CLOVER United moved into the last eight of the Maher Shield and gained a little spot kick retribution on Sunday.
For the second time in succession the Rathdowney side saw a game against Tullaroan go down to a penalty shoot-out. Unlike last season’s Division Two Cup final however, this time it was United’s nerve that prevailed.
The final say came down to goalkeeper Tommy Moore, who made two stops in the shoot-out in Tullaroan on Sunday afternoon.
After saving Michael Burke’s kick Moore almost stopped another when he got his right hand to Richie Guilfoyle’s penalty, but the ball spun over his glove and spun away inside the far post.
After Barry Bowe made it 4-3, Moore did the necessary when he got behind Michael Brennan’s kick and made the all-important stop.
In truth the game shouldn’t have gone to penalties, as both sides had plenty of chances to nick the win in normal time. Tullaroan went closest when a powerful Ger Brennan header flashed over the bar on 12 minutes, but they made amends when they took the lead with 25 minutes on the clock.
The goal, when it came, owed as much to the pass that created it as the finish. Stepping into the centre circle Joe Norton carved Clover open with a defence-splitting pass. Richie Guilfoyle raced on to the delivery and, with the visitors appealing for offside, burst through before coolly tucking a low shot into the bottom right corner of Tommy Moore’s net.
Clover shook off the disappointment of going behind and did everything but hit the net in a purple patch of possession. Brian Bowe did well to pull a low ball across the box for David Phelan, but his 34th minute effort was blocked. Hugh Finn followed up with a cheeky backheel, but his rebound was also kept out.
Within seconds Clover were on the attack again, as Finn latched on to Lee Kinsella’s pass, but Michael Burke made a telling tackle to thwart the striker as he was poised to shoot.
Clover kept pressing, and got their reward just seconds before the break. Much like the opener, Tullaroan had appeals for offside waved away as Finn picked up possession from a surging Phelan and squared the ball to Brian Bowe for a simple tap-in from just a few yards out.
The second half saw the visitors do most of the shooting, but they couldn’t get a second goal. David Phelan went close – really close – when Enda Meagher played him through but his 47th minute shot flashed just wide of the far post with Tullaroan ’keeper Jason Cahill at full stretch.
Joe Fitzpatrick also had some chances, the impressive midfielder going closest when he strode on to a Brian Bowe throw-in and let fly with a half-volley on 68 minutes, but his effort was a whisker away from the target.
Brian Bowe had the best, and final, clearcut chance when he waltzed into the box with eight minutes to play. Skipping tackles left and right, Bowe had plenty of chances to shoot, but pulled the ball across the box when a goal seemed certain.
There was little to separate the sides when it came to penalties, as both scored then missed their opening two kicks. Brian Bowe and Ger Brennan made it 2-2 before Shane Dollard pushed Clover into a 3-2 lead. United may have felt unlucky when Guilfoyle’s kick spun into the net, but good fortune smiled on them when Moore made his second important save soon after.
Tullaroan: Jason Cahill, Tom Hogan, Conor O’Grady, Michael Brennan, Michael Burke, Adrian O’Dea (Philly Coogan, 77 mins), Danny Coogan (Alan Maher, 51 mins), Ger Brennan, Joe Norton, Richie Guilfoyle, Gerry O’Dea (Alan Carter, 37 mins).
Clover United: Tommy Moore, Barry Bowe, Lee Jones, Willie Bowe, Lee Kinsella (Damien Madden, 49 mins; Ned Browne for Mullins, 100 mins), Shane Dollard, Joe Fitzpatrick, Enda Meagher, Brian Bowe, Hugh Finn (Sean Mullins, 46 mins), David Phelan.
Referee: Larry Buggy.