Juniors Advance To Connacht Final   11/05/2015

Galway Hibernians 0-4 Mervue Utd (Connacht Junior Cup Semi-Final)

Juniors advanced to the final of the Connacht Junior Cup after a commanding second half display saw Ger McGrath's side inflict a 4-0 defeat on city rivals Galway Hibs on Sunday morning in Bohermore.

Scoreless at the break, four unanswered second half goals from Stephen Larkin, Simon Walsh, Keith McHugh and Barry Moran ensured an excellent result at a rain soaked Bohermore.

The opening half was a typical tight cup affair with both sides defences getting the upper hand as Mervue bossed the possession stakes without ever creating a clear cut chance, while the home side had the best chance of that half just before the break.

The game started with a very tight opening quarter before Stephen Larkin fired an effort over after a Mike Tierney pass on 16 minutes and Mervue fullback Robert Connolly also set another effort off target as the visitors pushed forward at every opportunity.

Mike Tierney then wasted a great chance blazing over with the whole goal to aim at after a ball into the box dropped to him on 22 minutes. Tierney's left wing cross set up Larkin on 34 minutes but he saw his close range shot well saved by former Mervue keeper TJ Forde. 

A minute later Simon Walsh struck another effort just past the post after great work from Derek McWalter and powerful run forward by the midfielder, creating the shooting opportunity.

The best chance of the half fell to the home side as David Mbata broke forward before laying the ball back to an unmarked Gary Kelly ten yards out but his low shot was brilliantly turned around the post by the outstretched right hand of John Egan six minutes before the break.

With the rain continuing to lash down for the second period, Mervue put this game to bed with two goals in a space of a minute just after the break. Alex Lee released Stephen Cunningham away down the left and the striker delivered a perfect cross for his strike partner Stephen Larkin to powerfully head into the corner on 54 minutes.

That opening goal was doubled before the home side could regain any composure as another excellent passing move saw Simon Walsh and Stephen Cunningham exchange passes before the striker released Walsh into the box and he rounded Forde and rolled the ball into the net for 2-0 a minute later.

Mervue should have extended that lead even further on 68 minutes when Mike Tierney pulled a ball back from the endline for Simon Walsh but his header was brilliantly headed off the line by Hibs defender Kevin Fitzpatrick. Walsh also had a good claim for a penalty turned down as he was held back following a good run into the Hibs penalty box.

A minute later and Hibs were reduced to ten as striker David Smith saw red for a horrible tackle on Stephen Larkin in the centre circle as the Mervue striker needed lengthy treatement on the pitch.

Man of the match Keith McHugh powerfully headed home Simon Walsh's corner kick at the back post to ensure victory as he made it 3-0 with four minutes remaining. 

Sub Barry Moran added a fourth with a minute to go as he headed in Alex Lee's perfect free-kick delivery for a comfortable 4-0 win in the end.

Ger McGrath and Stephen Lally's side will now face League winners Athenry in the provincial final, after they defeated Corrib Celtic 4-3 in yesterday's other semi-final. The final will take place in Eamonn Deacy Park on Sunday 24th May, Kick-off 3 pm.

Mervue Utd; John Egan; Robert Connolly, Eric Browne, Tommy Walsh, Keith McHugh; Alex Lee, Simon Walsh, Derek McWalter (Eoin Concannon 88), Mike Tierney; Stephen Cunningham (Barry Moran 81),Stephen Larkin (Luke Deacy 72). Subs: Evan Browne, Aaron Finnerty, Dara Ryan.

Galway Hibernians: TJ Forde; Mike Harty, Denis Lydon, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Mike Elwood; Stephen Killeen, Damien Carrick (Martin O'Connor 62), Keith Ward, Gary Kelly; David Smith, David Mbata.

Referee: Chris Campbell



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