Sallypark stay on track for Tipp Cup treble
By Gary Culbert
Back-to-back Tipperary Cup holders Sallypark Odhrans won 4-1 away to division 1 league winners Borroway Rovers in the quarter final on Sunday at Loughtagalla Park.
The holders were focused, determined and quick out of the traps in Thurles as they started at a great pace. The opener came after just eight minutes when some fine play down the right by Willie Connors culminated in him putting the ball on a plate for Tom McCutcheon, who just had to tap in.
The away side doubled their lead after 25 minutes when the hosts failed to clear the danger from a corner, which resulted in a shot from Tom McCutcheon that was too hot to handle for the Borroway keeper Gordon Carey, and spilled neatly into the path of Jack Sanders who did not need to be asked twice as he blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Just before the break, the Sallypark put another nail in Borroway’s coffin with a third goal, which came after a Dan Keogh cross was found its way into the net.
Sallypark hit their fourth shortly after the restart, Stephen Murray finding the net with an expertly stuck free kick which nestled in the top corner, well out of the reach of Carey in goals.
Borroway’s consolation goal came with twenty minutes to go from a corner kick, the finish was a well-placed header into the corner of the net.
For Sallypark, there were notable performances from Willie Connors, David Young, Jack Sanders, Daniel Keogh and Stephen Murray.
The holders will have home advantage for the semi-final against Killavilla United, who interestingly already won in Latteragh this season, defeating Sallypark 4-2 in the second round of the Munster Junior Cup, back in October.
Killavilla United booked their passage to the semi-finals courtesy of a 3-1 win away to Holycross on Sunday.
The premier division runners-up led 2-1 at half time thanks to goals from the in-form duo of Eddie Simmons and Brian Moloney, with Holycross finding the net through Aaron Ryan. The Roscrea men doubled their lead in the second half thanks to a Ruairi Murphy strike, which ended the scoring in Glenbane.
Next weekend will be the final game of the season for one of Holycross and Moneygall, as they meet in the first round of the Barry Cup. On paper, the hosts should have an easy time in this one, but Moneygall have improved of late and the running power and vision of Niall Maher and Jack O’Brien respectively might cause the same problems that Holycross faced against Ardcroney.
Back to the Tipperary Cup on Sunday in Ballinree, a young but dominant BT Harps side professionally dispatched of a youthful Ballymackey 4-0 to reach the last four.
The Templemore side started the better and the pressure told on the half hour when they were awarded a penalty for a handball, which Ben Stapleton put away to give the visitors the lead heading into the break.
Ballymackey came out firing in the second half and piled on the pressure but couldn't break Harps down, while at the other end the Templemore men looked increasingly dangerous on the counter, particularly under a high ball from their keeper.
Indeed, it was on the counter that Harps got their second goal when Killian Fennell broke free on the counter-attack before sliding the ball through for Ben Stapleton, who rounded the keeper to net his second and double BT’s lead.
Ballymackey kept pushing forward in search of a route back into the game, however, it was BT who broke again with devastating effect. This time Ben Stapleton turned provider, feeding Jordan Moloney to make it 3-0 with thirty minutes remaining.
Ballymackey did strike the cross-bar from a free kick, but in truth the young home side looked the part until the final third, where they were met by a very confident and physically dominant BT Harps back four.
The final goal came when Ballymackey had thrown caution to the wind, substitute Stefan Leahy took advantage of this as he played a superb reverse pass on the halfway line, which split the high line. Jack Kennedy ran onto the through ball down the inside left, at one point it looked like he over played it, but he cleverly cut back inside to fire high into the net and put an exclamation mark on the victory.
Lorcan Roche, in the middle of the defence, and Ben Stapleton up front performed very well but the player of the match was Lyndon Fairbrother, whose pace and power were a constant threat out on the right.
Harps would have to wait to find out their semi-final opponents however, as Ardcroney and Portumna Town went all the way to extra time in Galway having played out a predictably tight 1-1 draw during normal time with the visitors progressing after the additonal thirty minutes.
It was Ardcroney who started the better team and once again it was a familiar story as star man Darren Moran stole the show with an opening goal of highest quality. The Kiladangan man’s trademark goal would usually see the towering forward latch onto a through ball before holding off a man or two and finishing calmly, however, Moran is now playing with an enhanced confidence following his recent purple patch. The unsuspecting Portumna keeper could only look when, on five minutes, the ball bounced up kindly to Moran and he let fly on the volley high and hard over the keeper from the edge of the box.
Both sides had some chances before the break but both respective keepers Johnny O’Meara and Paddy Reddan were in top form.
A relatively quiet second half sprung to life in the 82nd minute when Portumna broke from the half way line and a perfect through ball saw David O’Meara though one-on-one with Paddy Reddan and the striker confidently took his chance to level the tie.
With just five minutes remaining, Portumna were reduced to ten men for a second yellow card offence, meaning the home side would have to endure extra time down a man.
In extra time, it was Ardcroney who once again applied the early pressure. A Jack Daly through ball put Kieran Spain in behind, but the winger’s shot was stopped by a brilliant save from player of the match Johnny O’Meara, but unfortunately for Portumna the save rebounded kindly for Jamie Heffernan, who tapped home from six yards to joyous celebrations from the Ardcroney faithful and bench.
Ardcroney would easily kill off the rest of the game thanks to their numerical advantage and have booked a trip to Michael Fennel Park in the semi-final, where BT Harps eagerly await.
Interestingly, on one side of the draw there are two very youthful sides in BT Harps and Ardcroney, whereas on the other side there is endless amounts of experience in the Killavilla and Sallypark ranks.
Next up for Ardcroney is the Kilruane derby in Cloughjordan. Although this league game is fairly meaningless, these sides will face off in the opening round of the Barry Cup in the coming weeks, so both teams will be looking to lay a marker down in Tierney Park.
Under 19 Premier DIVISION
Killavilla United made the trip to Ardcroney on Saturday and came away empty handed on the wrong end of a 4-1 defeat in what was a relegation six-pointer.
These sides met last season in the Youths Cup where Ardcroney suffered defeat in Villa Park. On this occasion, the sides were level at the break courtesy of a Craig McGrath goal for the hosts and a Michael Fitzgerald strike for the Roscrea side.
Ardcroney convincingly pulled away in the second half thanks to a Jack Mulcahy brace and a Liam O’Regan finish. The best for Killavilla was Josh Doran.
It's another relegation dog fight next week for Villa as they make the trip to Clarisford Park, where a win would see them leap frog Lough Derg to safety.