Villa 3; Dungarvan United 1
A classic double strike by Conor McDonald early in the second half and a late injury-time goal from Paul Omotoso gave Villa their ticket into Friday’s final of the Ardagh Premier Cup.
The game was played on Sunday morning last and it took quite a while for it to take off but nevertheless there was plenty of talking points produced during the 90-plus minutes.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the Villa team play much better away from their own home ground and they appreciated the lush surface of Ozier Park as they played some great football, especially in the second half.
Dungarvan did their best to come from two goals behind late on and they did manage to pull one back with six minutes remaining, but alas time, and a very good goalkeeper, prevented them from doing so.
The opening 45 minutes did not produce much in the way of goal mouth action. Ian O’Sullivan, the Villa central defender, went close with a long range free-kick after 17 minutes. Two minutes later Conor McDonald drilled the ball through to Declan Woodgate but the Dungarvan goalkeeper Alan Landers ran from his line and spread himself superbly to save.
Dungarvan’s first attack came on 24 minutes when Ross Power crossed from the right but his delivery was well cut by the Villa goalkeeper Cian O’Brien who was under pressure from Micheal Downey.
Dungarvan were hit by a Villa double whammy during the opening minutes of the second period. Two minutes in Tadgh Kirby played a great ball out wide left to Conor McDonald who cut into the penalty area before drawing goalkeeper Alan Landers and then placing the ball beautifully into the far corner of the net.
On 51 minutes Declan Woodgate, who enjoyed a super game for Villa, sprayed the ball out right to Conor McDonald and this time the Villa No 10 hammered a shot from an acute angle past Landers into the other side of the net.
Omotoso almost put the Villa out of reach on 63 minutes with a shot on the run following a pass from Danny Sheridan but his effort went narrowly over the crossbar.
Dungarvan made a double-change one minute later and they suddenly began to get to grips with the game. They reduced the margin on 83 minutes. Derek Barry got in a cross from the left which was headed on by one of the substitutes Eoin Morrissey to another replacement Trevor Crotty and headed home from 8 yards.
The Old Borough side piled on the pressure in the dying minutes and the Villa goalkeeper Cian O’Brien pulled off a brilliant save from Aidan Landers who had got onto the end of a cross from Trevor Crotty. When the ball broke lose both Micheal Downey and Owen Morrissey were unable to get a touch to equalise.
Omotoso made sure for the Villa one minute into time added on when he took a long pass from Jimmy Barry. He was surrounded by two defenders in the penalty area but he still managed to dig the ball out from under his feet and crash it past Alan Landers from 16 yards.
Cian O’Brien displayed his class once again at the other end in saving from Pat Quinn but at that stage the Villa players were already looking forward to Friday’s final.
Villa: Cian O’Brien, Neil Henneberry, Danny Sheridan, Declan Furlong, Ian O’Sullivan, Paul Omotoso, Ian Cantwell, Tadh Kirby, Declan Woodgate, Conor McDonald, Des Mullett. Sub: Jimmy Barry for McDonald (81 mins).
Dungarvan United. Alan Landers, Ross Power, Derek Barry, Christy Power, Tony Fitzgerald, Jondy Byrne, Gavin Crotty, Kevin Walsh, Micheal Downey, Aidan Landers, Mark Crotty. Subs: Trevor Crotty and Pat Quinn for Gavin Crotty and Ross Power (64 mins), Owen Morrissey for Kevin Walsh (73 mins).
Referee: Noel Purcell.