Edenderry Town 4
Mervue United 2
EARLY indications were that this was going to see a comfortable FAI Youth Cup success for Mervue Utd on Saturday as the visitors controlled matters, but poor finishing undermined some good approach play.
Mervue’s wastefulness continued and the home team struck against the run of play when Cian McMonigle fired Edenderry ahead on 34 minutes.
Mervue responded when Ryan Manning got on the end of an Aaron McDonagh delivery to power home a header and tie up matters.
Eoin Walsh then came close to putting Mervue ahead when he got on the end of a Manning lay off, but Edenderry goalkeeper Cain Brereton pulled off a magnificent save to keep the sides level.
The resumption started well as Mervue controlled matters in a confident manner and were rewarded when Manning set up Walsh to finish from close range for a 2-1 lead.
However the concession of a soft penalty on 51 minutes was to be the start of a rapid collapse. Edenderry equalised from the spot kick and worse was to follow for Mervue when a poor defensive clearance resulted in McMonigle completing his hat trick.
Chasing the game, Mervue left themselves open to the Edenderry counter attacks and the game was really up when Rory McNamee added a fourth on 61 minutes to set up a home semi final against Cork side Castleview.
East United 0
Mervue United 1
When Aidan Naughton got on the end of a splendid Denis Lydon cross with just two minutes left, his volley from ten yards looked goal bound until it struck the back of team-mate Tony Kelly to deflect was seemed a certain equaliser out for a goal kick.
It was such a moment that could have clinched a league title for the visitors as the Premier Division leaders hung on to an early lead goal from Stephen Cunningham.
That breakthrough came after just two minutes when right full Eric Browne fed the striker and after side stepping a defender, Cunningham fired past Anthony Ryan for an early winner.
In a hard fought derby clash at Castle Park, East gave as good as they got against Mervue. Mark Griffin found the side netting, while Christian Ryan was a constant threat throughout.
The introduction of Paul Sinnott in the second half added a touch of class to the visitors’ challenge and some silky footwork culminated in the midfielder bring a smart save from Ryan. Derek McWalter also tested the custodian, before Tommy Walsh and Cunningham failed to add to their tally in late rallies.
East were not without their moments as Luke Deacy fired wide, while left full Peter Hession dragged a close range shot wide of the far post.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.