THOUGH the inclement weather might have interrupted the weekend schedule, there was no shortage of goals in the contests played,as 35 were scored in just four games in the Connacht Junior Cup.
Two games, in particular, provided compelling contests, as the holders Athenry crashed out in dramatic fashion when conceding a late winner as they exited by 6-5 against Castlebar Celtic on the all-weather in Mervue.
Out in Abbeyknockmoy, St Bernard’s came from behind on four occasions as they shared the spoils in a 4-4 draw with Mervue United, before the home side prevailed by 3-1 on penalties.
While Barry Moran finished on the losing side despite notching a hat trick, another man with no scoring problems was Darren Creaven, who hit a double hat trick as Loughrea dismissed Mayo side Killala United with ease.
Colemanstown United looked like they had done enough to send their game in Sligo to extra time, but unfortunately for Gerry Moran’s charges, Ballisodare United notched a late winner in a 3-2 success.
St Bernard’s 4
Mervue United 4
(Aet- St Bernard’s won 3-1)
A little like Leicester across channel, St Bernard’s have struggled to reach the heights and standards they set in the league last season, but for some reason cup action appears to bring out the best in them.
On Sunday last, they needed everyone singing off the same hymn sheet as they advanced to the last 16 of the Connacht Junior Cup, with the type of performance that typified the spirit in the club.
To the credit of the visitors, they also impressed in a good contest that saw the city side take the lead on four occasions and while Moran notched a hat trick, only a smashing save by Denis Farragher denied him adding a fourth from the penalty spot.
The goal fest kicked off on 13 minutes when Simon Walsh applied the close range finish following a Kevin Fitzpatrick delivery, but rapidly Jason Finn levelled matters at the other end with a cracking strike past Lorcan Doyle.
Just past the half hour mark, a Moran free kick from out at the side of the penalty box made it through a crowded goalmouth to end up in the net for 2-1. On 40 minutes, another Finn shot took a deflection off a covering defender and wrong footed Doyle to end up in the other corner to make it 2-2. The last action of the half on 45 minutes saw Moran give Mervue a 3-2 interval advantage when he side footed home a Simon Walsh knockdown.
St Bernard’s levelled matters on 55 minutes when Shane King buried a long range effort in the top corner for a cracker with his first touch just after his introduction.
Mervue had a great chance to regain the lead on 61 minutes when awarded a penalty for a handball decision that was certainly questioned by the home side, but Farragher dived full length to his left to keep out Moran’s spot kick.
Derek O’Brien thought he had scored on 79 minutes when his effort struck the woodwork before bouncing down on the line, while Eoghan Roche and Jonathan Keane missed opportunities to win it for the home side in the closing minutes.
Extra time and Moran completed his hat trick with a free kick from outside the box, before Roche levelled matters from the spot, after Matty Finn was upended in the box.
The shootout saw St Bernard’s in command throughout as some dreadful penalties by the city side contributed to their exit. As Jason Finn, Jamie Finn and Colin Tracey all scored for the home side, just Kevin Fitzpatrick could find the range for Mervue. Simon Walsh, Derek O’Brien and Tommy Walsh all failed to even hit the target.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.