Clonmel Celtic had to rely on a second half fight back and then extra-time as they came from 2-0 down to defeat Cork AUL side Killumney United 3-2 in a thrilling FAI Junior Cup 5th Round tie played in Bishopstown, Cork city.
Celtic actually started the game quite brightly and some good play saw them have two efforts on target in the opening 15 minutes. On 10 minutes a good move resulted in Kevin Waters’ effort being comfortably saved and 3 minutes later another smart move ended with Evan Maguire fouled on the edge of the box but Graham Doyle’s free kick only found the side netting.
From that stage Killumney then took over. Celtic’s play was far too pedestrian and giving possession away. They were outmuscled in the middle of the park and always looked vulnerable to Killumney United’s direct approach.
On 18 minutes Craig Condon did well to get back and clear and minutes later Mark Power did even better with a last gasp challenge that denied a certain goal for the home side. Celtic just couldn’t get a foothold and on 25 minutes Killumney were in again but this time Riche Ryan saved well to keep the game scoreless.
However it was only a matter of time before the Celtic rearguard was breached and it came as no surprise when Dermot Desmond headed home to give the Cork side a deserved lead on 29 minutes. Killumney continued to turn the screw and it was Dermot Desmond again that rose highest on 38 minutes to head home from a corner-kick to make it 2-0. Celtic were run ragged and clung on desperately with Killumney coming close to a third on the stroke of half time.
Celtic took full advantage of the break and although never performing to their full capabilities were much improved. The TSDL side got the ideal start to the second half when Evan Maguire was sent tumbling on 49 minutes and Simon Scully sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Celtic had much more possession and looked more of threat going forward but Killumney restricted them in terms of chances. The Cork side had reason to feel aggrieved on 59 minutes when the referee blew for a foul, not allowing an advantage as Lloyd fired a fine effort to the top corner. From the free kick that followed Richie Ryan dived full length to push the ball around the post.
Although Killumney did not carry much of a threat from open play, they were very dangerous from set pieces that had caused Celtic a lot of trouble in the first half. Despite having more of the ball the clock was now Celtic’s enemy as the minutes ticked away. It looked as if Celtic’s much improved second half would count for nothing until second half substitute John Cagney blasted home a superb equaliser deep into injury time and Celtic were saved at the death and 20 minutes extra-time.
The momentum was now with Celtic and it came as no real surprise when Seanie O’Hara finished expertly after he was set-up by Paul Kennedy on 95 minutes to give Celtic the lead for the first time at 3-2. Killumney United almost forced a penalty shoot-out but goalkeeper Richie Ryan made a great block and then Simon Scully somehow cleared another effort off the line in the final minute of extra-time as Clonmel Celtic held on to advance to the last 32 of the FAI Junior Cup.