EVERGREEN’S dreams of Leinster Junior Cup glory were ended as Ballymun United became the second Dublin team to get one over the Kilkennymen in a matter of weeks.
It was an agonising loss for Eddie McEvoy’s side who, despite a late second half push, couldn’t prevent a Barry Kavanagh-inspired Ballymun from cementing their place in the sixth round.
Having lost to Crumlin in the Leinster Senior Cup two weeks earlier, Evergreen were determined to make a better start at Scanlon Park this time around. The hosts started the brighter of the two sides, Chris Whearty going close with a free-kick that fizzed narrowly wide of the left post.
Ballymun struck back soon after, as a Kavanagh free-kick was well saved by goalkeeper Pierce Dargan. Dargan however was beaten soon after, when another Kavanagh free-kick took a deceitful bounce on its way to goal, giving the Evergreen netminder no chance.
Spurred on after conceding that goal Evergreen went back on the attack. They held and passing the ball around well, but were unable to turn possession into a clearcut a chance in the final third.
That lack of chances came back to haunt them, as Ballymun made it 2-0 five minutes before the break. A mistake at the back by the Evergreen defence allowed winger Chris Doran to play a perfectly weighted pass through to Kavanagh, whose deft flick floated over Dargan and into the net.
Ballymun looked good for their half-time lead. The fact that they were playing on away soil seemed to have little or no effect on them, as their forward movement and passing allowed them to control the game.
Evergreen started the second half like they had the first, but this time their attacking play soon paid off. Standing over a free-kick midfielder Joey Mulcahy gave the hosts hope when he floated the ball into the Ballymun net. Evergreen were back in the game and kept pushing, but couldn’t find that all-important equaliser.
Their missed chances proved costly when a Chris Doran cross bounced around the Evergreen box before it was finished from close range by striker Barry Kavanagh to complete his hat trick. The day almost got worse for the ’Green as Paul Bradley nearly made it 4-1 to the visitors, but his 80th minute shot was well saved by Dargan.
Evergreen did get a goal back in the dying embers of the game, but Joey Mulcahy’s late strike was too late to stop Ballymun from advancing to the next round.
Evergreen: Pierce Dargan, Vinnie O’Brien, Jack Poyntz, Niall Andrews, Robbie Quan, Oisin Corr, Declan McQuillan, Joey Mulcahy, David Grincell, Jamie Owens, Chris Whearty.
Ballymun United: Mark Hatton, Keith Murray, Chris Sheridan, Craig McDonnell, Patrick Brophy, Peter O’Reilly, Paul Bradley, Daniel Murphy, Barry Kavanagh, Paul Kane, Chris Doran.
Referee: Ollie Falsey.