Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Football: Irvinestown roar back to stay in Cup

Fermanagh & Western

Irvinestown Wanderers narrowly avoided becoming a notable casualty in the first round of the Mulhern Cup at the weekend.



Currently lying second in Division One, most observers would have expected them to deal with the threat of Division Two Glebe United with ease. But they had to come from two goals down at the break, and depend on an extremely fortunate stoppage time own goal to progress.



Glebe moved in front after 12 minutes through PJ McMenamin, who was presented with the simplest of tap-ins after Irvinestown 'keeper Fergal Murphy left the goal unattended, whilst making a horrendous mess of collecting the most basic of back passes.



They doubled their advantage before the break when Brian Sweeney unleashed a tremendous left-foot volley, after McMenamin cheekily left three defenders floundering with a clever dummy, before delivering the telling cross.



However, Wanderers pulled one back early in the second half, when Ryan Quinn got onto the end of a Gary Maguire flick, to put the ball past Chris Burke.



Then, just after the hour mark, Richard Graham levelled matters with a close-range shot, which he placed in after a Maguire corner.



Extra-time loomed large, but there was to be one last blow for Glebe. Deep into stoppage time, Wanderers substitute Chris Lyons delivered a cross which the unfortunate Stephen Neeson tried to clear, only to turn it past his own 'keeper.



Shelbourne did strike a blow for the second level, though, with an emphatic five-goal defeat of Division One strugglers Ardstraw at the Omagh Leisure Complex.



Gerry Moore got the ball rolling with a successful 14th minute spot-kick, awarded after Ryan O'Sullivan had been upended by Kyle Mills.



Kevin Sloan made it 2-0 on 29 minutes, with a clinical back- post finish, before Paddy Doherty chipped in with a superb second half hat-trick.



He grabbed his first on 65 minutes, from a Sloan pass, before - with ten minutes remaining - darting through the Ardstraw defence, after dispossessing Ashley Lowry on the halfway line to slot home his second.



And the match ball was his right at the end of the contest, when he drilled the ball through a packed penalty area into the bottom right-hand corner.



Drumquin had the most convincing victory, though, with an eight goal annihilation of fellow Division Three opponents Orchard Farm.

Elsewhere, there were also wins for Ballygawley, Mountjoy United, Churchtown, Enniskillen Swifts, Ballinamallard United Reserves, Lisbellaw United, Enniskillen Santos, Tummery Athletic, Lisnaskea Rovers, NFC Kesh, Omagh United, Fivemiletown United Athletic, Dergview Reserves, current league champions Enniskillen Town United and, of course, cup holders Strathroy Harps.



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