Togher Rovers 2 Village United B 1

AOH CUP 16/4/06

Togher Rovers 2 Village United B 1
(after extra time)

Togher Rovers scored two top drawer goals as they came from behind to defeat a gallant second division Village United B 2-1 in Sunday morning’s Murphy’s Stout AOH Cup tie at Silverheights.  But overall the Premier A visitors failed to sparkle and were within seven minutes of a shock exit to the underdogs.

Village led from the opening minutes of the second half and looked like going through until experienced Togher full back Austin O'Connor equalised. Togher did have the edge in extra time and booked their place in the next round with a sweetly struck Daniel Cooper free kick.

Cooper might well have scored as early as the 6th minute but his firm drive after a neat pass by skipper Pakie O’Connor was well held by home keeper John Lynch who played soundly throughout.

Trevor O'Mahony went close for Togher with a well hit free and then had a shot deflected for a corner, which was well caught by Lynch.

The Togher defence were turned midway through, the work done on the right by Village skipper Alan Daly. His cross was also a good one but centre-forward Francis McNamara got under the ball and headed over from six or seven yards.

Then a Village corner broke to Harry Noonan but his effort was blocked at close quarters. In the 25th minute, a long range drive by Jason Walsh, a hopeful one, had keeper Lynch at full stretch and he just managed to touch it over and was then relieved to see Keith Gahan’s glancing header from the corner flash just wide.

It was a generally scrappy game on a hard uneven surface but Togher did manage to string a few passes together in the 34th minute. Damien O'Leary started the move and, after the involvement of Pakie O’Connor and Walsh, came in at the far post but his header went straight to Lynch.

Village took the lead in the second minute of the second half. Ciaran O’Connor’s free into the box was helped on by Daly and John McNamara took full advantage of some hesitancy in the Togher defence to knock the ball past John Punch.

Togher huffed and puffed after that but generally failed to unsettle the home defence, though O'Leary did see his 57th minute header from a corner taken off the line by Francis McNamara.

The southsiders were losing their shape and going nowhere until experienced subs Nigel O’Callaghan and Richard “Minty” Fitzgerald were introduced.

And former schoolboy international Minty was involved as they equalised in the 82nd minute. He took a pass from the hard working Walsh and his diagonal ball into the danger area was fired high into the net by raiding full back Austin O’Connor.

O’Callaghan came close to getting a goal for himself eight minutes into extra time. Lynch, under pressure from the incoming Pakie O’Connor, took his eye off the ball and his rare error allowed the ball run wide to Austin O’Connor. O’Callaghan met his cross by the far post but keeper Lynch had by then recovered his position and made the save.

Two minutes later, Austin set up another great chance with a cross from the right but the incoming Walsh mis-cued and the ball spun horribly wide of the sticks.

Togher were now on top and got the winner five minutes into the second period of extra time, a period that started with Lynch saving well from a Walsh shot on the turn.

The home keeper did manage to get a hand to Cooper’s flying 20 yard free kick but the power in the shot was too much for Lynch and he just couldn’t manage to keep it out and Togher could at last breath easily. It was a deserved victory in the end but one that Village made them work hard for.

Village United: John Lynch, Paul Hickey, Mark Kiely, Harry Noonan, Clive Hurley, Brian O’Callaghan, Alan Hickey, Ciaran O’Connor, Francis McNamara, Alan Daly (captain) and John McNamara. Subs: Paul Kelly for Noonan (58th minute) and Brian Cronin for J. McNamara (107th).
Togher Rovers: John Punch, Austin O’Connor, Trevor O’Mahony, Billy McCarthy, Keith Edwards, Jason Walsh, Danny Cooper, Keith Gahan, Patrick O’Connor (captain), Damien O'Leary and Colin Fielding. Subs used: Nigel O’Callaghan for Fielding (65th minute), Richard Fitzgerald for O'Leary (76th) and Derek Cullinane for O’Mahony (81st).

Referee: Damien O’Mahony.