A dominant Mervue United display was not enough to capture this year’s FAI Youth Cup when opponents Fairview Rangers scored the only goal late in this decider at Jackman Park on Sunday afternoon.
Fairview sub Shane Power’s brillant strike 11 minutes from time won it in the end as he hit a smashing volley over Conor Winn.
Mervue had dominated possession, but never played to the potential shown in previous rounds. Despite carving out opportunities, they failed to capitalise, while Fairview’s single shot in the second period was sufficient to win the honours.
Mervue started well and had the hosts pinned back for the first 20 minutes as they poured forward in search of an opening. They created a host of chances, while Fairview’s first and only chance in the opening half came on 43 minutes when David Crowe got on the end of a Craig Madigan through ball but he fired his effort into the side netting.
An excellent Dan Cunningham delivery from the left on three minutes picked out Pat Hoban but he shot wide of the post. Three minutes later and another Cunningham free kick was flicked on by Hoban for Paul Scally to head wide in front of goal.
An Eric Holland deep cross on 18 minutes picked out Enda Curran and he headed wide of the mark, while another dangerous Cunningham delivery was punched away by Keith McCarthy as Mervue were well on top. A Hoban free kick on the half hour mark was gathered comfortably by McCarthy.
On 39 minutes a Curran corner kick was headed back into the danger area by James Casserely where Hoban’s overhead kick flew just over the crossbar.
A minute into first-half injury time Crowe once again got behind the Mervue defence to shoot under the advancing Winn, but Eric Holland got back to produce a brilliant goal-line clearance to ensure a scoreless first half.
Mervue continued to dominate possession after the break as Paul Scally released Hoban into the box ,but just as he went to pull the trigger Fairview’s Niall Mullen got back to produce an excellent block as the ball flew out of play for a corner.
A Phillip Ryan cross on 57 minutes was flicked on by Hoban to Curran at the back post, but he saw his effort go wide of McCarthy’s post.
At the other end Stephen Frawley shot wide after good play from Dean McNamara on 61 minutes. A flurry of substitutions followed as Billy Lane replaced Paul Smyth and Fairview made two switches as the heat was taking its toll on the players.
One of those changes for the home side produced what was to be the winning strike. A long free kick forward by Aaron Cooney was headed away by Casserely but that clearance was met by a smashing strike by sub Power whose effort flew in over Winn and into the top corner. That strike on 79 minutes was worthy of winning any final.
Mervue created several more chances but a wonderful save from McCarthy denied the Galway side.
Mervue United: Conor Winn, Phillip Ryan, Eric Holland, Mike Elwood, James Casserely, Paul Scally, Paul Smyth (Billy Lane 66 mins ), Barry McEntee (Keith Lee 86 mins ), Enda Curran (Shane Keogh 90 mins ), Pat Hoban and Dan Cunningham. Subs not used: Rory Gaughan, Michael Collins, Brian Kenny, Cillian O’Chongaile, Rory Gartland, Nigel Walsh (GK ).
Fairview Rangers: Keith McCarthy, Damien Moloney, Aaron Cooney, Niall Mullen, Stephen Frawley, Conor McCormack (Shane Power 66 mins ), Craig Madigan, Richie Burke, David Crowe, Mark McGrath (Colin Daly 77 mins ), Dean McNamara. Subs not used: Darren Moore, Darren Nolan, Craig Reddan, John McNamara, Robert Power (GK ),
Referee: John Murray (Clare )