Johnville 2; Waterford Crystal 0
Waterford Crystal made their exit from a third cup competition on Sunday morning last in St Martin’s Park. Having lost to Bohemians in the FAI Junior Cup and to Newcastlewest in the Munster Senior Cup, they were keen to remain in the MFA Cup for as long as possible and in fact had designs on winning the trophy but they came up against a Johnville side who turned in their best performance of the season to date.
The Crystal players must have been cursing their luck because the previous Sunday they were leading Johnville 2-1 after half an hour but then the match had to be abandoned when the referee suffered an injury.
On this occasion it was a completely different story. In the original game, Johnville leaked two early goals and they looked a little edgy at the back but on Sunday last they stood firm all through and they fully deserved their victory. Their midfield players and their strikers also looked the part and they will now travel to Limerick to play Carew Park in the next round. Johnville won the MFA Cup back in 1996 and who knows, following what happened in the first game and now after this excellent victory, their name could be on the cup once again.
First shot – first goal
Waterford Crystal opened up brightly enough without ever troubling the home goalkeeper Joe Grant. After 8 minutes, Paul Quilty and Joe Watson combined well only for the Johnville defender, Declan Phelan, to get in a timely tackle inside the penalty area on Watson. Jimmy Barden, the Crystal left full back, played the ball forward to Martin Tynan on 14 minutes. Tynan had his back to goal but he turned quickly and shot from the edge of the penalty area but Joe Grant saved without any difficulty.
The other full back, Gavin Rocche, tried his luck from long range 5 minutes later but was well off target. Crystal should have taken the lead after 28 minutes when a long kick out by Derek Hearne was picked up by Mitchel Casey who, in turn, knocked it forward to Martin Tynan but he shot weakly at Joe Grant from close range.
Johnville took the lead with their first attack of the game on 35 minutes. Gavin Phelan got a little bit of space out on the right and he squared the ball to Gary Kelly who was 35 yards from goal. The in-form player looked up and shot at goal. The ball bounced in front of the visiting goalkeeper Derek Hearne and entered the net much to the dismay of all concerned with the Crystal outfit. Four minutes later many in the ground thought that Crystal had equalised when Paul Quilty met a Keith Sheridan corner kick from the right with his head. His effort beat Joe Grant and appeared to go in but the referee John Purcell was in a superb position and he ruled that the ball had not crossed the line and he waved play on.
The opening minutes of the second half saw both sides go close in a flurry of excitement. Davy Walsh of Crystal passed to Gavin Roche who, in turn, picked out Joe Watson from the right at the far post but the usually reliable Watson lifted his head at the wrong moment and the chance was lost.
At the other end Alan Ryan, the Johnville right full-back, crossed to the far post at speed to John Butler but his point blank shot was well held by Derek Hearne.
Johnville wrapped up the game in brilliant fashion just after the hour mark. Left full back, John Butler, knocked the ball forward from deep inside his own half. John O’Leary, the big strong striker, picked up Butler’s ball and from all of 25 yards he lobbed the ball over the advancing Derek Hearne. That goal proved to be a real killer from a Waterford Crystal point of view and they never looked like getting back into the game afterwards.
Gavin Phelan very nearly made it 3-0 with a free kick on 76 minutes. Crystal’s only chance after that effort fell to Davy Walsh but he blazed high and wide from a good position. That shot more or less summed up their day.
Johnville: Joe Grant, Alan Ryan, John Butler, John Kennedy, Declan Phelan, Dan Murphy, Gavin Phelan, Gary Kelly, James Starmer, John O’Leary, Anthony Phelan.
Subs: Paul Cleary for Anthony Phelan (82 mins) Michael Heffernan for Kennedy (90 mins)
Waterford Crystal: Derek Hearne, Gavin Roche, Jimmy Barden, Mitchel Casey, Pat Dobbyn, Stephen Burke, Martin Tynan, Keith Sheridan, Paul Quilty, Joe Watson, Robbie Butler. Subs. Davy Walsh for Burke (50 mins) Andrew Power for Butler (64 mins) Paul Wyse for Sheridan (79 mins)
Referee: John Purcell.