(AET; Carrick won 3-2 on penalties)
Two clubs who know what it is like to win an FAI Junior Cup and to lose a cup final came face to face in Tom Drohan Park on Sunday morning last. Prior to the game all pundits predicted a close game and that is what unfolded. It came as no surprise that it took a penalty shoot-out to decide who would go forward to the national knockout stage of the competition.
There was little or nothing between the sides all through and the result could have gone either way. Carrick United, who lost to Fairview Rangers in the decider a few years ago, will now go forward with confidence following this hard earned victory. Waterford Crystal on the other hand will have to focus on domestic matters as they are also out of the Munster Cup.
The first chance of the game fell to Carrick United. Thomas Fitzgerald took a pass from Anthony Power but after getting past defender Pat Dobbyn he shot wide from a decent position. That move came after 6 minutes. Seven minutes later Joe Watson of Crystal met a David McEvoy free kick but his shot was well saved by the home goalkeeper Adrian Walsh.
Crystal launched an attack on 25 minutes when Mitchell Casey took a long throw in which was only half cleared by the Carrick defence and when the ball fell to Jason Halloran he fired in a good shot which was saved by the Carrick goalkeeper Adrian Walsh. Carrick put together a good move on 32 minutes with James Walsh crossing into the Crystal penalty area but when Thomas Fitzgerald dummied the ball, Keith Walsh miss-kicked in front of goal. Keith Walsh was back in the thick of the action once again on 35 minutes, this time passing to Owen Burke but he shot high over the crossbar from a good position.
Carrick got out of jail on 42 minutes when Joe Watson picked out David McGrath with a well balanced ball but McGrath struck the Carrick crossbar with goalkeeper Adrian Walsh beaten. It looked as if the sides would go in at half time on level terms but just before the interval Waterford Crystal took the lead. Another Mitchell Casey long throw-in was picked up by Joe Watson who laid the ball off to David McGrath who in turn laid the ball off to Keith Sheridan and he hammered the ball past Adrian Walsh from just inside the penalty area.
Carrick United went in search of the equaliser straight from the opening whistle of the second period and Alan Ryan almost got it with a corner kick on 50 minutes but Jimmy Barden was in the right place to kick the ball off the line with goalkeeper Derek Hearne beaten. On 58 minutes, Waterford Crystal almost found themselves back on level terms when Ian Cleary crossed from the right but ace striker Thomas Fitzgerald was unable to reach the ball with Derek Hearne scrambling to get back into position.
The Crystal goalkeeper Derek Hearne produced a double save on 62 minutes. Stephen Hassehy sent over a corner kick which found Alan Ryan. He shot hard at Hearne who saved superbly. The ball broke to Thomas Fitzgerald but once again Derek Hearne was equal to the task. The pressure continued to mount on the Crystal goal and the equaliser arrived on 76 minutes. Keith Walsh picked up the ball out wide on the right. He played a delightful one-two with Barry Murphy and then he cracked the ball into the Crystal net from just inside the penalty area. Seconds after that goal the Carrick player Alan Ryan was sent off for descent to one of the assistant referees as his colleagues celebrated the goal.
During the remainder of normal time Carrick piled on the pressure as they went in search of the winning goal but Waterford Crystal held firm. In the extra time period, Waterford Crystal’s David McGrath fired across the Carrick goal and shortly afterwards the Waterford Crystal substitute Niall Butler was sent off, so both sides were down to ten players.
Penalties sink Crystal
It is not often that Waterford Crystal lose penalty shoot-outs as their record is superb when it comes to this aspect of the game, but they had to bend the knee on this occasion. Keith Sheridan and Barry Costine scored for Crystal but Joe Watson had his shot saved by Adrian Walsh. David McEvoy shot over the crossbar and Adrian Walsh saved from Mitchell Casey. Ian Cleary missed Carrick’s first penalty but Richie Lawrence, Stephen Hassehy and Barry Murphy were all successful and as a result Waterford Crystal’s cup dreams were over for another year.
Carrick United: Adrian Walsh, James Walsh, Anthony O’Donnell, David Walsh, Brian Barry, Keith Walsh, Owen Burke, Alan Ryan, Anthony Power, Thomas Fitzgerald, Ian Cleary. Subs: Stephen Hassehy for Burke (H-T), Barry Murphy for Barry (75 mins), Richie Lawrence for Fitzgerald (80 mins).
Waterford Crystal: Derek Hearne, Jason Foran, David McEvoy, Pat Dobbyn, Jimmy Barden, Johnny Gleeson, Keith Sheridan, Mitchel Casey, David McGrath, Jason Halloran, Joe Watson. Subs: Robbie Butler for Gleeson (63 mins), Niall Butler for Barden (E-T).
Referee: Jimmy McGrath.