Mervue Utd complete League and Cup double

Date Published: 09-Jun-2011

Mervue Utd 2

Athenry 1

The Galway District League Junior season came to a close on Wednesday night in Terryland Park as Mervue Utd’s Junior A side captured the Michael Byrne Cup for a staggering seventh time in 10 years for the club following a hard earned 2-1 win over Athenry.

It was a fitting finale to a long junior season that the two sides who had fought out the Premier Division league title race would meet in the decider. Mervue had claimed that league title after a 1-1 draw with Athenry in their final game of the campaign, while Athenry captured the Connacht Junior Cup for a second successive year, so both came into the game on course for a double.

The first half proved to be a very scrappy affair with little in the way of clear cut chances as the long hard season seemed to be taking its toll on both sides, with pass after pass going astray. Mervue created the first good move of the game on 11 minutes when Stephen Larkin and Derek McWalter combined well down the left before the latter laid the ball off to Miko Nolan who struck his effort just over from the edge of the box.

Athenry’s Alan O’Donovan strode past two defenders in the 18th minute before delivering a dangerous ball into the box with Ger McGrath slicing his clearance goalwards, only for the alert Ryan Griffin to save under the post with Bryan Mannion lurking.

O’Donovan then had a well struck free-kick deflected away for a corner just past the half hour, while at the other end a Darvin Dowling free-kick resulted in a goalmouth scramble which eventually saw Gary Delaney collect a Keith McHugh effort to avert the danger.

Three minutes from the break Griffin produced a smart save down low at his near post from a well executed Seamie Crowe free-kick as the opening period finished without a goal. That all changed pretty quickly after the break, as just past the hour mark saw a flurry of goals in a seven minute spell.

Mervue hit the front on 61 minutes after a quickly taken free-kick from Robert Connolly released sub Stephen Cunningham into the box only for Robbie O’Grady to haul him down. Referee Ger Cahill had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Dowling coolly sent Delaney the wrong way with his low effort into the corner.

Athenry were back on level terms four minutes later as Declan Cullen powerfully headed home inside the box from a pinpoint Crowe free-kick delivery. All of sudden the game had come alive and within three minutes Padraig Kilgannon’s side responded again and were back in front.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.