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Konopka Heads to FAI Cup Final
October 25, 2009

Former Jersey Shore Boca standout Chris Konopka played a full ninety minutes between the pipes Sunday afternoon as Sporting Fingal FC saw off the Bray Wanderers 4-2 at Morton Stadium in the club’s first ever appearance in the FAI Cup semi-final. The Boca alum has secured a date in the FAI Cup final on Sunday November 22 at Tallaght Stadium in South Dublin in which he will try to capture back-to-back FAI Cup medals.
Konopka Heads to FAI Cup Final

Goalkeeper posts 4-2 semi-final win against Bray Wanderers

American keeper seeks back-to-back Cup silverware

DUBLIN, Ireland (October 25, 2009) – Former Jersey Shore Boca standout Chris Konopka played a full ninety minutes between the pipes Sunday afternoon as Sporting Fingal FC saw off the Bray Wanderers 4-2 at Morton Stadium in the club’s first ever appearance in the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Cup semi-final.

With the win, Fingal and Konopka secured a date against the Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup final on Sunday November 22 at Tallaght Stadium in South Dublin.

Sligo defeated Waterford United 1-0 on Friday night in the other semi-final.

Fingal got off to the perfect start when Eamon Zayed volleyed home Alan Kirby’s cross from the left to put the home crowd in good voice with just four minutes gone.

Sporting kept piling the pressure on and never looked likely to cede possession to the Seagulls.

In the 10th minute, Zayed scored again, this time tapping in from close range. Zayed then turned provider on 21 minutes when he set up Kirby with a cross for the midfielder to slip home the third Fingal goal of the day.

For the remainder of the first half Bray seemed to be able to hold Fingal off a bit better, but couldn’t keep the ball in the Fingal third of the pitch.

Dane Massey had Bray’s first shot on goal in the 42nd minute, as Konopka was forced to parry the ball behind his goal to end the first forty-five minutes 3-0 in favor of Sporting Fingal.

Former Jersey Shore Boca goalkeeper Chris Konopka calls instructions to his Sporting Fingal defenders in the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Cup semi-final match on Sunday October 25 at Morton Stadium in the northern suburbs of Dublin. Konopka and Fingal posted a 4-2 win over Bray Wanderers to secure a spot in the FAI Cup Final in November.(Photo courtesy Paul Walsh Photography-Ireland).

The second half began similar to the first with Fingal controlling most of the midfield.
In the 74th minute a free kick was awarded to Bray just outside the Fingal penalty area and was magnificently converted past the outstretched Konopka by the Seagull’s Gary McCabe.

This goal gave Bray a renewed confidence as they looked to rescue the game in the final quarter.

Bray’s hopes of a comeback were dashed when Robert Bayly added to Bray’s woes with seven minutes left when he lobbed the Bray keeper to make it 4-1 and all but secure their place in the Cup final.

A late error in the 92nd minute by Fingal’s defensive back three allowed John Mulroy to grab a consolation goal for Bray, but it was to be Konopka and Fingal’s day with a 4-2 win and chance to bring home silverware in the FAI Cup final.

Konopka signed with Sporting Fingal on July 28 and made his first team league debut against Monaghan United on October 2 securing a 2-2 draw in the full ninety minutes.

The Toms River native also featured on October 17 with a 4-0 shut-out of Longford Town also going the full match in League of Ireland competition.

Fingal currently sit in second place, 5 points behind UCD in the League of Ireland first division standings with 66 points and 2 games remaining in the regular season and are pushing for promotion to the premiere division.

Konopka spent last year with Bohemians of Dublin winning two medals with the 2008 League of Ireland Premiere Division and FAI Cup champions.

It is believed that Konopka is the first American born soccer player in history to ever win the “Irish Double” last year and now has his sights set on back-to-back FAI Cup medals, which would certainly be another first in the history of Irish soccer.

Sporting Fingal was established in late 2007 as part of the Fingal County Council Football Development Plan and became licensed to compete in the League of Ireland First Division in 2008.

Former Republic of Ireland international Liam Buckley, who was on the books of Spanish giant Racing de Santander early in his playing career, is the first team manager while John Devine, capped 30 times for the Republic of Ireland who also appeared in 111 matches for Arsenal of the English Premiership from 1974-1983, is Fingal’s first team coach.

League of Ireland veteran goalkeeper and former Shamrock Rovers standout Robbie Horgan directs the Fingal goalkeepers.

Konopka spent his first professional season in 2007 with the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer.

At the collegiate level, the New Jersey born Konopka starred for four years (2003-2006) between the pipes at Providence College in Rhode Island and finished as one of the top goalkeepers in Friar history.

In his senior year, Konopka garnered All-Big East Second Team accolades becoming only the second keeper in Friar history to receive All-League honors.

He capped his college career by becoming the first player from Providence College to be drafted by a Major League Soccer team when the Wizards selected him in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft.

A long-time Jersey Shore Boca Soccer Club veteran, Konopka was a member of Boca’s youth system, Super Y-League, U20 and U23 teams throughout his career as well as a member of Boca’s Premiere Development League team in 2003.

Konopka is a 2003 graduate of Toms River East High School.

The Jersey Shore Boca Soccer Club has been a fixture in the soccer community since 1978 and is one of the oldest and most respected soccer clubs on the East Coast.

The club is celebrating their 31-year anniversary in 2009.

For more information on the Jersey Shore Boca Soccer Club, visit the Club’s official web site at