Village Utd 1 Kilmichael Rovers 1
(Village win 8-7 on pens)
VILLAGE United won 8-7 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to reach the second round of the AOH Cup following a hard-earned victory over League 2 side Kilmichael Rovers at the Mayfield United all-weather facility.
And they have their goalkeeper Tomas Butler to thank after he saved three penalties and scored the winner over the sudden-death shoot-out that followed extra time.
Although Village had the lion’s share throughout, Kilmichael persevered with their resilience and desire to keep battling away until the end.
Village threatened early on when Stephen O’Donnell tried to find Colin Hickey with a cross, but a sharp Mark Healy spotted the threat and came off his line to pick confidently.
And after Kilmichael’s Luke Hackett failed to direct his header from Mark O’Callaghan’s free kick, Village nosed in front when a superbly struck effort by Tony Kelly flew into the roof of the net to hand Village the advantage after ten minutes.
Kilmichael responded with good build up play and it took a timely interception by Graham Cummins to cut out a through ball by James Moynihan that was destined for the available Danny O’Connell.
Then, when Village defended from a corner, Colin Hickey hoisted a pass out to Stephen O’Donnell who set off down the right channel before lifting his effort over from a tight angle.
O’Donnell was presented with another chance when Graham Cummins picked him out with an accurate pass, but once again, the right midfielder fired wide with his angled effort.
At the other end, Kilmichael’s Con Dunne found himself with space near the edge of the box, but hesitated enough to allow Village’s defence to crowd him out promptly.
Dunne had a good chance minutes later when he was played in by Kevin Murphy, but Tomas Butler advanced off his line to produce an important save.
Play shifted promptly to the other end and when Graham Cummins played it on for Colin Hickey, it took a superb tackle by Mark O’Callaghan to save the day for Kilmichael.
Dean Hickey did thread one on for Tony Kelly, but after swivelling near the edge of the box, he fired wide with a low effort.
Kevin Murphy had a good chance for Kilmichael, but instead of pulling the trigger, he went for a pass and the chance went.
Then, just before the break, what a chance Kilmichael had, but Con Dunne dragged his effort inches wide of the far post.
Kiniry did some terrific work to win back possession before helping on to Tony Kelly who knocked it sideway for Stephen O’Donnell to bring a decent save from Mark Healy at the expense of a corner.
Kiniry was producing a man-of-the-match type performance in midfield and not for the first time, he brought a good save from Mark Healy with his stinging effort.
Kilmichael weathered the early storm over the first ten minutes of the second period and Con Dunne was allowed swivel inside the box before firing straight at Butler.
But, it was all square again on the hour when Con Dunne set James Moynihan up to produce a fine finish to the bottom corner and restore parity once again on the hour.
Village responded and Tony Kelly was unlucky not to have got a vital touch near goal as Healy managed to collect.
But, in the end, it took the dreaded penalty shoot-out to decide the outcome and it was here that Village proved more accurate with an 8-7 victory to advance.
VILLAGE: Tomas Butler, Kyle Quinn, Graham McCarthy, Stephen Thompson, Graham Cummins, Nathan Kepple, Colin Hickey, Anthony Kiniry, Tony Kelly, Dean Hickey and Stephen O’Donnell.
Subs: Aaron Smith for Dean Hickey (77), David Malone for Kyle Quinn (91).
KILMICHAEL: Mark Healy, Danny O’Connell, Mark O’Callaghan, Denis Murphy, Blake Ring, Alan Murphy, Kevin Murphy, Luke Hackett, James Moynihan, Patrick Creedon and Con Dunne.
Subs: Denis Healy, Jack Murphy and Patrick Buckley for Danny O’Connell, Alan Murphy and Patrick Creedon, (half-time), Camaron Murphy for Kevin Murphy (75),
Referee: Jim Hennessy.