Rovers end hoodoo in thrilling cup final
Shamrock Rovers finally ended their Wexford Cup final hoodoo and lifted the trophy for the first time after a sensational performance in a blustery Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday.
Shamrock Rovers 4 North End United 1
The Enniscorthy side had tasted defeat in their previous four appearances in the cup showpiece but this time they weren't prepared to let it slip, recovering from the early concession of a goal to shock the holders, who were aiming for a historic three-in-a-row.
Even having to play the final 20 minutes with only nine players against North End's ten, after three red cards had been flashed, didn't halt their charge and they were full value for their triumph.
Few could have predicted the outcome when North End raced out of the blocks, with Stuart Lawlor thumping home a header from a Paul Murphy corner in the second minute.
Shamrock Rovers went level with Martin McKeown guiding a controlled header to the far corner of the net.
Two minutes later when man of the match Chris Kenny struck a brilliant, left-footed drive from the edge of the area into the corner of the net.
North End needed to begin the second-half brightly however, John Godkin's charges looked to have been left with an impossible task on the hour mark as they were reduced to ten men with Kyle Dempsey receiving two yellow cards in the space of a minute.
Two minutes later things got even worse for the Sky Blues, when Mikie Dempsey arrowed a left-footed shot to the corner of the net after a Chris Kenny effort had initially been blocked following a Marty Kelly corner.
It seemed to be game, set and match but the contest took another twist as Shamrock Rovers were down to nine men by the 68th minute, with Alan Freeman and Martin McKeown both dismissed for second bookable offences.
In between the two red cards John Fenlon had a half-chance to reduce the arrears but headed wide from a Beary cross.
Stuart Lawlor saw his long-range effort tipped over in the 69th minute, five minutes later Gary Dempsey couldn't generate enough power in his header to trouble Murphy and in the 77th minute Kenny gift-wrapped the victory with a fourth for Rovers.
Marty Kelly twice saw efforts on goal blocked and when the ball fell to Kenny he made no mistake to seal a memorable victory.