CORINTHIANS CUP QUARTER-FINALBlarney Street Athletic 0 Watergrasshill United 1 28.05.06
John Dorgan’s early strike and then a determined defensive performance helped put visitors Watergrasshill United into the semi-finals of the Murphy’s Stout Corinthians Cup at the expense of Blarney Street Athletic at Monard on Sunday morning.
In fact, neither side reached any great heights in a poor game. While the Street did most of the attacking, they found the Hill defence up to the challenge.
Keeper John O’Keeffe is not the biggest but he is sharp and alert and quite brave. That back four took everything Blarney Street had to offer for half an hour after the goal but then suffered a big blow when Moss O’Keeffe limped off injured.
They were vulnerable then and for the first 15 minutes or so of the second half when the home team more or less camped in the Watergrasshill half. But the Hill mentors then made a master switch. Donal O’Shea was brought back to play in the centre of the back four and Kieran O’Callaghan was once again free to play at right back.
Hill immediately settled and the lively Garry Coughlan, who had been darting forward on the left and setting up chances for the Street, now found his way blocked and was regularly seen working back in midfield.
Watergrasshill’s big improvement after the switch didn't mean that the Street were out of it. One goal is never enough and veteran Ger Cronin tried everything as they sought that elusive equaliser.
But Hill were steadier now. Willie O'Leary stuck out a long right leg as he halted promising attacks and when the Street did get through keeper O'Keeffe was not to be beaten. The winners rode their luck from time to time but held out to book their place in Friday’s semi-final.
In the 4th minute, Watergrasshill attacked up the left and Sean O'Leary got in behind to pull the ball back into the path of Dorgan who swept it home from eight yards or so.
It was a good start for Dorgan but he would have quite a lonely morning upfront as Blarney Street piled on the pressure after the goal. They came close to scoring in the next minute when Ger Cronin sent Colin McKeown in but keeper John O'Keeffe made the first of many good saves.
Still, there was no great danger again to the Hill goal, until the injury enforced departure of Moss O'Keeffe. Five minutes later, Coughlan played Gary Kerrigan in but keeper O’Keeffe again made a fine stop.
Seven minutes into the second half, O’Keeffe made a great save from a snap shot by Mark Bennett and then Coughlan missed from close in before sending over a couple of potent crosses that weren't availed off.
Hill soon made their defensive change and full back O’Callaghan enjoyed a purple patch. But Hedderman scuffed his shot when clean through and then an O’Callaghan cross was just too far ahead of Dorgan.
The hard-working Cronin thought he’d equalised for Blarney Street in the 64th minute but his header was taken off the line by Morgan Foley.
O’Callaghan provided regular relief for the visitors but crosses, in the 66th and 65th minute, was just a few feet ahead of O’Shea and then of scorer Dorgan.
The impressive Owen Cremin got through on the left for the Street but his dangerous cross was well taken by the under pressure keeper.
The Street forced three corners in injury time and the third, by Cronin, was bravely claimed by keeper O’Keeffe and soon the final whistle blew.
Blarney Street Athletic: Jason Downey, Owen Cremin, Roy Halloran, Garry Kerrigan, Denis O’Sullivan, Wayne O'Leary (captain), Ger Cronin, Mark Bennett, Gary Coughlan, Colin McKeown and John O’Riordan. Sub used: Vince Thompson for Cremin (82nd minute, injured).
Watergrasshill Utd: John O’Keeffe, Morgan Foley, Kieran O’Callaghan, Moss O’Keeffe, Willie O’Leary, Kieran Foley, Billy Hedderman, Kieran Coakley, Donal O’Shea, John Dorgan (captain) and Sean O'Leary. Subs used: John Barton for M. O’Keeffe (34th minute, injured) and Niall O’Riordan for Dorgan (90th, injured).
Referee: John Linehan.