FAI Cup R3
Date: 8 p.m. June 29, 2010
First Division form team United came storming back against their A League opposition to take a deserved lead into half-time. But some conservative United play in the second half led to a tense final act in which only Gabriel Sava’s dramatic added-time save from Greg Sykula guaranteed that the Mons advanced to an away date with Cork City Foras Co-op in the next round.
Carlow had the start cup underdogs dream about. Sykula exploited slackness in the United defence which was compounded when defender Brian Gartland hauled the Carlow striker down in the box. Captain Adam Byrne dispatched the penalty impressively.
Shaken United stirred themselves and soon had their opponents very much on the back foot. Carlow keeper Gavin Dowling came into his own with a string of outstanding saves, tipping Cathal O’Connor’s firm drive on the run over the crossbar and somehow blocking away Philly Hughes’ close-range volley.
Dowling also got his fingertips to Don Tierney’s effort from the edge of the box. When Monaghan managed to draw level, it was also from the penalty spot. Sean Brennan was fouled in the box, and Karl Bermingham stepped up to put United very much back in the game.
Shane Keegan’s side lost a little of their composure after that. They were defensively naïve in the 40th minute when Don Tierney’s pass out of defence saw Philly Hughes outpace their static backline, and produce a purposeful finish to beat the advancing Dowling.
The keeper was Carlow’s salvation as the half ended, turning away Hughes’ firmly struck free-kick. The visitors produced some nice, composed football early in the second half and were assisted back into the game by United being content to play on the counter. But when the Mons broke forward it was with purpose, Sean Brennan cracking a shot onto the underside of the crossbar in the 69th minute.
Hughes then scorned a great chance to seal the game, rounding Dowling with style but somehow contriving to poke his shot wide with the goal at his mercy. The introduction of Shane Clarke enlivened Carlow and they mounted a great effort to take the game into extra time. James Dermody struck a fine shot from distance that forced an alert save from the previously under-employed Sava.
The game entered added time with the Mons very much on the defensive. Sykula popped up on a crowded box in the final seconds to get his head to Alan Wren’s cross but Sava rescued the First Division side with an excellent reaction save.
Monaghan United: Sava; Collins, C McMahon, Gartland, Costigan; O’Connor, Tierney, Byrne, Brennan (Hanaphy 72); Bermingham, Hughes.
Subs not used: Clarke, D McMahon, McCrossan, Flynn, McKevitt, Grimes.
FC Carlow: Dowling; Wren, Byrne, Browne, Dermody; C Hore, Phelan, Murphy (Walker 71), Hickey (Clarke 63); Sykula, Phelan (Brennan 71).
Subs not used: F Hore, Duncan.
Referee: P Caschera