Rangers march on in FAI Junior Cup
Gorey Rangers 2 Rathkeale FC 0
Gorey Rangers produced a backs-to-the wall performance when defeating Limerick side Rathkeale F.C. on a 2-0 scoreline in round five of the FAI Junior Cup at Ramstown on Sunday afternoon, with victory firing them through to the last 32 of the national competition.
Already shorn a couple of first-teamers due to injuries and suspension, the locals were dealt a further blow on 29 minutes when key defender Paul Murphy was carried off with what looked like a serious knee injury.
And things got even worse for Rangers ten minutes into the second-half when Mark Woods was shown a rather harsh straight red card.
But they had long since dug in to defend a precious 1-0 lead after Gary Murphy neatly tucked away a 22nd-minute penalty, and while the visitors had plenty of the ball, they didn't carve out too many presentable chances as Gorey absorbed everything that came their way.
There was very little in terms of clearcut chances early doors, with Rathkeale coming closest on 20 minutes when Mickey Hickey's cleanly struck volley was blocked by a Gorey defender.
When a Gorey corner was only briefly dealt with two minutes later, Murphy chipped over the retreating defence for captain Stephen Kinsella to chase, and he nicked in ahead of giant goalkeeper Brendan Carmody for the penalty that Murphy converted.
The goalscorer subsequently moved inside to centre-back when Paul Murphy was forced off, and went on to led by example together with Conor Casserly at right full-back.
Rathkeale did have an emphatic chance on 35 minutes when Pa Aherne smacked the crossbar from the edge of the six-yard box, while Mikey Lyons was released in first-half injury time, only to loft the ball over Seán Allen and into the side-netting.
Gorey resumed with added intensity as Ryan Cullen headed too close to Carmody, while Behan had a low shot smothered by Carmody as well.
Danny Neville turned inside before delivering a teasing cross that was knocked to safety by a covering defender, and Rangers' collective workrate had to increase when Woods was dismissed following a late tackle.
Rathkeale had a few chances that never really troubled Gorey, while Behan played strike partner Eric Quinn through on 76 minutes, only for him to drag his shot wide.
But Quinn fared better three minutes later when he curled home the game-clinching goal after Gary Murphy's free dropped kindly to his feet. And they saw out the game professionally thereafter for the sort of scrappy win that many great cup runs are built on.
Rathkeale were also reduced to ten men one minute after the second goal when Thomas Quilligan was dismissed for a petulant challenge.
Gorey Rangers: Seán Allen; Conor Casserly, Ryan Cullen, Paul Murphy, Gary Murphy; Mark Woods, Stephen Kinsella (capt.), Gavin O'Brien, Paul Brennan; David Behan, Eric Quinn. Subs. - Glen O'Brien for P. Murphy, inj. (29), Dylan Vickers for Behan (76), Jamie Howard for Kinsella (90), Dion Leeson for Quinn (90+2).
Rathkeale F.C.: Brendan Carmody; Mickey Hickey, Darren Jones, Seán O'Shea; Steven Power, Keith Hartnett, Alan O'Shea (capt.), Mikey Lyons, Thomas Quilligan; Danny Neville, Pa Aherne. Subs. - Patrick Wilmot for Power (67), Eoin O'Donnell for Jones (78).
Referee: Seán Grant.