Nenagh AFC pictured just before extra-time on Sunday.
Nenagh AFC suffered penalty shootout heartache at the hands of Fairview Rangers after a dramatic Munster Junior Cup quarter-final played at Annacotty, Limerick on Sunday afternoon. The game finished one-all after extra-time and despite the heroics of goalkeeper Aaron Savage Nenagh AFC lost 7-8 on penalties.
Munster Junior Cup Quarter-Final
Nenagh AFC 1-1 Fairview Rangers
Fairview Rangers won 8-7 on penalties (aet)
See below for a video of Nenagh AFC’s dramatic penalty shootout with Fairview Rangers.
This enthralling contest was played in Annacotty, Limerick after Nenagh AFC’s home ground, Brickfields, was deemed unplayable. Nenagh AFC, however, did not let that complication put them off against their Limerick District League counterparts.
Nenagh AFC came close to opening the scoring in the ninth minute when Mark McKenna headed Jordan Lewis’ corner just over. This group of Nenagh AFC players are an ambitious bunch and, at times, can play some terrific football, but as Town endeavoured to build from the back in the 11th minute Fairview Rangers won possession deep inside the Nenagh half and notched the opening goal of the game.
Nenagh AFC responded well and almost eqlualised in the 13th minute when Nathan Kelly played a smart one-two with Danny Butler, but dragged his shot just wide.
The Nenagh AFC team then proceeded to dominate the remainder of the half in terms of possession, but were more than fortunate to avoid conceding a second goal - in the 41st and 42nd minutes Fairview Rangers hit the post.
Nenagh AFC took full advantage of such good fortune in the 46th minute when Dylan Sheahan hooked in a left-footed shot following a scramble in the Fairview area.
A minute into the second half James McGrath came agonizingly close to presenting Nenagh AFC with the lead - McGrath’s left-foot shot reduced the Fairview ‘keeper to a spectator, but, unfortunately, the effort whistled just wide.
Seven minutes into extra-time Fairview Rangers won a penalty which Aaron Savage saved magnificently and we then braced ourselves for a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Max Boghu, Aaron Savage, Ben Banaghan, Mark McKenna and Barry Coffey all converted from the spot. In sudden death Danny Butler scored before Jordan Lewis saw his effort saved. Lewis was terrific during this contest and it was cruel to see his shot stopped. Indeed, Lewis was vying for the man of the match award alongside James McGrath and Nathan Kelly.
Aaron Savage heroically saved his second penalty of the afternoon to keep Nenagh AFC alive. Thomas Sheppard then converted from the spot before Ryan Gilmartin saw his effort saved and the Fairview Rangers 'keeper belted home the winner.
LIMERICK DISTRICT LEAGUE
Nenagh AFC are still flying high in the Limerick District League - Nenagh Town trail Janesboro by a single point with six games to play at the summit of the Premier Division.
Nenagh AFC have already taken six points off Regional United, six off Moyross United and four off Geraldines. Aisling Annacotty have represented a bogey team of sorts for the North Tipperary side (Nenagh lost twice to Aisling in the Premier Division this season).
Nenagh AFC’s remaining games during their Premier Division campaign are home against Ballynanty Rovers (lost 2-3 away to earlier this season), away to Kilmallock (beat 1-0 at home earlier this season), Pike Rovers at home (whom Nenagh beat 5-0 away), Carew Park at home (whom Nenagh beat 1-0 away), Janesboro away (whom Nenagh beat 2-1 at Brickfields) and away to Fairview Rangers (Rangers won 3-2 in Nenagh earlier this season).
In May 2015 Nenagh AFC collected a fifth successive North Tipperary & District League Premier Division title before completing the double when seeing off Nenagh Celtic in the Ricky Fogarty Cup final. That clash with the local rivals represented the final game played by Nenagh Town in the North Tipperary & District League.
Nenagh AFC are an ambitious club and made a controversial decision to apply for inclusion in the Limerick District League, a league Town officially joined in August 2015. Although the Limerick District League is regarded as one of the toughest in the country and despite being forced to start their A team in division 1A and a B team in division 2B Nenagh AFC finished the 2015-16 season as champions of both.
The club could have opted to consolidate their position in the Premier Division, but true to the character of the club Nenagh AFC pushed on and embraced the challenge posed.
For some years now Nenagh AFC have been committed to the development of underage talent. Indeed, in May 2014 Town became the first Tipperary side since St Michael’s in 1994 to win the FAI Youths Cup following a dramatic penalty shoot-out final against Evergreen FC (Kilkenny) while in May 2016 Nenagh AFC beat Wilton (Cork) 3-2 after extra-time to win an historic FAI Under-17 Cup. And, now Nenagh AFC have an accomplished senior side which those talented young players can aspire to.
The Nenagh AFC squad of players who are flying high in the Limerick District League.
Nenagh AFC team: Aaron Savage, Jordan Lewis, Cathal Coonan, Mark McKenna, Max Boghu, Dylan Sheahan, John Mitchell, James McGrath (captain), Roy Creagh, Nathan Kelly, Danny Butler. Subs: (53rd) Alan Sheahan for Dylan Sheahan, (67th) Ryan Gilmartin for John Mitchell, (ET) Barry Coffey for Nathan Kelly, (ET) Thomas Sheppard for James McGrath, (ET) Ben Banaghan for Alan Sheahan. Squad members: Robbie Ryan, Eoin Coffey, Bryan McGee, Gary Kevin, Eoin Heavin, Alex Gardos & Michael Hogan.
Nenagh AFC management team: Dearan O'Gorman, Shane O'Gorman, David Rooney and Martin Donnellan.