“Bring then on”. Those were the parting words of the Carrick United manager Liam Wells last week as he looked ahead to this Saturday’s massive home game with Sporting Fingal in the 4th round of the FAI Senior Cup.
Yes, the quite incredible bandwagon of the ‘Super Hoops’ shows no sign of slowing down although we have yet to come out of the close season, junior football wise. Following on from their historic FAI Junior Cup triumph against Killester United at the RSC on Sunday, May 4th the Waterford League club enjoyed many a long night of celebrations and rightly so but at the back of their minds was the fact that they were still standing firm in the FAI Senior Cup.
They opened up their campaign in this competition in amazing style at the Iveagh Grounds in Dublin on Saturday, April 19th against St James’s Gate. They fell behind to the Dubliners after 27 minutes against the run of play but three goals in an extraordinary four-minute spell during the course of the game turned the contest on its head completely.
Ian Cleary (67 mins), Daryl Kavanagh, (pen, 69 mins) and Stephen Hahessy (71 mins) put Carrick United in the driving seat. St Jame’s Gate were rocked back on their heels and although they did pull a goal back with 2 minutes remaining the result was never in any doubt following that Carrick onslaught during the second half of the game.
The then Waterford Premier League champions had to put that result to the back of their minds because they were beginning to zoom in on their ‘Holy Grail’ something they captured on that glorious day at the RSC.
Needless to say they were feted and honoured through the Carrick area and Waterford area for weeks afterwards as honours and awards were presented almost on a daily basis. On Monday, May 12th the new Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni and his assistant Marco Tardelli made the draw for the third round of the FAI Senior Cup. This is the stage when all of the ‘big’ eircom League clubs come into the draw.
The Carrick mentors were hoping to get a plum home draw against one of the big names but instead they were drawn away to Munster Senior League club, Everton from Cork, who play their home games right beside the airport. This was not what they wanted. The game was fixed for Sunday, June 6th at 12 noon and needless to say some celebrations were still ongoing following on from the FAI Junior Cup success.
Liam Wells asked his troops for one more big push and once again they came up trumps. To say they did things the hard way in this game would indeed be a gross understatement. They had two players (Anthony Power and Wayne Fitzgerald) sent off but they still managed to win, thanks to a brace of goals from Ian Cleary (37 and 54 minutes).
An over-fussy referee ruined the game and he caused a lot of grief to all concerned with the Carrick club. Another Carrick player, Thomas Fitzgerald, who was on the subs bench, picked up a lengthy suspension following that game.
As a result of what was not by any means a dirty match, Wells will have to plan for Saturday’s game without four of his squad from last season. Striker Daryl Kavanagh has moved to play Premier League football with Cobh Ramblers. Despite those missing player there is still a great deal of optimism within the Carrick United camp ahead of this Saturday’s big match.