Enniscorthy side reach cup final again
Three second-half goals ensured Shamrock Rovers of a place in the decider as they eventually dominated a hard-working Courtown Hibs side in this exciting Wexford Cup semi-final at Bunclody on Sunday.
Shamrock Rovers 3 - Courtown Hibs 0
In the end Courtown were condemned to a three-goal defeat, but during the opening 45 minutes they had their best chances. On each occasion they failed to capitalise though, with the Rovers back four eventually becoming comfortable as they defended the second-half counter-attacks.
And while Shamrock Rovers were sorting themselves out at the back and at midfield, it looked as if the seasiders would capitalise, particularly when Leighton Gleeson burst through the centre. However, he failed in his attempt to beat 'keeper Lee Murphy, a real let-off for the Cathedral town side.
The teams were rather cautious through the opening half, being reliant on counter-attacks. Rovers were struggling to bring a shape to their game up front while at the opposite end Eugene O'Brien pulled a shot just wide.
The Enniscorthy side came close to breaking the deadlock after 21 minutes but Eugene O'Brien got back to get in an excellent tackle on Martin McKeown as he was about to shoot from five metres.
Courtown had a penalty call turned down on 27 minutes after they claimed a Rovers defender had handled the ball on the ground.
Two minutes later Rovers should have gone ahead when McKeown raced in on goal but, having chipped the advancing 'keeper, Tom Hughes, he saw his effort just go over the top, leaving it 0-0 at the interval.
Shamrock Rovers started the second-half with a real tempo to their game and centre-back Seán Miller ot forward to give his side the lead from close in after 52 minutes. They took full advantage of this breakthrough as seven minutes later Martin McKeown, having threatened for so long, made it 2-0.
Courtown were doing well to hang in there during this incessant pressure, but they were unable to create any chances up front despite the best efforts of Leighton Gleeson and Eugene O'Brien.
Having spoiled the Courtown counter-attacks, Rovers looked hugely impressive as they moved forward at speed.
It was from one of those quickfire attacks two minutes from the end that substitute Emmet Quirke shot home from ten metres to make it 3-0, giving them a thoroughly-deserved victory.
They now await the winners of the second semi-final tonight (Tuesday) when holders North End play Moyne Rangers in Curracloe.
Shamrock Rovers: Lee Murphy, Alan Freeman, Ian Sinnott, Seán Miller, Alan Freeman, Chris Kenny, John O'Connor, James Carty, Ricky Fox, Eamonn O'Brien, Martin McKeown. Subs. - Trevor Breen, Emmet Quirke, Marty Kelly, Ricky Dwyer, Richie Miller.
Courtown Hibs: Tom Hughes, Jack O'Brien, Conor Fortune, Steven Mahoney, Cormac Moore, Colm Kinsella, Leighton Gleeson, Colin O'Brien, Eugene O'Brien, Ian Travers, Michael Kinsella. Subs. - Dion Leeson, Seán Redmond, Jamie Heffernan, Conor Berney, Jack Freegrove, David Hall.
Referee: Nicky Boland.