MUNSTER JUNIOR CUP 31.12.2005
Togher Rovers 2 Wilton United 2
(Togher won 5-4 on penalties, after extra time)
Centre-forward Pakie O’Connor was the scoring ace for Togher Rovers who claimed their place in the 4th round of the Lucozade Sport Munster Junior Cup – a home draw against Limericks’ Corbally United – with a 5-4 shootout win over gallant underdogs Wilton United in wintry conditions at Pfizer’s Park on Saturday afternoon.
O’Connor smashed in a double as Togher, a goal down at the break, turned the tables in the second half and took the lead. But Wilton keeper Ian Dooley saved a penalty to keep them in it and, despite having a man sent off, they came back to take the tie to extra time.
The penalties fairly flew in during the shootout and Togher got a break when Wilton's fifth was saved by John Punch and that allowed the experienced O’Connor apply the final blow.
Togher had major claims for handball in the box turned down before Wilton took the lead in the 22nd minute. Then skipper Paul O'Mahony, so close to a goal in the opening minutes, got away from a sleepy defence to head Stephen Daly’s past Punch.
O’Mahony, after good work by John O’Mahony and Fergal Kelleher, went close with a 39th minute drive as his side continued to have the better of the first half.
It as all change after the interval and, in the 56th minute, O’Connor headed home from a corner, awarded after another of his headers had forced Dooley into a good save.
Midway through, O’Connor struck again, his time after a long free in by Billy McCarthy broke to him, thanks to challenge by strike partner Keith Gahan.
Togher should really have wrapped it up in the 69th minute. Then outstanding midfielder Aidan Murray was brought down, the Wilton defender was sent off for the last man tackle, but McCarthy’s penalty as well saved by Dooley.
While Wilton were not out of it, the traffic was still very much towards their goal and, after a good header forward by sub Liam O’Donovan, a 73rd minute rocket by Gahan was just off target.
Time was running out for Wilton but they equalised with eight minutes to go when Daly's deflected pile-driver wrong-footed Punch.
Still time for Togher and two minutes later, Murray hit the side-netting after a return pass by O’Donovan. And Wilton were very lucky in the 88th minute when a snap shot by scorer O’Connor crashed off the post and rebounded into the hands of a relieved Dooley.
The cold rain was lashing down by now and the players wouldn’t have fancied extra time. But they , and referee Damien O’Mahony, gave it their all as they had throughout the ninety minutes. Still there was no sign of a breakthrough though a penalty box lob by Togher sub Brian Linehan raised Togher hopes for an instant before landing on the roof of the net.
The shootout was of a very high standard. Fair play to Togher’s McCarthy. The man who had seen his normal time spotter saved by Dooley stepped up as the Togher number three in the shootout and calmly whacked his effort to the net and that set the scene for O’Connor’s expertly taken final spotter.
Togher Rovers: John Punch, Austin O’Connor, Andy Keegan (captain), Keith Edwards, Billy McCarthy, Danny Cooper, Aidan Murray, Jason Walsh, Damien O’Leary, Keith Gahan and Patrick O’Connor. Subs used: Alan Harte for O'Leary (65th minute), Liam O’Donovan for Walsh (72nd, injured) and Brian Linehan for Cooper 81st, injured).
Wilton United: Ian Dooley, John O’Mahony, Brian Kelly, Tomas Hayes, Tom Murphy, Anthony Buckley, Stephen Daly, Phil Haly, Paul O’Mahony (captain), Fergal Kelleher and Eric McCarthy.
Referee: Damien O‘Mahony.