Southend Utd 2; Tramore 1 (AET)
Southend United are through to the next stage of the FAI Junior Cup following a dramatic game in Southend Park. Tramore, who knocked Southend out of the Munster Cup, had the majority of the play all through the normal 90 minutes and indeed the extra 20 minutes but it was the home side who scored the goals that mattered.
Southend took the lead after they had played second fiddle to the visitors during the opening half an hour and then they missed a penalty which would really have given Tramore a mountain to climb. This was a good tough encounter which was a credit to the Junior Cup. The football may not have been pretty but the spirit displayed by both sets of players was a credit to the two teams.
Tramore opened up like a house on fire and they put Southend on the back foot from the opening whistle. The Tramore goalkeeper Stephen Gahan kicked the ball downfield after 8 minutes and his punt caught the home defence square. Leigh Quilty ran on to the ball but he shot wide with the Southend goalkeeper Sean Walsh advancing.
Francis Rockett, who scored a remarkable goal for the Waterford League against Tipperary the previous week, tested Sean Walsh with a well struck effort from 20 yards after 15 minutes but Sean Walsh, the home goalkeeper did well to hold on to the ball.
The goalkeeper was called back into the action once again 3 minutes later. Leigh Quilty squared the ball to Robbie Phelan who shot low at goal and on this occasion Sean Walsh got down quickly to save.
The pressure continued to mount on the United goal. Ian “Bomber” Ryan took off down the left but he shot wide of the far upright and moments later John Butler played a fine ball to Francis Rockett who had plenty of options but he shot weakly wide when he at least should have made Sean Walsh work.
Southend United took the lead completely against the run of play on 31 minutes. The ball broke in the middle of the park and when Daniel O’Sullivan ran forward with it he let fly from over 35 yards and his blistering right footed effort flew in the roof of Stephen Gahan’s net.
That goal rocked Tramore and 4 minutes later Southend were awarded a penalty when defender Martin Whelan tripped Paul Quilty inside the box. Daniel O’Sullivan came forward to take the spot kick but he failed to score his second goal of the contest when Stephen Gahan saved his kick with his left leg after he had dived to his right. O’Sullivan was the player who had scored a hat-trick in the previous round against De La Salle.
The last chance of the first half fell to Tramore but after showing some good footwork Ian Ryan shot wide from the left.
Tramore got back on level terms 6 minutes into the second half. Johnny Butler ran strongly at the Southend defence before picking out Leigh Quilty with a good pass out left and Quilty displayed a lot of class by clipping the ball over the head of the advancing Sean Walsh from 7 yards.
Tramore took control after that goal and they went close to taking the lead on 64 minutes when Leigh Quilty squared the ball to Robbie Phelan who shot hard at goal but Sean Walsh pulled off a very fine save.
Two minutes later Paul Quilty fired in a free kick for Southend from just outside the right side of the Tramore penalty box. Stephen Gahan tipped the ball on to his right upright and when the ball came back off the woodwork the United striker Lee Hayes got his head to the ball but again Gahan saved.
Shortly afterwards Hayes had to leave the field with what looked like a serious injury. It appeared as if he had swallowed his tongue and it took some quick thinking from the Tramore player Ian Stenson and the Tramore medical man Seamus Conway to bring the United player around.
Lee Hayes was replaced by the former St Otteran’s player Damien Kelly and he was to prove to be the match winner for Southend United. The remainder of the game did produce much in the way of goalscoring chances so it was into extra time.
What proved to be the winning goal came 2 minutes into the second period of the extra period. Anthony O’Rourke was back helping his defence and he hit the ball long from near the left hand corner flag right into the heart of the Tramore half of the field. The visiting defence were coming out but Damien Kelly raced forward and after drawing Stephen Gahan he coolly placed the ball into the back of the Tramore net.
That goal was just to much for the Seasiders and 8 minutes later the Southend players were celebrating a very sweet victory.
Southend United: Sean Walsh, Daniel O’Sullivan, Colin Fanning, Robbie Barrett, Michael Caulfield, David Croke, Anthony O’Rourke, Brian Arrigan, Lee Hayes, Paul Quilty, Paul Carey. Subs.: Trevor Elliott for Croke (29 mins), Damien Kelly for Hayes (71 mins).
Tramore: Stephen Gahan, Andrew Denn, Simon Keane, Martin Whelan, Michael Kavanagh, John Butler, Francis Rockett, Ross Douglas, Leigh Quilty, Robbie Phelan, Ian Ryan. Subs.: Ian Stenson for Denn (H-T), Christopher Grace for Douglas (67 mins), Gavin Falconer for Phelan (94 mins).