FAI Junior Cup Final Report: Pike Rovers 1 - 1 North End United (North End win 5-4 on penalties)Sun, May 13 2018
Cian Hartford reports from the Aviva Stadium
For the second time in three years it was FAI Junior Cup final heartbreak for Pike Rovers as they lost out to North End United on penalties on Saturday afternoon.
Gary Delaney scored the winning penalty after it finished all square after extra time, Stephen McGann of Pike having cancelled out Paul Murphy's first-half penalty.
It was a fairly quiet first half, with neither side creating many real chances. Both sides kept looking to try establish a foothold in the game but they traded possession on and off throughout the period.
Rovers came close to beating the North End Backline at times with long balls, but they never fashioned any real chances from them.
The closest they came was on the half hour mark when a Wayne O’Donovan cross was headed over the bar by Paddy O’Malley.
North End had a chance of their own a few minutes later when Jason and Paul Murphy played a one-two on the edge of the box before the latter fired over the bar.
Just two minutes before the interval, however, the Wexford side would get the opportunity to take the lead.
After sloppy play in the Pike Defence, Paul Murphy picked up the ball and made his way into the box before being tripped by keeper Gary Neville.
Murphy himself stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to give North End the lead going into the break.
Despite being behind on the scoreline, Pike were the better team in the second half.
An opportunity presented itself just after the hour mark after Eoin Hanrahan had his shot on goal deflected out for a corner after a scramble in the box.
Pike got their much deserved equalised just two minutes later when Colin Daly danced his way into the North End box before laying it off to Steven McGann who slotted it under the keeper.
Minutes later Pike nearly scored again when Cian Collins got in behind the North End defence.
He was beaten to the ball by keeper Lee Walker in a foot race, but the clearance fell to Colin Daly who managed to lift the ball over the stranded keeper but not the recovering North End defenders.
Rovers continued to push, they came close when the ball was thrown into Collins in the box who turned his man sharply inside the box before shooting at the near post.
Keeper Lee Walker was equal to it however and pushed it out for a corner.
North End didn’t get their first real chance in the second period until the 70th minute when Paul Murphy made a fantastic run from midfield into the Pike Box before laying it off to Adam Beery who mistimed his shot and sliced over.
Pike threatened again a few minutes later when the ball was played into Collins in the box, he found space to turn but shot tamely at the keeper.
Neither side were able to find a winner so extra time was needed.
The first period of extra time was a short, nervy affair, the only chance that coming for North End when Paul Murphy lifted a 25-yard free kick just over the bar.
The second period played out much the same way the first did, with neither side taking risks and creating minimal chances.
North End came so agonisingly close to snatching victory at the end when they had a header from a free-kick cleared off the line by Pike’s Warren O’Donovan.
That proved to be the last chance of the game, so penalties were required to separate the sides.
Daly's firmly hit penalty was saved well by North End keeper Walker and, after all the rest were scored, the pressure was then on Delaney to score his last penalty.
He stepped up and buried his penalty to send the travelling North End support into hysterics, confirming the Wexford side as winners of the FAI Junior Cup for 2018.
Pike Rovers: Gary Neville; Wayne O’Donovan, Patrick Mullins, Wayne Colbert (Darrah Carrol 60), Edward O’Donovan; Eoin Hanrahan (Jason Mullins 19 (David Ryan 100)), Shane Walsh, Steven McGann, Paddy O’Malley (Cian Power 81); Colin Daly, Cian Collins.
Subs Not Used: Adam Lipper, Brian O’Callaghan.
North End United: Lee Walker; Warren Broaders, Decky Downes (Adam Beary 65), Gary Delaney, Dale Flynn; Kyle Dempsey, Lee Wadding-Byrne (Paul Murphy II 80), Keith Kearney, Robin Dempsey (Gary Byrne 46); Paul Murphy, Jason Murphy (John Fenlon 73).
Subs Not Used: Andy Moore, Dylan Owens.
Referee: Derek O’Shea
Extratime.ie Man of The Match: Paul 'Spot' Murphy (North End United).