Tipperary Town side St. Michael's into Round 5 of FAI Junior Cup after extra time win

Tipperary Town side St. Michael's into Round 5 of FAI Junior Cup after extra time win

Jimmy Carr was in top form for St. Michael's.

With some of the really big names exiting the FAI Junior Cup in the last number of weeks, St Michael’s must have been secretly fancying themselves as potential winners again this year.

 But their whole season almost came unstuck on Sunday against an excellent young BT Harps side who pushed the former champions all the way to the end of extra time, with the Tipp town side eventually coming through 3-2.

Saints began well and had a number of chances notably through David Slattery but they were unable to make anything stick early on.

Jimmy Carr then had a goal-bound effort blocked in the 17th minute after Colin Bargary had released John O'Brien on the left wing, but the goal eventually came when John O'Brien found himself in space from a Slattery cross and he showed good composure and a neat left foot finish to make it 1-0.

It could have been two minutes later when a Carr cross sailed across the area without a goal bound touch.

 There were no more goals by the time the half time whistle sounded, but with the home side well on top, and having the lion’s share of possession St Michael’s looked to be heading comfortably for Round Five.

However the Saints play got a bit complacent as if the second goal was a formality, and after the visitors brought in Eanna McBride and Tom Brophy, McBride in particular started to have a big influence on the game.

The North Tipp team were getting more on the ball the produced and equaliser in the 62nd  minute when Jamie Bergin got the ball in space and fired his shot across the area to the bottom corner of the net.

The tie turned in the home side's favour 18 minutes from time when they were awarded a penalty, and the Saints went back in front. They were then happy to sit back over the last ten minutes and hit on the break but were conceding territory and looking nervy and in the final minute Stevie Nolan picked up a ball and managed to run into the box firing home to take the game into extra time.

In a battle now in fading light on a heavy pitch, the Aviva in the Summer seemed a long way away, but the home side have plenty experience of digging deep and did so again in this game. Jimmy Carr especially showed leadership by going close on a number of occasions, but even he seemed unable to deliver that decisive moment to win his side the game.

Both teams were looking weary by the second period of extra time and with Saints readying Adrian Walsh for an imminent penalty shootout, nerves were especially frayed.

Saints were still getting the ball in the area and in the 108th minute, Richie Ryan managed to get a toe poke on a ball near goal and forced it over the line.

Cup football brings its own drama and this was no exception but Saints got through at the death to face New Ross Celtic in Round Five, and one wonders if they are to succeed in this year’s competition will they look back on last Sunday and breathe a huge sigh of relief.