FAI Cup R3
Date: 8 p.m. June 3, 2011
Ryan Brennan also got on the score sheet as the First Division side ruthlessly exposed the defensive weaknesses of their opponents in the first half. Everton played for pride in the second period and secured some with much more robust protection of their goal, and a late consolation strike when Roy Long’s effort was turned into his own net by United centre-half Aidan Collins.
Everton had dropped hints of a possible upset with a brisk start to the game during which John Desmond almost caught United keeper Gabriel Sava napping from a free-kick. But United were soon probing their defence clinically and finding gaps which they could exploit. In the 20th minute John Reilly found space on the right and floated a cross for O’Brien to head powerfully home off the underside of the crossbar. Two minutes later, Fabio struck again, finishing from close range after a combination between Paul Whelan and Sean Brennan had pulled the Everton defence apart.
Everton custodian Shane Sherlock bravely denied Jason Marks a Mons third as the home side, despite losing talisman Sean Brennan to a 29th minute injury, continued their offensive momentum.
O’Brien turned supplier in the 35th minute, knocking a prodigious Sava clearance into the path of Ryan Brennan, who slipped the ball home to virtually end the game as a contest.
The second Brennan brother made way for the second period as United boss Roddy Collins chose to run the rule over young local prospect Kevin Loughran, who was soon joined on the pitch by Cavan youngster Jimmy Fallon A 49th minute Gavan Walsh free-kick forced a save from Sava but the main Everton emphasis was on shoring up their defence and keeping what was a more low-key Mons attack at bay.
A timely Desmond intervention denied O’Brien his hat-trick in the 55th minute, and a minute later a bullet header from Alan Byrne flew just past the Everton post. The Cork side found some rare attacking space in the 83rd minute and made full use of it, a flowing passing move ending with Roy Long’s shot taking a heavy deflection off Aidan Colllins and nestling in the net for a consolation.
But O’Brien was not to be denied his claim on the match ball. A minute later, he rose in the box to meet Eric Foley’s corner with a powerhouse header that beat Sherlock all ends up.
Monaghan United: Sava; Whelan, A Byrne, Collins, Grimes; Reilly, Tierney (Fallon 64), R Brennan (Loughran 46), Marks; O’Brien, S Brennan (Foley 29).
Subs not used: Isichei, Haran, Fitzgerald.
Everton: Sherlock; Devine, Byrne, White, O’Leary (Fitzpatrick 70); McGrath, Desmond, D Daly (Connolly 89), R Long; D Long (T Daly 70), Walsh.
Subs not used: P Crowley, Bullman, S Crowley.
Referee: Darren Coombes