The fifth round of the prestigious FAI Junior Cup took place last weekend with five Tipperary clubs battling their way into the last thirty-two of the competition - Clonmel Celtic, St Michael's, Clonmel Town and Galbally United all won at home while Nenagh Celtic made the arduous trip to Mayo and beat Iorras Aonthaithe one-nil.
Nenagh Celtic are the sole survivor in the competition from the North Tipperary & District League and were distinct underdogs against Iorras Aonthaithe, but a Mark Walsh goal in the opening half helped to propel Celtic into the last thirty-two.
St Michael’s 6-0 New Ross Town
After getting a serious scare last weekend in the final round before the Open draw Tipperary South & District League champions St Michael’s made no mistake when dispatching Wexford League side New Ross Town at Cooke Park on Sunday, hitting the South East team for six in the process.
Right from the very start the home side looked up for this game and they made all the early running before opening the scoring in the ninth minute when the hero from the BT Harps game finished off a cut back from John O Brien, flashing home from ten yards out. Whatever nerves that the Saints had were well and truly settled by the 18th minute when a shot by Jimmy Carr took a wicked deflection past Ross 'keeper Daryl Walsh, doubling the home side’s lead.
The Saints finally got the third goal ten minutes into the second half when Ollie O'Driscoll capped a fine performance when finishing off another sublime Carr cross. The game got a bit ragged after this with the visitors visibly tiring and looking deflated, but Michael’s were intent on putting down a marker for the rest of the competition and did so by adding three more goals. Jonathon Kennedy has proven to be a good addition to the wider squad this year and made it four with a powerful header fifteen minutes from the end while two late goals from last year’s youths Alan O'Donnell and Luke Quinn really put a gloss on the scoreline.
Clonmel Celtic 3-0 Courtown Hibs
Clonmel Celtic are in the hat for round six after overcoming Wexford Premier League side Courtown Hibs on a three goals to nil scoreline last Sunday afternoon. The home side were on top from start to finish.
Similarly to the previous round Celtic made the ideal start and were a goal up after only two minutes. A purposeful run from captain David Joyce brought him to the end line and his precision cross found Brian Waters advancing just outside the box to strike a fierce drive to the corner of the net. Celtic should have doubled the lead six minutes later when Evan Maguire avoided a few tackles and he set up Joyce who couldn't keep his effort on target.
The home side continued to probe, looking the more dangerous side and they finally got their second just before the half hour mark. Good work from Ian Barnes in the middle saw him find Ian Clery who cut inside and curled a sublime effort just inside the post. Celtic were dealt a blow on the half hour mark losing the lively Evan Maguire through injury, but Seanie O'Hara provided some consolation minutes later with a fine solo effort. He twisted and turned inside the box before firing low to the net to put his side in total control.
With a three-goal lead at the break the home side took the foot of the pedal in the second half. They were content to concede possession to the visitors, but truth be told they never seriously threatened to get back into the game.
Overall this was a very good performance with some future stars blooded and a sense that the Clonmel side could yet be a dark horse in this year’s competition.
Clonmel Town 1-0 Ardee United (aet)
Clonmel Town also booked their place in the last thirty-two of the FAI Junior Cup On Sunday thanks to Keith Guiry’s neat finish just five minutes into first period of extra time after this tie finished scoreless in normal time.
It was the home side that raced out of the blocks from the get go however. Just after their first attack the in-form Cillian Crowe raced clear into the box and was upended by the full back. Referee John Hadnett had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, but Ardee 'keeper Robert Sampson made a great save from Keith Brown leaving the home side to wonder would they rue such a golden chance to take an early lead.
To their credit, however, they kept to their task and were a constant threat to the visitors. However Ardee posed their own threat with Ross Gaynor and Paul Matondo showing well for the Louth outfit.
The sides went in at the break all square and the second half was more of the same as both defences were on top.
As the clock ticked away Town could have stolen it on a number of occasions with David McGrath, Kyle Farrell and Keith Guiry all going extremely close to finding what would have been a winner in such a tight game.
Extra time loomed and with five minutes gone a sweeping move saw the McGrath brothers combine and pick out Guiry at the back post, to slot home past Samson in the visitors goal, sending the home supporters wild.
Ardee increased their pressure and missed two glorious opportunities through Matondo to equalize but it was to be Town’s day.
Galbally United 3-2 Glin Rovers (aet)
Indifferent league form was put to one side on Sunday as Tipperary South & District League division one side Galbally United the fourth side from the Tipperary league to make it through to the last thirty-two with a fine extra time win over Limerick outfit Glin Rovers.
A brace from substitute Ger Quinlan and another from Bernard O’Brien proved too much for the visitors despite Darren Sheahan grabbing two goals himself for the away side.
The first half had little write home about as both defences were on top throughout, but the second half was packed with entertainment. Three minutes in the home side were awarded a penalty after Jamie Morrissey was felled in the area and Bernard O’Brien stepped up only to see his effort excellently saved by the Rovers net minder.
Galbally continued to press, but could not break the deadlock despite two great efforts from Darren McGrath, the first of which cannoned off the woodwork. They were dealt a huge blow as the visitors opened the scoring in the 67th minutes when Sheahan was on hand at the back post to flick the ball into the net.
Galbally replied by bringing Ger Quinlan onto the pitch and it immediately paid dividends as he fired and unstoppable thirty-yard drive into the top corner to level proceedings and send the game into extra-time.
Quinlan bagged his second goal of the game in the first half of extra-time from an acute angle after some great work from Jamie Morrissey. Rovers would not give up, however, and found themselves level on the stroke of half-time as Sheahan headed home from a corner.
The game seemed to be heading for penalties, but it was not to be as Bernard O’Brien got the winner three minutes from the end making up for his earlier penalty miss and sending his side into the sixth round in the process.
The respective rounds of the FAI Junior Cup are scheduled for the following dates: round six (January 1st) and round seven (February 4th) - the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final take place from March onward.