and despite the incredible rain that fell for 48 hours prior to the match they somehow managed to get the pitch in tip top shape for what proved to be one of the most extraordinary games of this season, or indeed any other season.
The previous week the two clubs had played out a five-goal thriller in the Munster Cup and few expected another classic contest but instead we got an even more exciting match between two superb outfits.
The 90 minutes had more twists and turns than a spiral staircase and it was a pleasure to be present to watch it. Tramore once again came out on top, just as they did the previous week and now they will play away to Carrick United in the next stage. A remarkable fact about this clash was that two players, one from each team, scored hat-tricks. Micheal Downey (Tramore) and Stephen Dalton (St Saviours) were the strikers who bagged three goals apiece.
Four goals in 21 minutes
Tramore took the lead in the very first minute. Dayne Ormonde took a free kick out on the right which was knocked on by Craig Maher to Micheal Downey and the experienced front man cut in from the right and beat the St Saviour’s goalkeeper Graham Cleary from an acute angle. Five minutes later Joe Twoomey of St Saviour’s was just wide with a curling effort from 25 yards. The visitors did however level matters on 13 minutes. Joe Twoomey sent over a free kick from the right. His fine cross caught the entire Tramore defence and James Kennedy slotted the ball home at the far post. The hosts regained their advantage three minutes later. Robbie Phelan crossed the ball from the left to Joe Watson and he in turn headed the ball into the path of Micheal Downey who beat Graham Cleary with a neat finish from inside the penalty area. Downey, a player who has played with Waterford United, Kilkenny City and Dungarvan United completed his hat-trick on 21 minutes. Ian Stenson played a long ball forward from deep inside the Tramore half of the field. The St Saviour’s defenders failed to deal with Stenson’s ball and that gave Downey the chance to run at the visiting goalkeeper and when Graham Cleary hesitated the ace Tramore hit man rammed the ball into the net from 16 yards. Things got even worse for the Saints on 32 minutes when Stephen O’Shea delightfully headed to the net from 18 yards after connecting brillianty with a right wing cross from Leigh Quilty.
Just as they did in the first half, Tramore scored inside a minute when the second period got underway. At the interval Alfie Hale, the St Saviour’s manager made three changes and unfortunately from his point of view it was one of the substitutes who played a part in Tramore 5th goal. Wayne Kelly tried to clear a dangerous Tramore attack but his attempted clearance struck Leigh Quilty and when the ball ran nicely into the path of Joe Watson, the former Waterford Crystal striker found the net with a crisp right footed shot. St Saviour’s could have thrown in the towel at that stage but they fought back manfully and they were awarded a penalty on 52 minutes when Ian Stenson handled the ball inside the 18 yards box. Stephen Dalton took the spot kick and he gave the home goalkeeper A.J. Murray no chance. Stephen O’Shea scored his second goal for the home club on 56 minutes. He ran at the Saints defence before waltzing past two defenders and slipping the ball past the helpless Gram Cleary. Stephen Dalton scored his second goal of the game after 67 minutes after he ran on to a through ball from Aaron O’Neill and hammering the ball past the advancing A.J Murray. Dalton completed his hat-trick in stunning fashion on 82 minutes. He controlled a pass from John Paul Jacob before turning and then unleashing a superb shot past Murray from the edge of the penalty area. The incredibly brave St Saviour’s side went in search of two more goals which would have taken the game to extra time. Phil Penkert had a shot taken off the line and John Paul Jacob shaved the post with a bullet like header but alas it was not to be for the plucky Saints.
Tramore: A.J. Murray, Craig Maher, Dayne Ormonde, Martin Whelan, Ian Stenson, Francis Rockett, Joe Watson, Stephen O’Shea, Stephen O’Shea, Micheal Downey, Leigh Quilty, Robbie Phelan. Subs: Sean Browne for Maher (63 mins), Gary Hunt for Watson (77)
St Saviour’s: Graham Cleary, Trevor O’Regan, Trevor Elliott, James Kennedy, Phil Penkert, John Paul Jacob, Kevin Dolan, Brian O’Donoghue, Joe Twoomey, Stephen Dalton, Timmy Ryan. Subs: Aaron O’Neill for O’Donoghue (45 mins), Wayne Kelly for Elliott (45), Colin Keane for O’Regan (45).
Referee: Anthony Walsh.