Substitute Shane Lowth struck a last-gasp equaliser in extra-time to salvage a 2-2 draw for ten-man Limerick against Shelbourne and they went on to win in a penalty shootout, in an epic Under-19 Champions Knockout Phase quarter-final at Hogan Park on Sunday afternoon.
Shane spoke to Limerick FC TV afterwards; watch his reaction, below.
Both teams looked to find their feet early on but chances began to fall past the quarter-hour. The first came the way of Shels as Andy Gorman’s low cross was met by Dylan Grimes in the centre but he diverted the ball over the bar from close in.
Then home midfielder Val Feeney drove a low shot from distance that Jack Brady got down well to turn around the post. From Feeney’s resulting corner, the ball came out to James Duggan who drove over.
Clyde O’Connell saw his effort from range drift wide soon after, and then Ross Mann tested the ‘keeper before Feeney’s follow-up was deflected behind with strong claims for handball from the hosts.
On the half-hour, Feeney got to a through-ball ahead of Brady but the covering Shels defence cleared the danger as Limerick began to dominate. Then Seán McSweeney’s corner to the near post was attacked by Mann but the ball flew wide.
Limerick were almost caught four minutes before the break when Grimes turned creator for Gorman but he blazed over when well placed in the box.
The game turned against Tommy Barrett’s side moments before the half-time whistle when Jack Lynch was shown a second yellow card for a midfield tackle, leaving the young Shannonsiders with an uphill task.
And just three minutes into the second half, that became even more so when Shels broke the deadlock as Darragh Gannon forced the ball in after a corner fell to him in the six-yard box.
Shortly after, Limerick had another penalty appeal denied when Mann tumbled. With few chances, the next came midway through the half when Mann set up Declan Cusack but with his first touch of the game he got his shot all wrong.
But Limerick were soon level as they were awarded a penalty on 74 minutes and up stood Mark Hoban whose powerful strike found the net despite Brady getting a hand to it.
On 82 minutes, Shels could not have gone much closer after pressure from a corner through Ahu Obhakhan, with the ball eventually coming back out to Aaron Robinson who whistled a fierce shot just past the upright. Close to the end, Feeney shot over.
Into extra-time, Mann’s cross was headed over by Oisín Kelly and then Shels should have taken the lead through Gorman at the back post but he hit the side-netting.
The Dubliners, though, were in front again on 103 minutes through a terrific strike from Robinson who found the corner of the net from 25-yards. That lead should have been doubled on 109 minutes when Gorman and Gannon combined to set up Obhakhan but Tommy Holland produced a fine stop to keep his team in it.
Five minutes from time, Shels were also reduced to ten men when Conor Keeley was shown a second caution. And there was still time for more drama as Limerick netted an injury-time leveller, Lowth tapping in to make certain of Kelly’s goal-bound shot beyond the ‘keeper to spark wild celebrations.
Into the shootout, Limerick again fell behind as Killian Brouder saw his spot-kick brilliantly pushed away by Brady. But as Shels blazed over with their deciding one, Limerick remained cool and eventually sealed their place in the last four as Holland saved and then Mann struck the winner as it ended 6-5.
Limerick now face Saint Patrick’s Athletic in the semi-finals at Hogan Park next Sunday, 19 April, kick-off 3pm.
Limerick: Tommy Holland, Liam McCartan (Evan Cusack 112), Conor Maguire © (Stephen Nolan 57), Mark Hoban, Killian Brouder, Ross Mann, Jack Lynch, Clyde O’Connell (Shane Lowth 102), Val Feeney, Seán McSweeney (Declan Cusack 67), James Duggan (Oisín Kelly 52). Goals: M Hoban (74 pen), S Lowth (120+1). Booked: J Lynch (15, 44), M Hoban (59), V Feeney (80). Sent-Off: J Lynch (44). Unused Subs: Arkadiusz Mamala (GK), Killian Hayes.
Shelbourne: Jack Brady, Darragh Gannon, Conor Keeley, Gavin Kearney, Dylan Grimes, Andy Gorman, David Pakenham, Armstrong Bekombo ©, Luke Doyle, Aaron Robinson (96), Ahu Obhakhan. Goals: D Gannon (48), A Robinson (103). Booked: C Keeley (31, 115). Sent-Off: C Keeley (115). Subs: Eric Donnelly (GK), Andrew Ward, Aaron Robinson (97), George Mukete, Ronan O’Flynn, Aaron Ralph, Glen Carragher.
Referee: Ralph Pieper.
Report Date: Sunday 12 April 2015