astonishing scenes

Ex-Liverpool striker scores 124th-minute equaliser from own half in Athlone's crazy FAI Cup loss to 10-man Waterford

Athlone were beaten on penalties after a bonkers 4-4 draw in the FAI Cup.

FORMER LIVERPOOL STRIKER Glen Mcauley completed his hat-trick with a 124th-minute equaliser from inside his own half in an astonishing FAI Cup clash between Athlone and Waterford…yet ended on the losing side in a heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat. 

An utterly bonkers Cup tie finished 4-4 after extra time at Lissywollen, with Premier Division Waterford avoiding an upset against their First Division opponents by winning 4-2 on penalties. 

The first half was relatively calm, with Waterford leading at the break through Anthony Wordsworth. Shane Griffin then doubled Waterford’s lead seven minutes after the break, but the Blues were dealt a blow when Wordsworth had to wander lonely from the pitch having picked up a second yellow card. 

Athlone then kickstarted what seemed to be a miracle comeback as McAuley – who was only confirmed as signing for the club from Shelbourne earlier today – converted a 75th-minute penalty. Stephen Meaney then equalised for Athlone with seven minutes remaining, and McAuley then completed a remarkable turnaround by converting a second penalty in the 88th minute. 

Unfortunately for Athlone, the drama was only getting started. Again it was a player who had only signed before the game central to it: Greg Halford – signed by Roy Keane at Sunderland many moons ago – equalised in the first minute of stoppage time to send the game to extra time. 

Waterford manager Marc Bircham was then sent off after the full-time whistle for over-zealous protestations with the referee and was followed by Athlone manager Adrian Carberry in extra time, who was banished by the referee for appealing for a penalty too vigorously. 

There was further drama in store deep into stoppage time of extra-time. George Forrest had seemingly won the game for Waterford with a goal in the third minute of stoppage time, only for McAuley to complete his hat-trick in truly astonishing circumstances. 

With Athlone kicking off after conceding and the clock reading 124 minutes, McAuley took the ball inside his own half and blithely pinged the ball over the backtracking Paul Martin for a truly remarkable equaliser. 

That sent the game to penalties, where Waterford prevailed to break Athlone hearts. McAuley, of course, scored to further burnish his three-goal game, but Martin saved from Dylan Hand and Jack Reynolds, while Waterford converted all of their penalties to win 4-2 on spot kicks. 

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