Rosenallis booked their place in the second round of the Michael Dolan Division 1 Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over fellow league high-fliers St. Peters B at The Grove on Sunday morning.
Rosenallis 'A' 1
St Peter's 'B' 1
Rosenallis won 4-2 on penalties)
It was a missed Rosenallis penalty in normal time that brought about the shoot-out but thankfully the hosts improved their spot-kicks when it mattered and the responsibility of dispatching the winning kick fell to Dubliner Tony Byrne who made no mistake to finally kill off the Athlone men.
In a first half distinctly lacking in quality, it was the hosts who perhaps shaded it in terms of possession but there were few scoring chances at either end. Eddie Flanagan had two good chances for Rosenallis but he headed over from a Anthony Gorman corner early on and was denied on the stroke of half-time by a fine Philip Scully save from point-blank range.
Peters also had a few half-chances and should have got more from a controversial incident after ten minutes when Rosenallis keeper Damien Shelley blocked Paul Mulvihill's attempted lob with his hands despite being at least two yards outside his box, but the foul went unspotted by the referee.
After the poor opening half, the second proved at least a little more entertaining, and it started very well for the hosts when Darren McEvoy smashed home from two yards to give his side a lead they just about deserved. Anthony Gorman was the key man in the opener, and after he wriggled through three defenders, his pass to John Dunne was poked off the base of the post only for McEvoy to bury the rebound into the empty St. Peters net.
After plugging away for so long in pursuit of their goal, it must have been hard to take for manager Paul Friel when his relinquished their lead so cheaply only two minutes later. Padraig Moran was allowed advance down the left wing all too easily and when his cross eventually found its way into the penalty area, John McGowan was on hand to smash a low shot past Damien Shelley for an immediate equaliser.
Darren McEvoy was given a guilt-edged opportunity to double his tally for the day when he won a rather dubious spot-kick with half an hour remaining, but he blazed his spot-kick high into the trees behind Philip Scully's goals. At the other end, Damien Shelley pulled off a fine stop to turn Padraig Moran's low past the post and with less than five minutes left Shelley was again heavily involved in breaking up the Peters attack when he ventured ten yards out of his box and picked up a booking for a rash tackle on David O'Brien.
Donal Lalor's inswinging corner was clawed away by Philip Scully in the last action of normal time and in the subsequent twenty minutes extra time neither side risked too much in search of what would surely have been the winner. Substitute Dean Mahon turned a Niall Doolin cross into the gracious arms of Scully but the game went to penalties and the home side held their nerve to advance. Eddie Flanagan, Niall Doolin and Dean Mahon had already dispatched their kicks before defender Tony Byrne stepped up to bury his shot low into the bottom right to secure the win.
ROSENALLIS: Damien Shelley, Mark Graham, Tony Byrne, Eddie Flanagan, Steve McEvoy, Donal Lalor, Anthony Gorman, John McLoughlin (Kenny Farrell '105), Darren McEvoy (Dean Mahon '100), John Dunne, Marcus Redmond (Niall Doolin '67).
ST PETERS 'B': Philip Scully, Peader Mulvihill, Michael Nugent, Garreth Coffey, Patrick Martin, Paul Phillips, Eric Molloy (Des McLoughlin '25), David O'Brien, John McGowan, Paul Mulvihill, Padraig Moran