FAI Junior Cup
Sheriff YC – 2
North End Utd – 0
Sheriff YC booked their spot in the draw for the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup with a hard earned victory over North End Utd on Sunday afternoon.
The two time champions were pushed all the way by a resolute Wexford side who despite going a man down and a goal behind after 63 minutes, dominated much of the second half and could have gotten more from the game.
A mixture of lackluster finishing and the drop of a ball cost the John Godkin managed side who were then hit of the break late on to send them out of this season’s competition.
In the first half North End looked well up for the challenge but a times sat back and invited the Alan Reilly managed side onto them. Sheriff obliged and had a number of good chances.
They came close after 17 minutes when they broke away and Stewy Glen crossed to Mark Higgins at the back stick but his header was just wide. Soon after a Darren Dunne free kick from the left picked out top scorer Glen but he flashed his header wide.
North End were industrious and at times Kyle Dempsey played good through balls to Paul Murphy but the Sheriff rearguard managed to mop things up.
Sheriff continued to knock on the door and with 20 on the clock Higgins’ cross deflected into the path of Dunne in the box but his shot went over the bar. Then, Darren O’Brien’s cross to the back post picked out Higgins who had time to steady himself before shooting but his effort hit the side netting.
North End’s best chance of the half came with seven left to play when Lee Walker’s long kick out was raced onto by Paul Murphy whose header required a brilliant tip around the post by Lee Murphy and the sides went into the break level.
After the turn Sheriff continued to look the more likely to get the opener and came close again when Kevin Lynch’s free kick from the right was met by John Lester’s glancing header but it flew just fractionally win.
The turning point in the game came with 63 on the clock. North End’s Keith Carney, who had been booked minutes earlier for kicking the ball away upended Paul Murphy inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot and showed Carney his second yellow and then red.
John Lester took on the responsibility from 12 yards out and made now mistake sending Walker the wrong way.
Despite going a goal and a man down, from that point on it was the visitors who looked the more impressive side and Sheriff began to sit back and absorb the pressure.
Shane Dempsey began to assert control in the centre and Ethan Boyle began to see more ball on the right wing giving North End a more creative presence.
They came closest to a leveler with 15 left to play after good work from Paul Murphy on the right saw the ball fed to Shane Dempsey on the edge of the box – his curling effort found the target but hit the outside of the post and fell to safety.
Just minutes later Shane Dempsey’s free kick from the centre picked out substitute Jay Murphy who knocked down to brother Paul. His first-time strike was well saved by Lee Murphy.
As the game entered the final five minutes North End threw everything at Sheriff who were pinned back soaking it up. Shane Dempsey’s free kick deflected into the path of McCurtan but he swung on the turn and totally missed the ball with just the keeper to beat.
With North End pushed high they were ripe to be hit on the break and on three occasions in quick succession they were caught on the hop. On the first two Thomas Dunne first hit the post then a minute later he hit the bar.
Third time lucky came deep into injury time for the Irish Amateur International and he made no mistake from close range to send Sheriff into the last 16 draw.