Munster Junior Cup 5th Round (last 16)
BALLYNANTY ROVERS 1
ST. MICHAEL’S FC 0
St. Michael’s hopes of Munster Junior Cup glory came down to a goalkeeping error just before half time that gifted Ballynanty Rovers the victory on a windy day on an all-weather pitch in Annacotty, Limerick last Sunday. The ball control was difficult but Saints had enough possession to have won the game as Ballynanty defended deeply and were intent on hitting on the break. Saints had about 60-40 of first half possession and Richie Ryan shot just over on 14 minutes from a Pa Quinn cross.
A five-man move yielded a corner-kick on 22 minutes that was capitalised on and Richie Ryan went close from an Alan Hayes cross on 24 minutes. Pa Quinn had Saints best chance of the half, but his left foot shot went just wide a minute later.
Ballynanty’s Dave Dunphy on the overlap put in a dangerous cross, but a timely interception kept the game scoreless. Jimmy Carr, who has been selected for the Irish squad to compete in the UEFA Regions Cup qualifiers speed and skill saw him cause lots of danger and he went close at times. David Slattery shot straight at Stephen McNamara on 39 minutes before a free kick on 44 minutes saw a seemingly harmless shot spill from ‘keeper Derek Breen’s hands and Tony Fahey forced the ball home from close range for that all important goal. The goal visibly deflated Saints and even though they had most of the second half play, they were panicking and trying too hard at times. The ball was frequently out of play and Ballynanty did all they could to kill the game and Saints momentum.
Trevor Cosgrave and Pakie Farrell came in for David Slattery and Alan Hayes with ex-Saints player Shane Guerin showing well on his introduction for Ballynanty. Pa Quinn shot straight at the keeper when well placed and Jimmy Carr’s shot was saved at the post. Thomas Fahey’s shot was deflected over the crossbar with Saints camped in the Ballynanty area for much of the last 15 minutes.
Nevertheless, there was desperation and an eerie inevitability to the game as if fate was against them on the day. James Walsh had a late penalty claim rejected after being upended by the keeper. Even seven frantic minutes of stoppage-time failed to yield a precious goal that would have salvaged extra-time as St. Michael’s Munster Junior Cup dream came to an end for another season.