Waterford United may have made an early exit from the FAI Cup, but the brave players of Carrick United had no intentions of following them on to the cup scrapheap when they made the journey to Cork on Sunday last to play Munster Senior League outfit Everton.
They duly booked their place in Round 4 but that is only half the story. They took the lead after 37 minutes thanks to a header from Ian Cleary who displayed good instincts to finish a shot from Alan Ryan. However, two minutes later they were reduced to nine players. Anthony Power picked up a second yellow card from referee Padraig Sutton who stepped in at late notice for the original appointed official Graham Kelly.
The Carrick skipper Wayne Fitzgerald questioned Sutton from Ennis about his decision and he also was sent off by the referee who is a detective in the Garda Corps.
Both decisions were harsh to say the least but the FAI Junior Cup champions refused to allow the sendings-off upset them and Ian Cleary scored another wonderful goal on 54 minutes. He got on to the end of a left-wing cross from Daryl Kavanagh and found the net from 8 yards.
Needless to say the Everton players threw everything bar the kitchen sink at Carrick for the remainder of the game but the Carrick defence stood up manfully to everything that was launched at them. This was a brilliant and brave display by the Waterford League team.
The dubious dismissals clouded the day somewhat as both players will miss the next game in the competition, but it is great that Waterford will have an interest when the draw is made for Round 4. In the previous round they won superbly away to St James’s Gate so hopefully they will get a home draw next time around. If that happens the game will probably be played at the RSC.
That, however, is a story for another day. For now lets rejoice in a another wonderful day for Carrick United. Liam Wells, the team’s manager paid tribute to his players. “It was a real rollercoaster of a game. Playing with nine men was pretty stupid but a win is a win and the lads displayed wonderful character.
“The referee lost it at times but nevertheless this is another great chapter in the history of the club. We could get one of the big teams in the last 16 but then again there are teams left in the competition which we could beat and get into the quarter final which would be wonderful.
“The next game is not until August so the team will be fit and ready for that game, no matter who we have to play,” said Liam.
Carrick United: Adrian Walsh, James Walsh, Anthony O’Donnell, John Walsh, Brian Barry, Wayne Fitzgerald, Keith Walsh, Alan Ryan, Anthony Power, Ian Cleary, Daryl Kavanagh. Subs: Ritchie Lawrence for Kavanagh (70 mins), Barry Murphy for Keith Walsh (73 mins), Glen Keane for Cleary (80 mins).