Dave Donnelly reports from Whitehall Stadium
Second-half goals from Bradlee Hand and Matt McEntee saw Home Farm through to the last 16 of the FAI Intermediate Cup at the expense of Liffey Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.
Liffeys led from the early stages when Sam Simpson seized on a defensive error, but the tie turned on its head when Home Farm were awarded a contested penalty early in the second half.
The versatile McEntee bundled home the winner on the counter-attack 15 minutes from time, and the 2017 winners saw Aidan Roche sent off in injury time as frustration got the better of them.
The home side lined up with three at the back and the two wing backs pushed high up the field, and they had some joy early on with the direct approach.
A long ball out of defence found wing back McEntee in space on the right, and he cut inside before planting a well-struck shot into the chest of Liffeys keeper Philip O’Connor.
Disaster struck moments later, however, as a loose pass to the evergreen Ollie Cahill was picked off by Simpson, and the former Bluebell striker calmly sidefooted into the unguarded corner of the net.
The home side had an immediate chance to respond as Christy Doran swung a corner in from the right but Niko couldn’t find the target with his header.
Home Farm’s back three, despite having a spare man, was struggling to deal with the movement of striker Aidan Roche.
And it was last year’s Intermediate Player of the Year’s backheel that opened up the space for Simpson, cutting in from the right, to drill a shot straight at Mark Osborne.
A foul on Lee Roche presented the free kick specialist with an opportunity to double Liffey’s lead midway through the half, but the wideman couldn’t keep his effort down.
The hosts’ best chance of the first half fell to wing back Fintan Kearns, who found himself in space when a deep cross wasn’t dealt with, but his shot was clawed out of the top corner by O’Connor.
Lee Roche had another chance to get on the scoresheet when a long ball forward ran through to leave him one-on-one, but the keeper was out smartly to save.
And Lee Roche laid it off to his younger brother Aidan moments later, but the striker’s well-struck volley was straight at the keeper.
Home Farm did finish the half strongly, and striker Niko had a shot on the turn blocked by Dylan Roche, while James Duff headed wide with the last action of the half.
Liffeys stormed out of the blocks in the second half and Lee Roche’s inswinging free kick was flicked on by Daniel O’Connor, but Osbourne in the Home Farm goal watched it all the way.
And he watched his side draw level moments later as a seemingly innocuous through ball was claimed by Philip O’Connor, and the keeper led with his leg, catching Dylan Malone.
The referee had no hesitiation pointing to the spot, and carding the Liffeys netminder, and Hand stepped up to send him the wrong way from 12 yards.
A clash of heads between Doran and Liffeys captain Carl O’Brien saw the latter go off with a cut head, and Niko almost took advantage of the extra man with a sweet volley that was well-saved.
Liffeys had a great chance to regain the lead when Lee Roche found a third brother, Dylan, with a drilled cross, but the defender caught the ball too flush and headed past the post.
Simpson saw his low drive tipped past the post as Liffeys continued to look the more likely to score, but they were dealt a sucker punch on the break soon after.
Home Farm broke quickly down the left and Hand saw his shot well-saved by Philip O’Connor and, despite protests that he was offside, McEntee turned in the loose ball from close range.
Aidan Roche bent a shot just wide as Liffeys sought an equalizer, while Lee Roche was left holding his head when he chested down in the box but, on the stretch, he couldn’t turn his shot goalward.
The visitors introduced striker Mario Dolan late on in a bid to force the game but they struggled to pay between the lines and Home Farm’s back three were comfortable dealing with long balls.
Aidan Roche saw red for two incidents of dissent inside 30 seconds, but there was time for one last chance, however Glen O’Connor couldn’t steer his header on goal.
Home Farm: Mark Osbourne; James Duff, David McGrath, Padraic Gilsenan; Mattie McEntee, Ollie Cahill, Christy Doran, Bradlee Hand, Fintan Kearns; Niko (Dean McNevin 81), Dylan Malone (Eoin Murray 70).
Subs not used: Peter Halpin (gk), Packie Davis, Sean Goulding.
Booked: Niko (81).
Liffey Wanderers: Philip O’Connor; Anto Gray (Stephen O’Sullivan 90), Dylan Roche, Daniel O’Connor, Glen O’Connor; Carl O’Brien, Aaron Montgomery, Adam Deegan (Mario Dolan 77); Lee Roche, Sam Simpson, Aidan Roche.
Subs not used: James Mooney (gk), Dean Young, Jamie Wilson, Conor Riddick, Aaron Payne, Christopher Moore.
Booked: Adam Deegan (38), Philip O’Connor (47), Aaron Montgomery (75), Anto Gray (83), Aidan Roche (90+2, 90+3).
Sent off: Aidan Roche (90+3).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Christy Doran (Home Farm).