CCFL Counties Cup
Willow Park A 3
Temple Villa 2
Villa made the short trip to Willow Park and despite having to play with 10 players for the vast majority of the game made the senior division leaders work very hard to claim their place in the last 16.
Villa got the dream start when Beano Cassells latched on to a James Duignan pass and his cool finish gave them the lead after only four minutes. Willow responded well following the goal but the visitors defended very well with Fergal Murray and Brian Mullarney to the fore, while teenager Joe McMahon made a couple of good saves in the Villa goal.
With 25 minutes gone Villa suffered a major setback when Fergal Murray was red carded for a second bookable offence, having picked up a very debatable yellow card early on. To their great credit, Villa's 10 players held the lead until one minute before the break when some poor defending allowed Willow to draw level.
The early stages of the second interval saw the home side on top in the possession stakes and had all the luck, and after 15 minutes when the referee awarded a penalty for what looked like an accidental clash in the area, Villa keeper Joe McMahon got a good hand to the spot-kick but was unable to keep it out. Ten minutes later, Villa almost equalised when Noel Galvin's cross found John Gaffey whose header went inches wide and two minutes later Willow grabbed their third with a well-taken back post header. For the remainder, Villa went with three at the back and gave it a real go and when Peter Byrne finished well from twelve yards it made for a very exciting final few minutes.
While disappointed at exiting the cup Villa can take a lot from this display coming against the best team in the league and with a little more luck could have caused a shock. Villa now need to get on with their impressive league campagain to date and push on in search of another league title. Villa can also look forward to the quarter-final of the senior cup where they await the winners of Portlaoise and Birr Town.
Villa: Joe McMahon, Gary Flanagan, Michael Donohoe, Fergal Murray, Brian Mularney, Beano Cassells, James Duignan, John Gaffey, Anthony Mularney, Beano Cassells, James Duignan, John Gaffey, Anthony Allen, Gavin Byrne, Noel Galvin.
Reserves: Peter Byrne, Sean Kenny, Brian Hickey, Damien Dolan, Nicky Killane.