FAI Cup R3
Date: 7:30 p.m. June 5, 2010
Venue: Leah Victoria Park
Ultimately this was a game that was decided by defensive errors although it was difficult to tell if Salthill’s left back Gearoid O’Leidhinn had done anything wrong when Hafeez Sholola tumbled to the ground as both players jockeyed under a high ball in the 24th minute. But the referee thought he had and, to the delight of the home crowd, he awarded a penalty that Trevor Moylan converted confidently.
It was perhaps unfair on Salthill who had made most of the running up to that point, the muscular Burke causing a good deal of concern in the Tullamore box and strong running from O’Leidhinn and Shane Browne down the left flank testing Moylan and Scott Delaney in the home defence.
Tullamore goalkeeper, Joe Mooney, looked increasingly uncomfortable under high balls as Salthill picked away at the home sides confidence during an opening half that was scrappy and unpredictable.
On the half hour mark Mooney took two attempts to collect the ball under a strong challenge from Burke and then, moments later, he came for a Luke McConnell corner and missed. Mike Quirke collected the loose ball and slipped a pass to Brian Geraghty whose curling shot cleared the crossbar.
As time went on the home defence grew increasingly nervous and manager Jimmy Greene would have been willing the half time whistle to sound. Tragically for Greene it didn’t come in time. In the second minute of stoppage time O’Leidhinn ran to the byline and flung in a cross that Mooney only succeeded in palming away. Fortunately the loose ball fell into space. Unfortunately the young ‘keeper chose to follow it out of his box and play it down the line instead of into the trees.
It landed at the feet of Paddy Quinlan who sent it arcing back over Mooney’s head and into the box where Shane Browne’s shot was flicked into the net by the forehead of Charlie Burke and Salthill were level.
The second half brought two early chances for Tullamore to restore their lead. Mick Goodings thrashing a shot over the bar from an excellent pass by Michael Hoey and a stinging free from Moylan forced Ronan Forde into a good save at the foot of his left hand post.
But in the 59th minute it was Salthill who hit the front. A typically strong run and cross from O’Leidhinn was headed home by the unmarked substitute Mike Kennedy who had been on the pitch for less than a minute.
Four minutes later it was all over. Another McConnell corner was met by James Whelan but as his header drifted wide an infringement had been spotted and once again the referee was pointing at the spot. Burke duly made it 3-1 to Salthill and, although Tullamore fought on and finished well, a comeback was never really on the cards.
A Scott Delaney header and a looping shot from Stephen Francis might have made a contest of it but so too might Burke, Shane Stenson and Shane Browne have made Salthill’s victory more emphatic.
So the league’s bottom club advance to the fourth round of the FAI Cup for the first time in their history and a tired and bruised Tullamore must shelve their Cup dreams for another year.
Tullamore Town: Joe Mooney; Trevor Moylan, Scott Delaney, Brian Francis, Alan Corboy (Michael Kenaney, 65); Hafeez Sholola (Fergal Gorman, 84), Stephen Duffy, Stephen Francis, Michael Hoey, Jason Pohl; Mark Goodings (Gary Buckley, 70).
Subs not used: Dean Molloy, Simon Keegan, Marty Halloran, Stuart Kavanagh
Bookings: Sholola, Hoey, Francis.
Salthill Devon: Ronan Forde; Paddy Quinlan, Brian Geraghty, James Whelan, Gearoid O’Leidhinn; Sean Boyle, Luke McConnell (John McGrath, 76), Mike Quirke (Shane Stenson, 71), Shane Browne; Charles Burke, Sean Murphy (Mike Kennedy, 58).
Subs not used: Gerry Dolan, Marty Mannion
Extratime Man of the Match: Luke McConnell.
Referee: C Fitzgerald
Attendance: 250 (estimate).