Donnycarney FC 1
Ayrfield Utd 2
By Cathal Austin
Two second half goals engineered by the industrious Brian Malone, saw a weakened Ayrfield United edge past Donnycarney FC in the FAI Junior Cup yesterday morning.
Ayrfield made hard work of their victory against a resilient Donnycarney outfit, who found themselves reduced to 10 men inside 15 minutes.
Goals From Brian Togher and centre back Callum Richies, were enough to secure a place in the next round. However, the home side will feel they passed up an opportunity to capitalise on a depreciated Ayrfield squad, operating without seven regular first-choice players.
The game began at a quick pace, with both teams trying to assert dominance inside the first ten minutes. Donnycarney were especially eager and were on more then one occasion, overzealous in the tackle.
The trend continued, until Donnycarney midfielder Tony Murray, caught by a strong challenge, petulantly kicked an Ayrfield defender, earning himself a straight red and an early shower.
Despite the sending off, Donnycarney had the pick of the early chances, with Mark Ludlow twice testing Mick Cahill in the Ayrfield net. The pacy Alan Talbot remained a constant threat on the break, linking up well with the front two.
Little by little Ayrfield began to impose their will, with the ever-present Craig Coleman playing the anchor role; breaking up play, and dictating the tempo of the game. His side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession after the 25 minute mark, but they couldn’t seem to find the final ball.
Brian Togher and Brian Malone posed the most significant attacking threat, showing good link up play. Malone’s probing runs began to ask questions of the opposition defence, forcing David Heary to pick up his sides second booking, after sliding in late.
The best chance of the half came on 30 minutes, Andrew Hand latched onto Brian Togher’s whipped cross, only for Joe Harry to save from six yards in the Donnycarney net.
The second half began in the same vein, with Ayrfield controlling proceedings. The ball began to travel with fluency, and the away side had an urgency that was missing in the opening 45. They got their reward on 55 minutes, Malone released Togher with a deftly weighted ball, and he finished emphatically at the near post.
The lead lasted only 15 minutes. A quick counter saw left back Luevan Garro stride forward and deliver a pacy cross towards the head of Ian Finn, who promptly dispatched, bringing Donnycarney right back into it. Finn came close five minutes later as Ayrfield again squandered possesion in the final third, allowing the home side to break. Another cross delivered from the right found Finn at the back post, and his header hit the bar.
With the teams in deadlock, It was time for the big players to turn up. Craig Coleman steadied the Ayrfield ship, linking up with substitute Mark Lynch. who forced a corner late on. The home defence failed to deal with the delivery, allowing the ball to fall to Callum Richies, who smashed in the winner from 10 yards.
Mick Cahill, Sean Young, Karl Mc Knight, Callum Richies, Daniel Trimble, Craig Coleman, Darren Field, Oisin Kenny, Brian Togher, Andrew Hand, Brian Malone, Mark Lynch, Mark Glynn, Adam Cullen.
Joe Harry, Ian Burke, Luevan Garro, Darren Brazil, Patrick Warren, Tony Murray, Daniel Mc Mahon, David Heary, Alvin Lawlor, Mark Ludlow, Alan Talbot, Ian Finn, Stephen Kelly, Warren Moore, Conor Flanagan.