FAI Junior Cup 7th Round (last 16)
BALLINASLOE TOWN 2
CLONMEL CELTIC 0
Clonmel Celtic’s dream of appearing in the Aviva Stadium in this season’s FAI Junior Cup Final was truly shattered going down to Roscommon League side Ballinasloe Town at the Co. Galway venue last Sunday.
Celtic started quite well and looked to have settled quicker as they had more of the ball in the opening 15 minutes. On 7 minutes, Brian Waters worked an opening for himself in the Ballinasloe box only to see his effort easily gathered by keeper Aidan Fallon. Celtic then had a great opportunity to score on 14 minutes, a beautiful pass from Evan Maguire set Seanie O’Hara one-on-one with the keeper who was quickly off his line to block the effort when the better option might have been for O’Hara to go around the keeper.
After playing second fiddle for the earlier part of the game the home side gradually got a foothold with Concannon, Duffy and Cooney all looking dangerous.
Ballinasloe hit the front on 28 minutes when a smart pass from Darragh Concannon freed Michael Greaney who held off the challenge of Mark Power to slide the ball under the advancing Richie Ryan to give the home side the lead.
With the wind in their sails the home side grew in confidence and Celtic’s play disintegrated as they struggled to cope on a very bumpy pitch. Celtic had appeals for a penalty turned down on 35 minutes when Seanie O’Hara seemed to be impeded in the box but the Sligo referee waved play on. At the other end Ballinasloe were beginning to create more chances and on 36 minutes, Alan Cooney failed to convert a good cross from Shane Duffy. On 37 minutes, a good run by the impressive Mark Power ended with Seanie O’Hara creating space in the box, only for his effort saved by the keeper. Just before the break, Darragh Concannon tested Richie Ryan with a free-kick that he had to gather at the second attempt as the first half ended 1-0 to the home side.
The second half was as poor a game as Celtic couldn’t put two passes together and even the home side must have been surprised at how comfortable it was for them. There was no fluency as Ballinasloe looked very solid. On 61 minutes, Celtic’s worst fears were realised when Concannon fired home a direct free-kick to make it 2-0. However, Celtic almost made a quick response on 65 minutes when keeper Aiden Fallon made a brilliant reflex save from Seanie O’Hara. But Ballinasloe, who have reached the last eight for the first time, grew stronger as the game progressed and Celtic’s challenge faded with the home side having further efforts from Mark Duffy and Alan Cooney saved by Richie Ryan to keep the score respectable. Therefore, it is back to the drawing board for Clonmel Celtic who still have the Munster Junior Cup and both domestic competitions up for grabs.