FAI Cup R2
Date: 2:30 p.m. April 17, 2011
Venue: Avondale Park
The game was played in glorious summer sunshine but, as a contest, it took a while to warm up. Avondale dominated the early stages. Eoghan Lougheed and Mark O’Sullivan looked lively down the left while their five man back line limited Pike’s ability to provide possession to their front men.
However it was the Limerick side that created the first genuine opportunity when Wayne O’Donovan’s free kick from 25 yards out was expertly tipped over the crossbar by Avondale ‘keeper Dane Murphy.
Three minutes later striker Mark Cronin broke through at the other end but was denied by a superb saving tackle from Colm Enright and from this point on the tide turned in Pike Rovers’ direction.
On the half hour mark Michael Ahearne picked up a short free kick and sent a cross towards the back post that Pike forward Pat Moloney just couldn’t reach. Five minutes shy of half time defender Brian Cleary delivered another cross, this time from deep on the left, that Moloney did reach, flashing a header inches wide of the Avondale goal.
The start of the second half saw more pressure from Pike as they carved out several openings early on. Dermot Phelan played in Dave Ryan after only two minutes but Murphy was down sharply to block the striker’s effort and Phelan’s shot off the rebound was smothered by Paul Triggs.
Phelan was again the provider when he headed a Cleary free kick across goal only for Ryan to head straight at Murphy from six yards. And moments later Pat Moloney was close to creating another chance when he skipped past Mark Horgan at the end line and was harshly judged to have dived after being sent tumbling to the ground.
Pike continued to look the more dangerous as the game went on and Wayne O’Donovan sent Ryan through with a well judged chip over the top on the hour mark but the forward lifted his attempted lob high over Murphy’s bar.
In the 63rd minute James Cummins reminded everyone that Avondale still had a stake in this game when a move down the left presented him with a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box. His dipping drive arced inches over the Pike crossbar.
It was a warning that Pike would have done well to heed as O’Sullivan and Cronin in particular continued to cause problems down the left flank. And with 73 minutes gone that was where the breakthrough came from. Mark Cronin, having worked hard to create space, whipped a low cross in from the end line which Pike defender Edward O’Donoghue could only deflect past his own ‘keeper at the near post.
As time ebbed away Pike threw everything forwards, and in the 87th minute their pressure told. Substitute Hanrahan and full back Ahearne had played some lovely football on the left to create a chance that was belted clear by a saving Avondale boot. But from the throw in the ball again fell to Hanrahan whose shot from 15 yards had enough power to fly past Murphy and earn the visitor’s a well deserved draw.
Avondale United: Dane Murphy; Rob White, Mark Horgan (Michael Doody, 70), Paul Triggs, Declan Cahill, Eoghan Lougheed; James Cummins, Ken Bruton, Mark O’Sullivan; Colin O’Brien (David Spratt, 82), Mark Cronin.
Subs not used: Michael Kiernan, Dave O’Keeffe, John Cotter, Karl Caulfield, Gerald Dobbs.
Bookings: Cummins (44), Cronin (79).
Sendings Off: None.
Pike Rovers: Gary Neville; Michael Ahearne, Colm Enright, Brian Cleary, Edward O’Donoghue; Colm Carroll (Eoin Hanrahan, 70), Dermot Phelan, Dave O’Grady (Wayne Colbert, 77), Wayne O’Donovan; Dave Ryan, Pat Moloney (Conor Kavanagh, 62).
Subs not used: Ronan Power, Pat Mullins.
Bookings: Moloney (53), O’Grady (58).
Sendings Off: None.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: Wayne O'Donovan.
Referee: John Lyne.
Attendance: 50 (estimate).