St Michael’s 1 Coachford 0 (AET)
THERE was heartbreak for Coachford as they bowed out of the McCarthy’s Insurance Munster Junior Cup after going down 0-1 in extra time to St Michael’s in their semi-final clash at Celtic Park in Clonmel over the weekend.
What a bitter pill for Coachford to swallow after having so many chances — especially in the first 45.
And were it not for some terrific goalkeeping by Adrian Walsh who was man of the match between the sticks for St Michaels, the story here would have been much different.
After Stephen Murray collected from an overhead kick by David Slattery, Coachford threatened straight away when Cialan O’Sullivan knocked it on for Evan O’Sullivan who found space — only to be denied by the advancing St Michael’s keeper.
At the other end, Stephen Murray needed to be sharp also to come off his line in time to smother a through ball that looked destined for Kenny Cunningham.
Then, from a free kick, St Michael’s Jimmy Carr lifted the ball in for Edmond O’Dwyer who looped a header into the arms of Stephen Murray.
But, what a chance fell for Coachford next following a neat move. Matthew Bradley played it on for Evan O’Sullivan who turned before picking out Cialan O’Sullivan in space, but once again, Walsh sprinted off his line to produce another fine block to deny the Coachford winger a certain goal-scoring opportunity.
Another Coachford chance came shortly afterwards when from a throw, Cialan O’Sullivan slipped it on for Evan O’Sullivan who hooked narrowly over.
And following further build up play, Evan O’Sullivan got on the end of a final ball — only to see Chris Higgins throw his body on the line to produce a decent block.
When play switched to the other end, Slattery knocked it back for Edmond O’Dwyer who unleashed a terrific effort that went narrowly over.
Then, came the save of the game. Michael O’Regan got away on the right and swung an inch-perfect cross over for Evan O’Sullivan who sent a thumping header that looked destined for the top corner until Adrian Walsh showed cat-like reflexes to somehow get a hand to it — much to the amazement of the large crowd in attendance.
Coachford were really doing well now, but after Matthew Bradley sent his daisy-cutter narrowly wide, St Michael’s Jimmy Carr was denied by the woodwork when his right-footed effort shaved the bar.
Then, minutes to the break, Cialan O’Sullivan showed determination to get possession of the ball before Adrian Walsh came to his side’s aid once again with another fine block to deny the Coachford winger and bring an end to a first half that saw a Coachford side so unlucky not to have scored.
St Michael’s threatened in the opening minutes of the second half when Cunningham whipped in a cross for Jimmy Carr whose effort was well saved by Stephen Murray. A half chance then fell for Evan O’Sullivan, but his half-hit effort from the edge of the box, never really bothered Walsh.
Then, after Jimmy Carr slammed the side-netting with an effort, what a chance fell for Coachford. Evan O’Sullivan’s delicate flick-on played Thompson into space and with Evan O’Sullivan in support, the striker just needed to return the pass, but left it short and a wonderful opportunity went.
Coachford’s hearts were broken in extra time after David Slattery sent his header crashing into the net to win it in the end for St Michael’s.
St Michael’s: Adrian Walsh, Chris Smith, John O’Brien, DJ Cremin, Chris Higgins, Colm Bardgary, Jimmy Carr, Shane Ryan, David Slattery, Edmond O’Dwyer, and Kenny Cunningham.
Subs: Adam McGrath for Kenny Cunningham (72), Paul Breen for Edmond O’Dwyer (101), Cormac Noonan for DJ Cremin (114).
Coachford: Stephen Murray, Billy Casey, Matthew Bradley, Aidan Buckley, Keith Linzell, Adam Murphy, Evan O’Sullivan, Michael O’Regan, David Thompson, Mark Murphy, and Cialan O’Sullivan.
Subs: Deckie Keating for Michael O’Regan (65), Jack Murphy for David Thompson (72), Darragh Lynch for Mark Murphy (76), Mark O’Connell for Cialan O’Sullivan (78).
Referee: Andy Hall (Limerick DL)
Assistants: Brian Higgins and Ken Gorman (Limerick DL).