West United 10
Usher Celtic 1
West United have qualified for the sixth round of the FAI Junior Cup by virtue of a nine goal drubbing of former competition winners Usher Celtic in Drom yesterday afternoon. A closely fought first half fractured into farcical scenes by the end as Usher played the last 12 minutes with only seven men, with referee Vincent Carew dismissing four from their ranks along the way, as well as Tom Burke from West United.
Wearing a borrowed strip due to a clash with Usher’s green kit, West were playing on foreign territory for the second time in a matter of days following their 5-1 defeat of Tuam Celtic in Terryland Park on Wednesday night which earned them the right to face Usher Celtic.
On that occasion they blitzed the Tuam side with an early trio of goals; yesterday it was a late flurry which turned the scoreboard into double digits as five goals came in the last seven minutes. By that stage the vistors had thrown in the towel following the fifth red card of the game on 78 mins for defender Greg Salmon. West showed no mercy, easily bypassing the dispirited Dubliners to score at will.
By now teams in Galway have realised that backchat to referees will not be tolerated in any sense, but it seems these lessons have not been learnt by our friends from the capital. An inability to refrain from mouthing off cost them dearly, none more so than when ‘keeper John Browne saw a straight red following the concession of the third goal just before half time.
Not that West were without fault either. With a 4-0 lead and a place in the next round virtually assured at half time, ill discipline, which appeared to have been eradicated from their psyche, resurfaced and they were somewhat fortunate that it was only Burke who saw red for an off-the-ball incident on 50 minutes. In some cases there was provocation involved but the ability to walk away deserted them when called for yesterday.
The early signs were promising for the “home” side as Dara Ryan and Mike O’Malley both had good chances within the first 10 minutes, O’Malley’s dippiing volley coming closest as it clipped the top of the bar. Mike’s brother Mathias then drove into the side netting as West had more of the attacking intent, but Usher, using a 3-5-2 formation, were competitive and had a menacing threat on the right flank in the form of Pardo Cannon, who whipped in a few dangerous crosses which were well defended.
Seamus Rabbitte recoverd bravely from a nasty eye injury inflicted by a swinging elbow to marshal the West back four. The game became scrappy following the stoppage, but West were soon to hit the front on 34 minutes. Alan Grant’s corner was not properly cleared and Ryan teed up Gary Fitzgerald on the edge of the area. His shot was parried by the legs of Browne, only for Keith McHugh to react quickest and slam in the rebound.
Six minutes later the lead was doubled when Mathias O’Malley delicately controlled a long ball on the right side of the area and his cross found Ryan, who stumbled at first but recovered to chest the ball onto his right foot and Browne was once more picking the ball out of the net.
It was a slighlty flattering lead but the chances were being taken and John Cotter, who replaced Padraig Lally in goals, had little of note to trouble him.
Usher’s luckless afternoon continued on 43 minutes when West made it 3-0. Claims for handball in midfield were ignored and West were suddenly away following some neat one touch passes. Thomas Caldwell sprinted clear down the left flank and tried to pick out Mathias O’Malley at the back post. Left wing back James Smith was covering but only managed to plant his header into the bottom corner for a tragic own goal.
To add to the woes of the away side, Browne was dismissed for some verbals aimed at the linesman and MIke O’Malley clinically made it four in injury time when he latched onto Keith McHugh’s flick and arrowed a shot into the bottom left corner.
Burke’s sending off after the break levelled up the numbers and gave Usher some hope as Damien Dowling slotted home the resultant penalty. Their hopes of a comeback only lasted four minutes, though, as striker John McClearn was shown his second yellow for a rash challenge.
As anger towards the officials grew, Usher’s concentration on the game faltered and Ryan took full advantage of some generous defending to saunter through and clip the ball over Anto Geraghty, a defender who had taken over the goalkeeping duties. Another second yellow appeared in the 70th minute when Carl Murray’s frustration got the better of him and he was sent to the line for dissent.
Greg Salmon’s reckless foul on 78 saw him follow suit and the threat of abandonment of the tie was now a real concern. With three extra men, West passed the ball around and made use of the open spaces available. The late avalanche of goals began on 83 when Mathias O’Malley tapped in the goal his performance deserved. He doubled his tally on 86, by which time Caldwell had also scored. Jason Curran also put his name on the scoresheet before Dara Ryan walked the ball into the net in the last seconds.
West United: J Cotter; J Egan, T Burke, S Rabbitte, A Grant; Mike O’Malley, G Fitzgerald, D Ryan, T Caldwell; Mathias O’Malley, K McHugh. Subs: I Burke for Mike O’Malley (59 mins ), D O’Neill for Fitzgerald (65 mins ), J Curran for Egan (78 mins ).
Usher Celtic: J Browne; I Cannon, G Salmon, A Geraghty; J Smith, C Bateman, D Dowling, C Murray, P Cannon; J McClearn, A Wynne. Subs: D Flynn for Bateman (49 mins ).
Referee: Vincent Carew.