St. Michael’s keep their eye on the big prize, thanks to John Connery’s accurate free kick

FAI Junior Cup 5th Round

FAI Junior Cup 5th Round

Landen United (Dublin) 0

St. Michael’s FC 1

St. Michael’s FC continued their march towards another FAI Junior Cup Final, reaching the last 32 of the competition with a single goal victory against Dublin AUL Premier B League leaders Laden United in Dublin last Sunday.

It was a game that was dominated from start to finish by 1974 winners St. Michael’s, who are still seeking a second FAI Junior Cup success having missed out in four finals over the past decade. Saints opened smartly with Richie Ryan unlucky not to score from a Jimmy Carr cross after five minutes. His shot was pushed around the post and from the resultant corner Michael Rafter had an effort cleared off the line. In the 6th minute Jimmy Carr hit the post from a Michael Rafter pass as they cut through the Dubliners’s rearguard. Michael Rafter’s good run after saw minutes saw him fouled, but Colin Bargary’s free-kick was cleared.

Landen United were lively on the break but failed to penetrate the highly-rated Saints defence. Michael Rafter was unlucky after 27 minutes when his shot from Jimmy Carr’s pass was blocked by a defender on the line. Landen United had their best chance on the half-hour when Ian Tuohy shot over from 18 yards. Paul Breen headed narrowly wide from John Connery’s corner kick after 32 minutes. A sublime Michael Rafter pass played in Pa Quinn three minutes before the break but he took the ball in the air and it went the wrong side of the crossbar as the half came to a close. The long-awaited breakthrough eventually came in the 55th minute when Jimmy Carr was fouled and John Connery’s direct free-kick from 18 yards beat Landen United’s goalie with the aid of a deflection.

Saints continued to dominate and won a series of set-pieces but none were good enough to kill off the opposition. The home side lost their composure, with Anthony Keeler sent off for a second yellow card offence in the 81st minute for a foul on Jimmy Carr, from which Saints were awarded a penalty but the normally reliable James Walsh shot wide of the target. With Saints deep inside the opposition half for the final minutes there was another dismissal as Landen United were reduced to nine men. By then St. Michael’s were making plans for the visit to Cooke Park of Wicklow Rovers, a side they defeated on their way to last season’s decider, in the next round.