Ricky Fogarty Cup
Roscrea Town 2
Denis Moloney 70′
John Pio Fitzpatrick 81′
Thurles Town 3
Paul Kirwan 45′
Ted O’Connor 66′
Eoghan Vaughan 93′
Thurles Town progressed to the semi final of the Ricky Fogarty Cup after a hard fought win over Roscrea Town in Villa Park. Paul Kirwan and Ted O’Connor put the away side two goals to the good but Denis Moloney and John Pio Fitzpatrick goals sent the game into extra time where a quality goal from Eoghan Vaughan was the difference between both sides but in truth it was two fine displays by both keepers that kept the goal count at five.
In a cagey start it was the home side who got the first chance when a Brian Franks free was headed towards goal by Shane Moloney and he seen his effort drift just wide with Loughman beaten in the Thurles goal. The game failed to gain momentum and a midfield battle ensued with neither side coming out on top in reality.
It took until the twenty third minute for the next real chance of note to come when a Martin Darmody free found Paraic Fogarty and his header beat Roddy Teehan in the goal but not B.Franks on the line. Darmody would test the home defence on the thirty fourth minute when his long range free was headed for the top corner but Teehan saved well. Darmody would take another free a minute later and the ball bounced freely to Paul Kirwan, a player that plied his trade for many years in Villa Park, and his shot went straight into Teehans arms.
Roscrea looked to get back into this and some good play in the midfield made space for B.Franks and his shot when high over the bar. Roscrea almost took the lead on the stroke of half time when Shane Moloney won the ball off Aaron Ryan and the resulting shot seen Loughman save brilliantly down to his right to keep the scores lever. Roscrea were made rue this miss almost immediately when Micheal Foley sent Vaughan clear down the left and his cross was on a six pence for Kirwan who made no mistake from five yards to put the away side ahead and they would take that lead into the break.
Thurles should have doubled their lead two minutes into the second half when Foley this time found Aidan Keenan and his cross was again on point for Kirwan but he volleyed wide when he should have scored. The game ran into a scrappy period at this point with neither team able to make any chances until the sixty fourth minute when Roscrea broke quickly and Denis Moloney sent Craig Phelan down the left, Phelan returned the ball to Moloney who they found Phelan again in the box only for the veteran to shoot wide, a fantastic piece of play from the home side.
Once again however Roscrea were made rue their lack of composure when a Darmody corner was headed on by Fogarty and Ted O’Connor was on hand to tap the ball past a helpless Teehan to double his sides lead. This seemed to wake Roscrea up and only four minutes later Micheál Byrne was adjudged to have handballed some thirty yards from goal, Denis Moloney stepped up and his free was cruelly deflected beyond Loughmans reach much to the joy of the Roscrea support. Seven minutes later it could have been all square but for a remarkable save from Loughman when substitute Craig Byrnes free evaded everyone bar the outstretched arm of the town keeper who was at full stretch. From the resulting B.Franks corner Ian Treacy headed over the bar from eight yards in an effort that he should have scored.
Noone would blame Roscrea if they’d thought that it wasn’t going to be their day but they continued to battle and John Pio Fitzpatrick shot from twenty yards nine minutes from time only to have Loughman deny him with another fantastic save. Roscrea would get the goal they craved from the resulting corner taken by Byrne, the ball landed on Denis Moloney but he seen his header hit the crossbar but Fitzpatrick was on hand to bravely head home despite being hit in the head.
The game was edging towards extra time when Keenan found Kirwan in the box two minutes from time and Kirwan rolled the ball past Teehan but this time John Cordial was on hand to save the ball off the line.
Extra time started with the away side on the attack and three minutes in Vaughan found space at the edge of the Roscrea area before he curled a beautiful shot into the top corner and out of the reach of the helpless Teehan to restore his sides lead. Thurles should have doubled their lead on the stroke of half time when Vaughan again found space and his cross found Keenan who’s volley was excellently saved by the impressive Teehan yet again. Roscrea responded with a fine through ball from Tom Ahern but the was just out of the reach of Moloney who was just inches away from connecting.
Teehan would have the final say on affairs when Vaughan ran through the middle and passed two defenders before unleashing a left foot drive to which Teehan somehow saved down to his left tipping it passed the post but it was to no avail ad Thurles would hold out to seal a place in the semi final.
A fine game on a very cold afternoon in Roscrea, the pitch didn’t help the fluidity that might have been but both sides made the most of it. Roscrea gave 100% throughout and showed a never say die attitude that has been missing in recent weeks and months. Roddy Teehan was their stand out player for sure but Denis Moloney put in a 110 minute shift up front for Wimbish mostly he was alienated but put in a fine performance nonetheless, Paul Franks was in a constant battle in both centre midfield and right back but shone throughout whilst the returning Craig Byrne was a game changer after introduction, certainly a player whose presence was missed since before Christmas.
Thurles will thank Graeme Loughman for his numerous saves in a period when Roscrea were on top. Paraic Fogarty was simply outstanding shielding the back four while Martin Darmody’s set pieces were a constant nuisance throughout the game. Micheal Foley’s engine never stopped as per usual but the stoppagetime.ie Man of the Match has to go to Eoghan Vaughan. Vaughan was a menace down the left from start to finish teeing Kirwan up for the first and then winning the game with a simply splendid goal in extra time and on another day he might have had more but for the heroics of Teehan in the Roscrea goal.
Stoppagetime.ie Man of the Match: Eoghan Vaughan