Blarney United 2 St Mary’s 3
ST Mary’s advanced to the next round of the New Balance U18 National Cup when the defeated Blarney United in front of a large attendance at O’Shea Park on Friday night.
The Saints made the brighter start to the game. However, they fell a goal behind when Josh Hudner gave the home team the lead on the half-hour mark.
Mary's equalised just before half time with a superb strike by Ronan Murphy. The second half only began when Ryan O’Gorman was brought down in the homes team box, and a penalty was awarded. Alex Hill then stepped up to expertly score the spot-kick for a 2-1 lead.
Things got worse for Blarney in the 68th minute when Josh Roberts gave the visitors a 3-1 lead. Blarney can thank goalkeeper Sean Quinlivan as he had to make some magnificent saves to keep his side in the game in this period.
Then Blarney’s Anthony Butler scored from close range in the 78th minute to reduce arrears 3-2, and set up a grandstand finish, however, the Saint’s held out for a deserved victory.
The Blarney United manager Gavin Kilgore was very gracious in defeat.
"As a team we are very disappointed to lose, but we have no excuses as Mary’s deserved to win.
“We were missing two important players tonight Sean Keane (suspended) and Mike O’Mahony (injured), but I won’t take anything away from Mary’s as they were a much hungrier team all over the park.
"We will now have to put this defeat behind us quickly, as we have some very important league ahead.”
Mary’s manager John Murphy was delighted.
"I’m thrilled for the boys tonight as they put in a terrific performance, and showed great composure at the end of the game.
"I want to congratulate Blarney who were great champions from last year, but I thought we just edged the game.”
The Saints took the game to Blarney from the off with the hard-working Conor Docherty testing Sean Quinlivan twice in the opening 10 minutes of the game.
Murphy had a glorious chance for the Saint’s in the 17th minute when he found himself in a great position, but tamely fired into Quinlivan’s hands. The home team started to settle midway through the half, and Corey Murphy stung the hands of Mary’s keeper Sean Dennehy in the 27th minute.
Blarney took the lead three minutes after when Josh Hudner got on the end of Zach McCarthy’s free kick. The home team could have increased their lead in the 40th minute, but Scott Forrest saw his effort just go over the bar.
They levelled in the 43rd minute when Murphy made no mistake with an excellent strike from the edge of the box.
The Saint’s took the lead a minute from the restart when Ryan O’Gorman was brought down for a penalty, and Alex Hill scored from the spot. Mary’s were now rampantly putting the Blarney backline under all kinds of pressure with their pressing from Docherty and O’Gorman.
Blarney’s Quinlivan then had to make a string of excellent saves from Docherty and the lively O’Gorman, but he was beaten by a superb strike by Josh Roberts in the 68th minute for Mary’s to lead 3-1.
Blarney pushed men forward to try to get back in the game and were rewarded when Anthony Butler scored from another set-piece in the 78th minute to reduce the deficit 3-2.
Both keepers had to make vital saves in the final ten minutes, but Mary’s did enough on the night for a deserved victory.
BLARNEY UNITED: Sean Quinlivan, Cian Connolly, Liam O’Connor, Luke O’Sullivan, Anthony Butler, Josh Hudner, Donnacha Morrissey, Zack McCarthy, Scott Forrest, Corey Murphy, Kevin O’Connor.
Subs: Eddie Murphy for O’Connor (60), Stephen Lenihan for Morrissey (73).
ST MARY’S: Sean Dennehy, Sean Thomas, Alex Hill, Colm Murphy, Ruairi Dennehy, Jake Lynch, Ryan O’Gorman, Colm Thomas-Healy, Conor Docherty, Ronan Murphy, Josh Roberts.
Sub: Calvin O’Donoughue for O’Gorman (83).
Referee: Timmy Kelleher.
Assistant referees: Pat Buckley, Damian Klier.