ST. MICHAEL’S 2
NORTH END UNITED
A double from Richie Ryan helped the TSDL’s sole representatives St. Michael’s progress to the last four of the FAI Junior Cup for a second successive season, as they secured a 2-1 victory against Wexford’s North End United at Cooke Park, Tipp town last Sunday.
The Saints should have won this game easier than the scoreline would suggest if they had taken a host of chances, mainly in the opening half. They were out of the blocks quickly and North End goalie Lee Walker did well to keep out a Richie Ryan shot after 7 minutes. North End broke on 13 minutes when Warren Broaders headed over a Jason Murphy cross.
St. Michael’s had three chances in succession and all threatened the goal. Paul Breen was unlucky to see his powerful header from a Trevor Cosgrave free-kick bounce clear off the crossbar after 25 minutes. They took the lead four minutes later when their latest international, Chris Higgins headed a North End free-kick clear for Pa Quinn to feed Jimmy Carr, who ran strongly to the end line before cutting the ball back for Richie Ryan to find the corner of the net.
A superbly struck Trevor Cosgrave free-kick then hit the inside of the post in the 34th minute and Pa Quinn again went close from the rebound. Saints went 2-0 ahead after 38 minutes when former international Paul Tobin intercepted a ball and fed the hard-working Pa Quinn, who laid it off to Richie Ryan who did very well to score with his weaker left foot from 12 yards. The visitors came back strongly and enjoyed a good spell in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, pulling a goal back after 56 minutes when Jason Murphy evaded Paul Breen on the left channel and his cross was headed home by Darren Browne. This goal galvanised North End but it was also a wake-up call for Saints, who had been a bit complacent since half time.
The Saints’ Thomas Fahey was just blocked in the box after 57 minutes while Warren Broaders went close from a Jason Murphy pass temn minutes later. Both sides rang the changes, with Trevor Berry replacing Donal O’Leary for North End and John Connery introduced for Padraic Fogarty for St. Michael’s.
John Connery went close three times in the last quarter of this pulsating contest, hitting the underside of the crossbar on one occasion. Further substitutions saw Lee Austin come on for Warren Broaders, as North End went three at the back in a hectic last 10 minutes. Danny O’Brien also replaced goal hero Richie Ryan.
North End United won three corner kicks during that spell but a resolute St. Michael’s held on to book a semi-final clash with another Wexford outfit New Ross Celtic (who beat Cavan Town 3-0) in the last four at a venue and on a date yet to be decided.