, who had already won the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League this season, were favourites going into tonight’s final at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park but Star prevailed after stifling their opponents and playing some slick football.
In winning the Irish Football Association Intermediate Challenge Cup the north Belfast side completed a treble. Last month they won the NAFL Premier Division crown for the third year in a row, and they have also lifted the Border Cup this term.
The game sprang to life in the ninth minute when Star’s Gary Lavery fired in a power-packed free-kick from 25 yards which stung the palms of Queen’s goalkeeper and captain Declan Brown, who managed to push it over the bar.
A minute later Queen’s striker Connor Mulholland fluffed his lines when, after losing his marker, he failed to connect with a clever through ball eight yards out.
Ciaran Murphy shot over the top for Star before Lavery was at it again. This time he made a penetrating run down the middle before unleashing a shot which Brown again managed to push over the bar.
Murphy had the ball in the net after 16 minutes but his effort was ruled out as he was deemed to be in an offside position when the cross he stabbed home was delivered.
Star lost their captain Kevin Trainor to injury in the 19thminute – he was replaced by Patrick McIlkenny – but it did not upset their rhythm as they buzzed around the Queen’s players and gave them little or no time on the ball.
Five minutes later Murphy played a neat one-two with fellow Star striker James Doyle inside the area but Murphy screwed his shot wide.
As the half drew to a close Queen’s midfielder Benjamin Mulgrew shot wide and then left-back Adam Robinson blasted an effort past the upright.
The cup holders started the second half with more purpose. Substitute Ronan Young fired in a dangerous free-kick towards goal which Star keeper Shane Harrison did well to push away.
In the 59thminute two other Queen’s subs almost carved out the opener. Barry Walsh teed up Ryan McCready 14 yards out but he shot wide of the target.
Queen’s continued to probe but Star kept them at bay with their right back and man of the match Breandan O’Neill particularly busy - and effective.
On 73 minutes Star forward Murphy had a shot from an angle blocked and then Queen’s winger Christopher Middleton, who was starting to get the better of Star left back Aidan McNeill, had a powerful cross punched away by Harrison.
The winner came in the 93rdminute. Club captain Barry McKervey, who had only been on the pitch for 30 seconds, fired in a corner low and hard and another sub, Paul Prigent, smashed the ball into the net to make it 1-0 – and that was enough for Star to claim the trophy.
Crumlin Star: Shane Harrison, Breandan O’Neill, Aidan McNeill, Niall Hawkins, Ciaran Burns, Joseph McNeill, Mark Lyons, Kevin Trainor (captain), James Doyle, Ciaran Murphy, Gary Lavery. Substitutes: (used) Patrick McIlkenny, Paul Prigent, Barry McKervey; (not used) Miguel Chines, Noel Halfpenny.
Queen’s University: Declan Brown (captain), Joshua Corry, Adam Robinson, Daniel Hanna, Matthew McManus, Leon Bonnes, Christopher Middleton, Benjamin Mulgrew, Connor Mulholland, Philip Traynor, Matthew Hughes. Substitutes: (used) Barry Walsh, Ronan Young, Ryan McCready; (not used) Ciaran O’Hare, Lorcan McIlroy.