Fairview Rangers 1
Iorras Aontaithe 1
(Iorras win 4 - 2 on penalties after extra time )
What a result - what a performance by Iorras Aontaithe at the Fairgreen in Limerick. This was a game when the boys of 2004 (Erris - FAI Youth Cup Champions ) became the men of 2009. After a battling performance of true grit and a fair degree of footballing skill Iorras Aontaithe overcame their more illustrious opponents and former winners of the competition on six occasions. Iorras have now a date with the possible favourites Ballymun, most likely to be in Milebush Park on Sunday April 5. (This needs to be confirmed by the FAI ).
Iorras lined out without their experienced player manager Eric Reilly, who is suffering from an injury, but welcomed back their experienced captain David Reilly at centre back — Michael Togher played up front in Reilly's place.
Iorras showed their hosts little respect in the opening stages and with a wind advantage did most of the attacking in this period. Steven Carolan was causing endless problems for the home defence with his ability in the air and his clever distribution. Shane Nallen's long goal kicks and general punts upfield were also causing some concern for the Fairview defence and the home goalkeeper.
Iorras took the lead after 22 minutes when Ken "Chunky” O’Connor got possession of the ball just beyond midfield on the right - his perfectly flighted delivery found the head of Stephen Carolan in the penalty area and Iorras were one up and looking good. Iorras had a further chance to increase the lead but the home goalkeeper got down well to save Pat Barrett's great effort. It was only in the latter stages of the first half that the home side started to string some passing movements together but the Erris defence dealt capably with all their efforts, and Shane Nallen was seldom troubled.
The opening five minutes of the second period should have seen Iorras double their lead but Brendan Nallen failed to connect from a cross on the left, and the chance went abegging. Both sides had half chances until midway in the half and Fairview equalised with a fine shot from inside the penalty area in the 70th minute when Iorras failed to clear from a corner kick. This goal did not set Iorras back, and in actual fact they lifted their game again, with Pat Barrett and Anthony Mills getting more involved and pushing their side forward — Iorras created several half-chances in the process. It was not until the final 10 minutes of the half that Fairview pushed for the winner, and did create two great goal-scoring chances — one header went narrowly wide with the outrushing Nallen beaten, and then an outstanding save from Nallen again to defy the home side. John Gaughan was a colossus at the centre of defence during this period and, with O'Connor, Reilly, and substitute Niall Geraghty, limited the Fairview chances.
Extra time saw both sides tire a lot with limited chances for either side, and then we were down to the lottery of penalties -
Brendan Nallen scored with his attempt and Shane Nallen made a brilliant save with his feet from Fairview's first attempt. David Reilly dispatched his effort with fine style, and then Fairview got their first. Garret O'Malley, who came on for Steve Carolan, slotted in Iorras's third and Fairview responded with their second. Shane Nallen’s attempt, however, went wide, but equally so the Fairview player's attempt (3 - 2 to Iorras ). It was then down to Henry Gaughan's penalty to secure the win, and he duly obliged with a thunderous left-footed shot which was despatched with great composure and confidence.
Iorras were well worthy of this win, and can grow in confidence knowing that they have now beaten one of the favourites and former winners. They are now going to meet the 2001 winners Ballymun who beat Manulla in an earlier round of the competition. Iorras have every reason to believe that they can progress to the final and maybe emulate the achievements of Westport Utd (2005 winners ).
Iorras Aontaithe: Shane Nallen, Ken O'Connor, Henry Gaughan, David Reilly, John Gaughan, Anthony Mills, Pat Barrett, Brendan Nallen, Michael Togher, Steve Carolan, Jonathan Donoghue. Subs Niall Geraghty and Garret O'Malley.