FAI Junior Cup Third Round
Ely Woodlawn – 0
Sheriff YC – 3
Sheriff YC advanced to the Fourth Round of the FAI Junior Cup after a clinical second-half display proved enough to overcome a spirited Ely Woodlawn side at the Oscar Traynor Centre on Friday night.
Despite Sheriff’s firm grip over first-half proceedings they couldn’t create the opening goal and it was Woodlawn who should have really taken the lead into the break after spurning the half’s biggest chance. However, second-half strikes from Joe Flood, Darren O’Brien and John Lester broke the Ely resistance and secured the reigning champion’s progression.
The first chance of the night fell on ten minutes when Sheriff were awarded a free-kick within shooting distance. Free-kick specialist Stephen ‘Bones’ Murphy stood over it and hit a fantastic low shot which cannoned off the outside of the post and went wide.
— Sheriff YC (@Sheriff_YC) October 21, 2016
YC continued to dictate the pace of the game with Murphy, Lester, O’Brien and Darren Dunne putting together neat passages of play around the park, however, Ely were firm at the back and restricted YC from grinding out anything of substance, forcing them to shoot from range and not really causing their ‘keeper any problems.
Woodlawn looked dangerous on the break with the impressive Paul Duffy and Brian Buckley showing tremendous energy and determination in chasing long balls and forcing Sheriff to retreat into their own half on numerous occasions.
Just before the half-hour mark the hosts were inches from taking a shock lead. A beautifully lofted ball from the back fell right into the path of Buckley who was clean through on goal. He found himself one-on-one with Mark Hatton and opted to roll the ball past the Sheriff stopper, however, it fell agonizingly wide of the mark.
Murphy came close with a free-kick shortly after however his shot deflected off the wall on its way towards goal, taking the sting out of the shot and allowing the ‘keeper to make the save.
As the half came to a close chances fell to Dunne whose shot went narrowly over the top from distance and Paul Murphy who embarked on a mazy run before shooting low into the arms of Woodlawn’s stopper.
Just before the break Sheriff had a glorious chance to nick one before the whistle when a corner ball dropped to Anto Murphy inside the six yard box however his connection was nearly too powerful and the ball flew over the bar.
Sheriff picked up where they left off in the second-half continuing to string together move after move. Five minutes in Lester hit a cracking half-volley effort from the edge of the box which barely missed the top-corner.
Minutes later they did indeed find the game’s opening goal when a corner was planted onto the foot of Joe Flood who made no mistake in tapping it into the net from close-range.
Just before the hour mark Sheriff almost doubled their advantage when Thomas Dunne was twice denied by some excellent goalkeeping. Dunne received the ball inside the area following some tremendous work from Mark Higgins before seeing his initial effort pushed back into his path, however, the ‘keeper reacted well and denied Dunne a second-time with a brilliant reaction save.
On 68 minutes, it was two when Stephen Murphy’s shot from the cusp of the box fell to O’Brien whose shot hit off the post before rebounding off the unfortunate goalie and rolling into the net.
Five minutes later Woodlawn almost pulled a goal back when Shane O’Loughlin swung a fantastic ball onto the head of Duffy however Hatton;s outstretched arm pushed it away from the top corner and out for a corner.
Alan Reilly’s men then made sure of the victory when Paul Murphy went on another dazzling run before squaring for Lester who knocked it home to make it three.
Ely were again denied a name on the scoresheet when two minutes from the end a wicked Dean Farrell strike was again magnificently saved by Hatton which ensured Sheriff progressed with a clean sheet.
JSP Man of the Match: John Lester (Sheriff YC)