St Peter’s magnificent season continued last weekend when Philip Coffey’s men got the better of local rivals Moore United in the fourth round of the Connacht Cup.
Played in wintry conditions at Lecarrow last Sunday afternoon (February 11 ), the Saints had one foot in the quarter finals by half-time. Leading by three goals to nil at the break, the hosts relaxed somewhat on the resumption of play, allowing Moore to get back into contention. Failure to make the most of the chances presented to them proved costly for United, as the Saints held out to advance.
With the destiny of the Premier Division title now in their own hands, attention for the Saints turned to provincial level and success in the Connacht Cup. Form suggested this might be an easy passage for the home side, as they remained unbeaten in domestic competition prior to this game. Moore, in contrast, were struggling for consistency and languished in a mid-table position. An earlier four-nil win for the Saints made prospects even bleaker for Padraig Moran’s team.
The home team dominated the early stages and were full value for their lead with just 10 minutes played. Mark Sherlock, who was involved in all three goals, crossed for Noel McGee, who made no mistake with a cool finish.
Ten minutes later the Athlone outfit doubled their advantage, with Sherlock finding the net on this occasion. The tie looked over as a contest with just half an hour played when Sherlock grabbed his second, being set up by Mark Hewitt. The Saints headed off for the break with one foot in the quarter finals but would have to play the second half with 10 men after Hewitt received a straight red card late in the half.
Moore were much improved on the resumption of play and with a bit of luck could have been closer to the winners when the final whistle eventually sounded. Goalkeeper Aidan Browne pulled off a great save early in the half as United came back out with all guns blazing.
The comeback continued with Scott Delaney called upon to clear another good Moore chance to safety. Had either effort gone in, a nervous final 20 minutes could have followed for the Saints. A cutting edge up front has been lacking for Moore all season. In contrast, Peter’s had been scoring for fun, with five players finding the net five or more times so far this campaign.
There are still a number of major obstacles remaining in the way of the Saints and cup glory as the field is now whittled down. Heavyweights such as Mervue United and Castlebar Celtic are still in contention, while Carbury United from Sligo are also tipped as possible winners.
Domestic action resumes for both teams at the weekend as the Saints pursuit of the league title continues with a home game against neighbours St John’s Athletic. Moore have little chance of recovering from their cup exit as they face league leaders Castlerea Celtic, also at home.