Redcastle United 1; Carrick United 1
(AET; Carrick won 5-3 on pens)

Cup warriors Carrick United are only 90 minutes away from another appearance in an FAI Junior Cup final following a magnificent victory in Inishowen on Sunday.

Finalists in 2004, they have had a burning desire to win this famous trophy, having lost that decider to Fairview Rangers and their displays to date this term would suggest that perhaps this is the year they will bring the cup back to Coolnamuck.

They have been impressive both at home and away and they really turned on the style in this game. Clubs such as Killarney Celtic, Trinity Corrinthians and now Redcastle United have had their wings clipped on their home grounds and Cahir Park were beaten in Tom Drohan Park as were a number of Waterford League clubs.

The previous week, the ‘Super Hoops’ lost in the Munster Cup but there was not going to be a repeat of that display on this occasion. They were on top all through but almost beyond belief they fell behind just before half time but they battled back and duly went on to book their ticket in the last four.

Daryl Kavanagh found himself in a one-on-one situation with the Redcastle United goalkeeper Gerald Crossan early on but he shot wide. Ian Cleary also found himself in a similar position but he was also unable to take advantage.

Wayne Fitzgerald then struck the bottom of the upright before Ian Cleary headed straight at Gerald Crossan from a great position.

Then, totally against the run of play, Redcastle United took the lead on 41 minutes when Eddie McIntyre raced clear and found the net with a smashing strike from outside the penalty area.

Carrick refused to let that goal upset their passing game and they continued to put the Donegal team on the back foot and they scored their deserved equaliser 20 minutes into the second period.

Stephen Hahhessy was fouled just outside the penalty area and the former Waterford United striker Daryl Kavanagh took the free-kick. He curled the ball around Redcastle’s defensive wall and into the corner of the net.

That goal rocked the home side and they just about held out until the whistle which brought an end to the 90 minutes. Carrick held the upper hand in extra-time also but they could not break down a stubborn Redcastle defence so the game had to be decided on penalties.

The Waterford League champions proved to be the masters from the spot-kicks. John Walsh, Daryl Kavanagh, Brian Barry, Barry Murphy and Anthony O’Donnell all found the net. Goalkeeper Adrian Walsh saved Redcastle United’s 4th penalty with his legs so Anthony O’Donnell’s penalty proved to be the winner.

Happy days

A large number of Carrick supporters travelled all the way to Inishowen for the game and they gave the team a standing ovation following the dramatic finish.

One of those Carrick supporters was loyal and long serving clubman PJ Torpey. “This is one of those days that we will remember for a very long time to come,” he beamed. “The lads fully deserved their victory and it would have been a gross injustice had we lost.

“We out played Redcastle all through and even they had to admit that we were by far the best team. In fairness they were gracious enough to admit that fact. This trip has cost the club a hell of a lot of money and I would like to thank everyone who supported our sponsorship push to get the team up here.

“We have had so many away games lately it is proving to be very expensive and out treasurer John Nolan is pulling his hair out, but, that said, results like this make it all worthwhile.

“Hopefully we will be pulled out of the hat first when the draw is made for the semi-final which would mean we would get to play the game in Ozier Park. Surely it’s our turn to get a home draw,” he said.

Hopefully he will get his wish. On Sunday next Carrick return to league action against a club who are trying to take away their league title, St Saviour’s.