Peake Villa’s dream run in the FAI Junior Cup came to a halt as Champions Sheriff YC beat them 2-1 in the Tower Grounds in Thurles.
A first half goal from Anto Murphy was cancelled out by Billy McCarthy but John Rock was on hand to net the winner nine minutes from time to break Villa Hearts.
The match started as a cagey affair with Sheriff looking to dominate possession and indeed they did in the opening half. Villa however got the first chance on goal when a ball from Dale Loughnane found Mikey Wade in the area on seven minutes and his first time shot deflected over much to the relief of Lee Murphy in the goal.
The game continued to be a battle for possession up until the fourteenth minute when a long punt from Murphy in the Sheriff goal wreaked havoc in the Villa box and the ball eventually fell to Gavin McDermott but his shot was excellently saved by Stephen Ryan. The resulting corner however would not go to waste as Anto Murphy rose highest in the area and his bullet header gave Ryan no chance in the Villa goal to put Sheriff a goal to the good.
Peake tried to get back into the game but were restricted to long balls up to the isolated Matthew McKevitt and were getting no joy in breaking the Dublin side down. After a series of corners for the home side on the twenty fifth minute Gary Lyouns crossed the ball into Matthew Fogarty but his header missed the target. Sheriff would control affairs very well after this without making too many chances themselves but three minutes from half time Lyons again crossed into the area and the bouncing ball found McKevitt whose shot deflected wide of the target with Murphy beaten.
Villa looked hungrier in the second half and two minutes in Lyons tested Murphy from distance without really troubling the keeper. Sheriff had their own sighter two minutes later when Sean Murphy shot from twenty five yards but Ryan was on hand to tip it over with a great save.
Villa Continued to press throughout the next ten minutes and nearly equalized when a Lyons cross wasn’t dealt with by Murphy and his punch went straight to Maris Baltins whose goal bound shot was saved by the relieved Anthony Kavanagh. Villa would Equalize only a minute layer when Loughnane passed into Billy McCarthy and his magnificent turn seen him bearing down on goal and he calmly slotted the ball beyond Murphy to send the home crowd into delirium.
Both sides found it hard to break each other down after this and but for two snap shots by the impressive John Rock their were no real chances of note as both defenses were well on top. This however would change nine minutes from time as a long throw from Anto Murphy eluded everyone and Stephen Ryan could only manage to palm it into the foot of Rock who tapped home from a couple of yards to win the game for his side.
A tactical game that either team might have won on the day but experience paid off in the end for the champions. Both Matthew Fogarty and Alan Leahy Played brilliantly at centre half for Villa whilst Gary Lyon, in particular in the second half, had a confident performance. Bily McCarthy will remember his goal for some time and Dale Loughnane again put in a tireless effort, not forgetting to mention to hugelyimportant saves from Ryan in the Villa goal.
Sheriff used all their experience throughout the game and in the first half Thomas Dunne looked particularly dangerous. Anto Murphy’s goal help settle the early nerves and his long throws proved very hard to defend. Anthony Kavanagh was the hear and soul of the very tight defense whilse John Lester was exceptionally good in midfield. But the stoppagetime.ie man of the match goes to John Rock, his link up play was oustanding and played the lone striker role to perfection and proved to be the match winner in the end as he was the right man in the right place with ten minutes to go.
Villa can be very proud of their run in the competition but even prouder of their performance today against what has proved to be the best side in the country.
- Stephen Ryan (GK)
- Matthew Fogarty
- Sean Wade
- Alan Leahy
- Maris Baltins
- Gary Lyons
- Mikey Wade
- Billy McCarthy
- Matthew McKevitt
- Pippy Carroll
- Dale Loughnane
- Lee Murphy
- Anto Murphy
- Joe O’Neill
- Anthony Kavanagh
- John Lester
- Gavin McDermott
- Sean Murphy
- Stephen Murphy
- Mark Higgins
- John Rock
- Thomas Dunne