MERVUE United certainly appear to have the Indian sign over Athenry at the moment as Gareth Gorman’s side registered their second major cup victory over Seamie Crowe’s charges in Connacht Junior Cup mid-week action.
Previously drawn together in the FAI Junior Cup and from where Mervue emerged winners of a penalty shootout, the sides also faced one another in the opening round of the Connacht Junior Cup and the outcome was again the same as the home side prevailed by 2-1 under lights in Fahy’s Field.
A close range Eoin Concannon goal gave the home side an opening half lead, before Joey Byrne latched on to a through ball to fire home the equaliser. Enjoying the greater amount of possession, Athenry had a great opportunity to take the lead when awarded a penalty before the break, but Colm O’Donovan’s effort struck a post.
With the respective goalkeepers Peter Healy and James Healy impressing and making scores hard to come by, the tie remained level at the end of normal time.
However, in the opening half of extra time, Simon Walsh fired home the winner for Mervue and despite Athenry offering a huge threat, they were not able to rescue matters once more as the home side prevailed by 2-1 and, in the process, set up a Third Round tie against Ballymoe FC.
For Athenry to find themselves crashing out of the FAI Junior Cup, Connacht Junior Cup and Michael Byrne Cup (beaten by Renmore) in the opening round is nothing short of disastrous and while they lead the Premier Division table by seven points, they now have just 11 league games to look forward to for the remainder of the season.
Scoreless at the break, Loughrea did their best work in the second half to record an impressive 2-0 away Connacht Cup win over Ballina Town. They opened their account courtesy of a Darren Creaven shot, before Thomas Hoban headed home an Bruno Enrique cross for the second. Their reward in the next round is a home contest against Westport United on Sunday.
Moylough 79 will also face Mayo opposition this weekend when they host Castlebar Celtic, following a 4-2 success over Cois Farraige in Carraroe on Sunday. Marcus Finn, Michael Kelly, Gerard Donoghue and Liam Carty were all on the mark for the visitors, with just Ciarán Ó Droighneáin and Chris Beatty finding the range for the Connemara side.
Two up at the break, matters looked to be going the way of Bohemians as goals by Sammy Omokua and James Nolan had them in command as they led Ballisodare by 2-0. However, the home side produced a solid recovery to level matters at 2-2 and send the game to extra time and it was here that the Sligo side pressed home their advantage to secure a 4-2 win.
While the games played at the weekend were contests postponed before Christmas, this Sunday will see almost a full schedule of Third Round games down for decision, with St Bernard’s and Maree/Oranmore going head to head in Abbeyknockmoy, while Merlin Woods/Medtronic make the journey West to face MacDara in Carraroe in just two all local ties.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.