ST PETERS 3 MAREE/ORANMORE 2
St Peters are through to the fifth round of the TP Brennan Connacht Cup after narrowly beating Maree/Oranmore in Iona Park last Sunday afternoon.
Padraig Moran’s men looked to have eased past the Galway outfit when leading by three goals to nil but two penalty kicks narrowed the lead to the bare minimum. Maree/Oranmore piled forward for the closing stages but were unable to force extra time as the Saints survived.
Two early corner kicks fell the visitor’s way while Conor Duignan had the first home chance but sent a long-range effort wide. The Galway team earned a further corner but the Saints struck first after ten minutes. Mark Hehir’s shot was blocked but Mark Sherlock regained possession on the right to round the keeper and fire home off a defender.
The visitors had lots of chances to draw level but John Latchford, Matthew Barrett and Kaelan Hickey all spurned good opportunities. Poor defending again proved costly when the hosts doubled their lead after 33 minutes. A left-wing cross was not dealt with and Aiden Ward forced the ball home from close range.
Kevin Dunne came close to making it three but was off target following a Daragh Concannon free kick. The visitors replied through Barrett and Hickey but the two goal advantage was carried into the break.
The Saints looked to have booked their passage into the last 16 with a third goal just six minutes after the break. It was a controversial decision as the referee adjudged Hehir was fouled just inside the penalty area. The visitors argued otherwise but the decision stood. Concannon stepped up and although Daniel O’Neill got his fingertips to the ball was unable to keep it out.
The tie looked over but another penalty just before the hour mark gave the visitors some hope. Eoin Roche sending the keeper the wrong way with his spot kick. Maree/Oranmore were now in upbeat form and Duignan did well to clear a shot from Declan O’Dea off the line.
The visitors certainly had enough chances throughout to win the tie but were let down by some dreadful finishing. Brendan Tully was particularly guilty as he fired off target from three good chances. The Saints still looked secure as the tie entered the closing stages but the Galway team were not finished just yet.
Tension increased when the lead was cut to the bare minimum in the penultimate minute. A third penalty kick was awarded when Barrett was fouled. Roche again took responsibility and made no mistake leaving Aidan Fallon rooted to his line. Extra time was now looming large as the tie headed into stoppage time.
Goalkeeper O’Neill joined the attack for a corner kick as all the players crowded into the home penalty area. The danger was obvious but yet again the visitors could not even hit the target as Barrett fired over. The referee added on nearly five additional minutes but the home defence held firm as the Saints march on to the last sixteen.