Ringmahon Rangers 1 College Corinthians 0
RINGMAHON Rangers are through to the semi-finals of the New Balance FAI Intermediate Cup as they defeated local rivals College Corinthians 1-0 at Ringmahon Park on Saturday afternoon.
Patrick O’Brien’s close-range finish in the 63rd minute was enough to see Ringmahon progress to the last four of the competition where they will now face North Dublin side Killester Donnycarney for a place in the national final.
This game was originally set to be played the weekend previous but due to severe weather conditions caused by Storm Jorge, it was postponed for safety reasons.
There was a strong gale blowing at kick-off and both teams took their time to settle into the contest.
After an uneventful opening period, Corinthians soon took control of proceedings and they created their first goal-scoring chance on 10 minutes.
Andrew Neville picked out the run of Darragh O’Sullivan Connell on the left wing but after he cut inside the penalty area, the striker fired wide of the near post.
O’Sullivan Connell was again involved as his side threatened moments later. His clever pass in behind the defence almost sent Evan Galvin through on goal but Rangers' goalkeeper Eric Grimes was brave and he rushed to the feet of the winger to make the save.
Corinthians are currently sitting mid-table in the Beamish Stout Munster Senior League Senior Premier Division, 11 points behind leaders Rockmount having played a game more.
While their title aspirations may be over, they were keen to keep their hopes of landing this silverware alive and they ought to have taken the lead on the quarter of an hour mark.
Galvin raced down the left and whipped a superb pass across the face of goal but from six yards out front man Evan Browne scuffed his shot and after the ball was cleared, Andrew Neville blasted over from distance.
Ringmahon are much closer to the top of the Premier Division than their opponents as they lie in second just two points off first with a game in hand.
They have won eight of their first ten games and after a slow start, they soon began to show their quality here as a team although Jack Cairns did slice an attempt well wide of the target midway through the half before the excellent Anthony McAlavey directed a half volley over.
In between those efforts, Corinthians created the best opening of the first half but after good build-up play from Galvin and Neville, their number nine Evan Browne’s clever side foot struck the near post.
McAlavey decided to try his luck from the tip-off at the beginning of the second half but his strike sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
But after another tight period in this tense cup quarter-final, the deadlock was finally broken just past the hour mark and it was the hosts who got it.
McAlavey decided to try his luck a bit closer to goal on this occasion and after initially complaining that the wall wasn’t the full 10 yards back, he was desperately unfortunate to see his free from 30 yards crash against the woodwork.
But Patrick O’Brien was the first to react to the loose ball and he prodded his shot across the keeper and into the far bottom left corner much to the delight of the majority of the huge crowd in attendance.
Corinthians had a penalty appeal waved away minutes later and their only genuine opportunity to level the score and force a replay came in injury time but Grimes did well to tip David O’Leary’s fierce drive over as Ringmahon hung on to progress to the semis.
RINGMAHON RANGERS: Eric Grimes, Philip Keane, Jason Forde, Anthony Wolfe, Anthony O’Donnell, Sean Blake, Patrick O’Brien, Anthony McAlavey, Dean Swords, Roy Kenny, Jack Cairns.
Subs: Jordan O’Sullivan for Dean Swords (66), Michael Hammett for Jack Cairns (78), Alan Higgins for Roy Kenny (91).
COLLEGE CORINTHIANS: Shane Sherlock, Killian O’Brien, Andrew Neville, Eoghan Murphy, Sean O’Mahony, Craig Donnellan, Ross Welch, Karl Caulfield, Evan Browne, Darragh O’Sullivan Connell, Evan Galvin.
Subs: Nathan Mason Browne for Ross Welch (71), Robert Geaney O’Brien for Karl Caulfield (71), David O’Leary for Darragh O’Sullivan Connell (73).
Referee: Vinnie Coonan.