Bridge United 4
AC Kilkenny 0
A SECOND half goal flurry helped Bridge United move into the third round of the FAI Junior Cup.
The Premier Division newcomers were ultimately too hot for side they replaced in Kilkenny’s top flight – AC Kilkenny – but they still took some time to grind out a result.
The big breakthrough came on Sunday when the hosts doubled their lead after 76 minutes. Marty Dalton grabbed the chance, sliding in at the back post to turn Sean Barcoe’s teasing cross home from a few yards out.
With the pressure now lifted, Bridge went hunting for more goals.
Two minutes later, they grabbed the insurance strike. Sean Barcoe was at the heart of it again, pouncing on a loose ball on the edge of the box before stepping in and coolly slipping a low shot into the bottom left corner.
Barcoe was also first on the scoresheet when he shot Bridge into the lead after just nine minutes.
United had made most of the early running in Goresbridge. They had the first chance when Martin Bambrick dispossessed an AC defender and stole through, but he scuffed his shot over the bar.
Keeping the pressure on AC, Bridge made it count two minutes later. Pouncing on a loose backpass, Barcoe made no mistake when rounding goalkeeper Michael Lambert and finishing from a tight angle on the left.
Bridge kept on the attack, forcing the city side to rush things through a crowded midfield. Although the hosts had some half chances they failed to trouble Lambert again, but should have doubled their lead before the break.
With AC struggling to get into the game Bridge spurned a great opportunity to take a two-goal advantage in at the break. The chance came when Bambrick robbed Adrian Kenny on the edge of the box before the loose ball rolled out to Barcoe on the right.
Left with just Lambert between him and the goal Barcoe unselfishly squared the ball to the advancing Bambrick, but he failed to hit the target from a few yards out.
AC Kilkenny rang the changes at half-time, introducing Stephen Mahony and Mark Massey to the fray. The subs made a quick impact, as Massey teed up Stephen Hayes to whip in a great 46th minute cross, but the ball was just beyond James Geoghegan’s outstretched foot.
The clearance fell to Mahony, who made space for a shot, but his effort was just over.
Despite AC’s great start to the half they couldn’t find a way past Zak Shermer. As for the hosts, they slowly worked their way back into the game. Sean Barcoe saw a header flash wide on the hour, before Cathal English clipped the post with a great strike five minutes later.
On the attack
AC went back on the attack and almost found a way back into the game with 16 minutes left on the clock. A great touch saw Massey control Adrian Kenny’s drilled pass and turn to face goal but Shermer dashed from his line to smother the ball.
AC were left to rue that miss when, two minutes later, they found themselves two goals down. Two minutes after that, it was 3-0 to Bridge.
In spite of that late double whammy the city side kept attacking. Sub Gary Duffy showed great footwork to weave his way through the centre and set up Geoghegan, but Shermer made a good stop with his feet.
Bridge wrapped up the game when they hit their fourth goal with seven minutes to spare. Sub Michael Hutchinson was the architect, cutting down the right before he carved AC open with a dangerous ball.
Cathal English broke free and latched on, took one step and let fly with a hammer shot that rubber-stamped the Goresbridge side’s place in round three.
Bridge United: Zak Shermer, William Hennessy (David Canavan, 81 mins), Tom Huff, Michael Brennan (Michael Hutchinson, 81 mins), Colin Madden, James Bolger, Marty Dalton (Tommy Bolger, 81 mins), Cathal English, Sean Barcoe, Keith Glynn, Martin Bambrick.
AC Kilkenny: Michael Lambert, Stephen Hayes, Joe Sweeney, Darren Hayes, Adrian Kenny, Derek Blanche (Stephen Mahony, 46 mins), Warren Kavanagh (Mark Massey, 46 mins), Cormac O’Driscoll (Gary Duffy, 72 mins), James Geoghegan, Karl Jenkins, John McCormack.
Referee: Tom Walsh.