Mervue Utd advanced to the third round of the FAI Ford Cup at the expense of their city neighbours SD Galway as second half goals from Pat Hoban and Etanda Nkololo were enough to see them into hat at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.
In a poor opening half the hosts will be disappointed that they didn’t take any of the several good chances they created, while the visitors failed to have a shot on target in that first period as they failed to show any of spark that saw them score three times last week.
SD Galway’s Tommy Bradshaw went close on a number of occasions as he was the stand out player in that opening half but faded badly in a second period were Mervue improved and showed a clinical touch as they took two of only three chances that they managed to create.
Bradshaw shot badly wide after only three minutes when left unmarked, while Jason Molloy could only find the side netting at the other end on 11 minutes after he cut in from the right to create the shooting opportunity.
The home side had three decent opportunities within eight minutes when firstly Bradshaw delayed his effort on 26 minutes when put through by Luke McConnell’s pass as Ronan Forde raced off his line to produce a good block to deny the left winger.
Then on 32 minutes Bradshaw met a Ronan Conlon right wing cross with a first time volley when left totally unmarked again but that well struck effort flew just over Forde’s crossbar. Two minutes later and Bradshaw turned creator when he crossed from the left but lone striker Charlie Burke headed wide from close range.
They were to rue those missed chances after the break as Johnny Glynn’s side improved and signalled their intentions within three minutes of the re-start as Pat Hoban’s low strike finally hit the target for the visitors but debutant keeper James Keane produced a fine save down low to keep the game scoreless.
James Casserly headed a Shane Keogh free-kick straight at Keane on 55 minutes before Mervue struck for the opening score. Another Keogh delivery three minutes later, this time from a corner kick, to the front post was met by a firm header from Pat Hoban who directed the ball past Keane for 1-0.
Keogh had another free-kick saved by Keane just past the hour mark, while Hoban’s turn on the edge of the box on 66 minutes ended with a shot that flew over Keane’s crossbar. A flurry of substitutions followed as the game became very scrappy for a period.
The home team thought they had levelled matters with seven minutes remaining when Mervue failed to clear properly and the ball fell to Eugene Greaney whose first time shot was directed past Forde by former Mervue player Mike Tierney’s head but from an offside position as the assistant’s flag was raised.
That let off seemed to spur Mervue on again and they made sure of the outcome four minutes from time. Alan Murphy did well, pushing the ball past two defenders before spreading the ball across the park to sub Etanda Nkololo who cut inside fullback Colm Horgan and unleashed a low drive into the bottom corner past Keane.
Mervue advance as Galway’s representative in the last sixteen of the FAI Cup as they secured the city bragging rights at least until the side’s meet again in a month’s time in the first game after the mid-season break at Fahy’s Field. This win was also Mervue’s first win in the FAI Cup since they defeated Longford Town in January 1987 when they knocked out the current First Division leaders as a non-league club courtesy of a Tony “Ginger” Collins goal 25 years ago.
SD Galway: James Keane; Colm Horgan, Cian Fadden, Eric Browne (Brian Geraghty 68), Eugene Greaney; Michael Tierney, Ronan Conlon, Willie Enubele, Luke McConnell (Michael Harty 68), Tommy Bradshaw; Charlie Burke (James Whelan 76)
Subs Not Used: Liam Grant (GK), Timmy Molloy, Enda Curran and Gerry Dolan.
Booked: Greaney (54).
Mervue United: Ronan Forde; Michael McSweeney, Mike Elwood, James Casserly, Marc Ludden; Jason Molloy, Gary Kelly (Barry McEntee 72), Noel Varley (Stephen Walsh 88), Shane Keogh, (Etanda Nkololo 64); Alan Murphy, Pat Hoban.
Subs not used: Conor O’Malley (GK), Kevin Crehan, Mike Collins and Alex Lee.
Booked: Varley (22).
Referee: Conor Fitzgerald (Dublin)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Mike Elwood (Mervue Utd). The captain was commanding at the back for the winners.