Athenry Edge it in Connacht Cup Semi
Connacht Junior Cup (Semi-Final)
Mervue Utd 0-1 Athenry
By Peter O Connor
Mervue's Connacht Junior Cup aspirations were ended on Sunday morning, following a 1-0 defeat by junior rivals Athenry. A goal 12 minutes from time from Conor Cannon saw holders Athenry advance to a Connacht Final meeting with Westport Utd in May after a very tight close fought game at Fahy's Field.
The game itself produced few chances for either side ,but it will be the home side who are left wondering what might have been, having arguably had the better of the limited chances on offer.
The game itself highlighted the defensive qualities of both sides, and this was witnessed by a large gathering of spectators, which included members of the Westport United team who would await the winners in the final.
In terms of creativity, the game failed to produce any memorable moments of magic. However, in terms of intensity, it is fair to say that both sides were certainly not lacking on the day, and the prize at stake clearly meant a lot to every man out there.
The rivalry between these two teams over the past few seasons has been immense, and the truth is that there is very little between the two sets of players. This however was the day of the visitors, who scored a scrappy winner with twelve minutes to go through Connor Cannon's determination following a swift breakaway move.
It seemed inevitable that this one was heading for extra time before that late goal, and even though the home side heaped the pressure on for the final quarter, it was not to be for the current League leaders.
On to defend their trophy then for Athenry, who celebrated as if the trophy had been won here. The visiting Westport players would like to think they will have something to say about that.
As for Padraig Kilgannon's Mervue side, they can take some consolation by defending their league title, as they lie five points clear with only three games remaining. They also defend their Michael Byrne Cup title as a local derby with neighbours, East Utd, await in the semi-final of that competition in Castlepark.
Mervue Utd - Griffin, Connolly, Dowling, O'Connor, McHugh, Ryan (Ward '77), Walsh, McWalter, Cunningham, Kelly and Meaney (Concannon '56).
Athenry - McDonagh, Rabbitte, Forde, Kineen, Byrne, Moran, O'Donovan, Crowe, Fahy, Cannon and Lawless.
Referee - Vincent Carew