Davin Slattery (left) seen here in action in the FAI Junior Cup final earlier this year, scored the vital winner for St Michael's when they visited Newmarket Celtic on Sunday last.
MUNSTER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS CUP QUARTER-FINAL
NEWMARKET CELTIC (Clare) 0 ST MICHAEL’S (Tipperary) 1
Tipperary Town side St Michael’s had to call on all their big game experience here to get the better of a very good Newmarket Celtic side on a wet and windy day at McDonough Park, Newmarket, County Clare on Sunday last.
On a day when both defences gave up little chances, Saints started brightly and David Joyce had the first chance of the game seeing his snap shot fly past the hosts posts after just five minutes.
The home side eventually got into their stride and after a half chance for David McCarthy in the 12th minute, the resultant corner kick saw young goalkeeper Eoin Tinkler save well at the far post from a Stephen Kelly header.
The teams traded blows throughout the rest of the half with Jimmy Carr going close on a number of occasions for the TSDL champions. Eoin Hayes was the Clare champions danger man and he troubled the Saints defence on a number of occasions without being able to conjure up the vital breakthrough.
Colin Bargary and David McCarthy were both booked after tempers frayed just before the half hour mark, but that was the height of the entertainment for the large crowd for the rest of the first half with the teams eventually going to the break scoreless.
The home side seemed to have the better of the early chances in the second period with Tinkler doing well to save a long-range effort from Kevin Hartnett ten minutes into the half.
On 68 minutes some good Newmarket Celtic pressure saw Calum McNamara’s left foot shot sail just wide of goal. But as they’ve often had to do in the past, the Saints’ defence dug in and gave nothing away to an increasingly frustrated home side.
The Saints then brought in David Slattery and Willie Armshaw and Armshaw’s pace in particular added renewed vigour to the visitors’ attack. His crosses put the home defence under pressure and with 12 minutes left on the clock he almost teed up Chris Higgins whose left foot shot went just outside the far post.
The game needed a bit of magic to win it and prevent the inevitable extra-time and with just two minutes left to play the ball was played out by David Slattery on the right, who played a beautiful one two with fellow substitute Willie Armshaw before getting the return pass and firing in at the near post to send his by now freezing supporters wild with delight.
In a pulsating finish, the home side threw everything at the Tipperary champions who introduced Paul Breen late on to combat the aerial threat of Stephen Kelly who was switched to attack late on.
The final nail in the hosts coffin came when David McCarthy was red carded for a second caution and a crude challenge on Colin Bargary, and the holders held out to take their place in the next round where they will as always fancy themselves against whoever comes from the hat to play them.