Neville Cup Round One
Pembroke Wanderers 2 (Patrick Good, Ronan Flannery) Three Rock Rovers 2 (Peter Blakeney, Stephen Bredin), Pembroke win 5-3 on penalty strokes
Brendon Carolan and Arul Anthoni were left plenty to ponder from their first competitive fixtures in charge at Pembroke and Three Rock, respectively, with Ronan Flannery’s comical stroke settling this extended Serpentine Avenue tie.
The first half produced a bizarre goal tally as deep-lying Rovers spent the majority of the half camped within their own 25 but came up with a 1-0 lead courtesy of Peter Blakeney’s 26th minute high drag-flick.
The home attack struggled to show the same bite of years gone by, shorn of Alan Sothern and Justin Sherriff, though they did create numerous turnovers in advanced positions, Alan Giles effecting a number of steals.
But teenager Stephen West continued his rapid ascension from the summer months and it was Rovers who almost nicked a second when Ross Varian, Patrick Shanahan and Ross Canning were denied by a scrappy treble save from debutant goalkeeper Gowan Jones.
Patrick Good levelled after the impressive Flannery – on his return from UCD – moved forward from the back made the incision and the forward tapped home from close range. It came moments after Flannery has zinged a corner goalwards only for the excellent Blakeney to guide the head-high shot wide.
Rovers hit the front again when Stephen Bredin spun to roll home after Mick Maguire’s powerful run but Flannery forced extra-time with a high flick. Pembroke had the better of possession but Three Rock thought they had a winner when Canning netted but Shanahan was deemed to have kicked the ball in the build-up after an umpire’s consultation.
The first five strokes went according to plan before Peter McConnell dinged a post and Flannery sealed the win despite scuffing his effort – West diving the wrong way initially and was unable to get back across goal to save.
Corinthian 2 (Glenn Holmes, Neil Young) Railway Union 2 (Fiachra Maher, Mark English), Railway win 4-3 on penalty strokes
Railway Union set up a Sandymount derby with YMCA with a rare win at Whitechurch Park, again taking recourse to penalty strokes, after almost giving up a 2-0 lead due to a strong Reds’ powerplay.
For the hosts, the absence of Brian Doherty and injured Chris Pelow was apparent as they converted just one of seven penalty corners – Stephen O’Keeffe enjoying a good day between the sticks, as did Ross Murray at the far end.
They held the balance of play but Railway’s high pressing game yielded the greater chances from play and the first to matter came in the 28th minute when Fiachra Maher swept home a loose ball, garnered from pressure in the reds’ 25.
And a similar trick worked in the second half to double the difference when Mark English intercepted a loose pass. He latched on and zipped home a fantastic reverse in the 47th minute.
But, with Kenny Carroll sent to the bin for ten minute for a series of niggly fouls, Corinthian got back on terms. Glenn Holmes scored from a corner before Neil Young bagged his side’s equaliser. Holmes also hit the post while the returning Karl Smith had what would have been a clincher saved off the line.
Extra-time yielded no goals and Railway gained an immediate boon in the shoot-out, O’Keeffe saving in the first series. They held their nerve until their final round but the Railway netminder saved Corinthian’s fifth effort to seal their passage.
Clontarf 3 (Tom Noonan 2, Robert Forrest) Avoca 2 (Scott Wilkie 2, 1ps)
At the bull ring, Clontarf took the battle of the division two sides as their much changed side – now under Gareth Borland’s stewardship – stayed ahead for the majority of their tie with Avoca.
Belvedere schoolboy Robert Forrest broke the deadlock in the fifth minute for his first goal in ’Tarf’s first team colours for a lead which they held until half-time and Skerries old-boy Tom Noonan made it 2-0 after the short whistle.
Scott Wilkie pulled one back from a corner to get his side back into the mix but Noonan’s second, from another corner, gave Clontarf the requisite breathing space. Wilkie netted a stroke for the Blackrock side but it was the hosts who set up a home tie with Monkstown, pencilled in for October 3.
Weston 1 (Enda Tucker ps) Fingal 3 (David Bane 2, Gary Sharman)
David Bane’s double underpinned Fingal’s decent start to the season but found Weston a tricky proposition at Griffeen Valley Park, finding them a dogged nut to crack.
Gary Sharman opened up the game with a fine early half-volley after a loose ball broke his way, zipping the ball past the impressive Vinny Byrne’s glove side.
But the Lucanites were back on terms when a rebounded corner hit David Bane on the arm – the midfielder’s protests that the ball was going wide waved away – and Enda Tucker beat Nigel Grothier from the spot.
Player-coach Alan Browne was central to a well co-ordinated Weston defensive effort thereafter, breached only by two Bane corners, the first of which came on the stroke of half-time and the second completing the win in the second period.
Paddy Gahan was almost celebrating one from play but was horrified to see his effort rebound off the inside of a post. They now travel to face Pembroke in a repeat of last year’s Mills Cup final.
Round Two draw: Pembroke vs Fingal; Clontarf vs Monkstown; Suttonians/Glenanne vs UCD; Railway Union vs YMCA
Deryck Vincent’s pics from Clontarf vs Avoca
Adrian Boehm’s pics from Weston vs Fingal