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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Late drama as Pike Rovers clinch their place in the FAI Junior Cup final

The Limerick club saw off St Peter’s Athlone thanks to two goals in the closing minutes of last night’s semi-final.

Pat Mullins of Pike Rovers with ex-Ireland captain Kenny Cunningham and the FAI Junior Cup trophy (file photo).
Pat Mullins of Pike Rovers with ex-Ireland captain Kenny Cunningham and the FAI Junior Cup trophy (file photo).

St Peter’s Athlone 0
Pike Rovers 2

TWO LATE GOALS sealed Pike Rovers a place in the FAI Junior Cup final, in association with Aviva and Umbro, against Sheriff YC at the Aviva Stadium.

With last night’s semi-final at Leah Victoria Park in Tullamore in stalemate and heading for extra-time, Steven McGann broke the deadlock on 87 minutes by scoring off his own rebound before John Connery added the second in stoppage time with a well-placed shot.

Victory for the Limerick side sets up a tantalising finale at the Dublin 4 venue on Saturday 14 May where they’ll be hoping to emulate their 2011 triumph.

Similar to the first match last Saturday week, which was abandoned due to snow when scoreless after 50 minutes, there was little between the sides and it took all of 137 minutes for the elusive goal to arrive.

Both teams had fashioned opportunities to have nicked the win by the time McGann stole in with three minutes left but it was befitting for the man-of-the-match to provide the telling intervention.

His opposite striker, Noel McGee of St Peter’s, produced the best of the first-half chances with a couple of wicked free-kicks which goalkeeper Gary Neville did well to turn around the near post.

However, the return of Wayne Colbert solidified Pike’s spine and they grew into the game as the tie progressed.

McGann headed just wide shortly after the restart from Paddy O’Malley’s cross while Wayne O’Donovan also went close with a free-kick that curled over.

Colbert was guilty of the most glaring miss 12 minutes from the end when he somehow headed over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.

Peter’s had their moments too in the second half, especially when the Pike defence switched off, yet they failed to profit. Scott Delaney’s header which missed the target was their best opening.

As the full-time whistle loomed, McGann struck. Breaching the offside trap, he raced clear and, despite being denied initially by goalkeeper Keith Hynes, he followed up to tuck the rebound home from close-range.

As the Saints piled forward in numbers searching for an equaliser, they were undone again in stoppage-time with Connery providing the sumptuous finish from the edge of the penalty area.

St Peter’s: Hynes; Donohue, Scullion, Delaney, McCrossan; Nkololo, Brooks, Stephens, Lee; Magee, Sherlock.

Pike Rovers: Neville; W O’Donovan, P Mullins (Walsh 41), O’Callaghan, E O’Donovan; Connery, Colbert, J Mullins, O’Malley (Daly 71); McGann, Collins.

Referee: Conor Byrne.

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About the author:

John Fallon

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