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Boland Strike Forces Replay

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Clonmel Town 1 Rockmount 1

THERE is a very thin line separating success and failure and Clonmel Town stretched that line almost to breaking point yesterday.
Despite dominating their FAI Cup encounter with Rockmount at Dr. O’Callaghan Park, Clonmel came within five minutes of having their dreams dashed as they failed to capitalise on their superiority.
In their first ever season in the glamour competition of Irish soccer, Clonmel very nearly exited with a whimper as they fell behind to a Pat Oldham goal on 34 minutes and, until Robbie Boland’s golden strike with five minutes remaining, had looked set to finish their afternoon in disappointment.
“We knew before this game that we are as good as most intermediate teams and after today that theory is confirmed. Over the 90 minutes we definitely deserved to win. We gave away a silly goal that should never have been conceded, but apart from that they created nothing,” said Clonmel manager Paddy Ryan.
“They are the more experienced side in this competition, but we were the team to create the chances and really their goalkeeper kept them in it with a couple of excellent saves. Even though we were one down at the break we were always confident of at least forcing a replay,” he added.
Ryan’s confidence at the end of what were 90 minutes of pulsating football were certainly justified as Clonmel dominated the exchanges with only Oldham’s goal being the only move worthy of note for the current FAI Intermediate Cup champions.
Clonmel made little of Rockmount’s stature as they surged forward from the opening whistle and created the best chance of the game after just 15 minutes when a Paul Ryan cross was met by the onrushing Aaron Moroney but his spectacular effort cannoned back off the crossbar.
After this opening salvo Rockmount were made fully aware of the capabilities of Clonmel but could do little to stem the flow as the home side worked the crowd into a frenzy with their attacking football and the only respite Rockmount had was Oldham’s goal. After weathering a ferocious Clonmel storm the visitors briefly lifted the siege when Kieran O’Shea raced at the Clonmel back four, forced a corner and then whipped in a cross for Oldham to powerfully head home.
The lead was hardly deserved as Clonmel had been setting the pace of the game, but Oldham’s opportunist goal had the temporary affect of knocking Clonmel from their stride.
“It was a very good goal from their midfielder, but our marking was terrible. Initially the ball should have been booted into touch, but we gave away an easy corner and then failed to pick up all their players and paid the price,” explained Ryan. To their credit Clonmel soon shrugged off that set back and on the resumption were once again in full flow as they pinned Rockmount into their own half desperately searching for an equalising goal.
After just three minutes of the second half Clonmel seemed destined to erase the deficit when yet another Robbie Boland cross flashed into the danger area to be met by Tony Scully, but somehow Pakie Cassidy got a hand to the ball to deny them an equaliser.
Not to be deterred, Clonmel surged forward at every available opportunity and just when Rockmount looked to be holding firm Clonmel struck for a dramatic late equaliser.
Five minutes from the end the ever impressive Paul Ryan sent in a delightfully weighted cross that caused consternation in the Rockmount defence and when Boland met it with a flashing header it flew to the back of the net to the delight of the large home support.
“We never got going and we are capable of a lot more, but at least we are still in the competition and can hopefully make up for this on our own patch in next weekend’s replay,” said Rockmount’s Steve Yelverton.
Rockmount should improve on yesterday for Sunday’s replay, but Clonmel will make the trek to Cork full of confidence after giving the Cork side a lesson in determination yesterday.
CLONMEL TOWN: O’Neill, A. Ryan, Condon, Blanche, Hannigan, Shanahan, P. Ryan, Scully, Moroney, Boland, Waters. Subs; Prendergast for Waters (78 mins), E. Ryan for Boland (90 mins).
ROCKMOUNT: Cassidy, Busteed, Long, Falvey, O’Brien, Lynch, Oldham, Martin, Brosnan, O’Shea, Yelverton. Subs; O’Sullivan for O’Shea (84 mins).
Referee: J. Casey, Waterford.

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 July 2011 16:13