Goals from Dave Warren and Danny Long booked Avondale United an FAI Ford Cup quarter-final tie against Finn Harps as they beat St Michael’s of Tipperary 2-0 in Carrigaline on Saturday evening.
The game was played at a fearsome pace throughout and the two teams provided the small crowd with a wonderfully entertaining cup tie. At times tempers threatened to boil over and referee Keith Callanan issued nine yellow cards and two reds, but despite this it was game defined by competitive spirit rather than any sense of malice.
Callanan also awarded two penalties during the match, both to St Michael’s, and both were missed. Captain James Walsh saw his spot kick saved by Avondale ‘keeper Daniel O’Leary when his side were just one goal in arrears, and Russell Quirke smacked his penalty against the crossbar in the latter stages of this absorbing contest.
Avondale enjoyed a perfect start to their evening when Dave Warren drilled home after just four minutes. Mark Horgan played a through ball that deceived visiting goalkeeper Aaron Wall by holding up on a surface of relatively long grass. Having raced from his goal Wall found himself unexpectedly at the mercy of Warren, who made no mistake and put the Intermediate Cup holders ahead,
Avondale’s three-man back line dominated St Michael’s attempts to get back on terms while Graham McCarthy and Ray Lally dictated the tempo in midfield. And Dvid O’Keefe’s side almost extended their lead after 19 minutes only for Wall to execute an excellent tip-over from Danny Long’s well placed shot to keep his team in it.
St Michael’s should have levelled the scores after 29 minutes when Ray Lally was adjudged to have handled Paul Breen’s fierce shot and the visitor’s were awarded their first penalty. But Walsh’s well placed kick, low and to the right, was beaten away by Daniel O’Leary.
‘Vale defender Mark Horgan came close just after the half hour with a header that slipped narrowly over the bar and his side deserved their half-time lead, but the Tipperary side came into it much more in a thrilling second period.
David Slattery spurned a decent chance just two minutes after the restart when he failed to connect cleanly with a volley from ten yards out, and there was no-one to get on the end of Russell Quirke’s driven cross just two minutes later.
St Michael’s also had a loud shout for handball after 51 minutes when Quirke’s free kick appeared to strike the hand of Michael Mulconry while Kelvin Connolly came close at the other end with a fine shot on the turn that tested Wall.
The game became thrillingly even as the second half progressed but Avondale landed a killer blow on 76 minutes when Long was on hand to finish from a tight angle after the ball had been worked through the visitor’s penalty area from the opposite side of the pitch.
But St Michael’s refused to throw in the towel and Slattery came close with a header from Quirke’s cross on 79 minutes. But any hopes they had of recovering a two goal deficit suffered a body blow when right-sided midfielder Jimmy Carr was sent off with eight minutes remaining.
Having been booked for what Mr Callanan deemed to be a dive, Carr must have said something untoward and was immediately shown another card, prematurely ending his contribution to proceedings.
There was still time for one more bit of drama, however, and with five minutes on the clock Paul Breen directed a header past O’Leary only to see Mulconry palm it up off the line and onto the crossbar. Callanan blew immediately but amid vehement protests he consulted with his linesman before, once again, pointing to the spot.
This time it was Russell Quirke who assumed responsibility but he crashed his effort off the ‘Vale bar. And so Avondale progress to the quarter-finals where they will face First Division Finn Harps in a home tie.
Avondale United: Daniel O’Leary; Mark Horgan, Michael Mulconry, David Spratt; Greg Kelly, Ray Lally (Stephen Daly 70), Graham McCarthy, Eoin Lougheed; Dave Warren; Kelvin Connolly, Danny Long.
Subs not used: David O’Keeffe (gk), Dave Kiely, Barry O’Sullivan.
Booked: McCarthy (38), Warren (41), Lally (52), Kelly (63), Lougheed (67), Horgan (85).
Sent Off: Mulcrony (87).
St Michael’s AFC: Aaron Wall; Colin Bargary, Paul Breen, James Walsh, Brian Buckley; Jimmy Carr, Thomas cooper Fahey, Richie Ryan, John O’Brien (Pat Quinn 59); David Slattery, Russell Quirke.
Subs not used: Derek Breen (gk), Darren McGrath, Michael Ryan, Michael Fitzgerald, Darren Lynch, Elliot Thompson.
Booked: Fahy (30), P Breen (67), Carr (82).
Sent Off: Carr (82).
Referee: Keith Callanan.
Attendance: 100 (estimate)
Extratime Man of the Match: Mark Horgan (Avondale United).