Show of defiance yields cup win for 10-man Woodview
LAST year's Meath and District League Premier champions Woodview Celtic eventually came good to make the long trip to Carlow a rewarding one, with a brace of goals from the penalty spot by the ice-cool Mickey O'Kane.
In a Jekyll and Hyde performance they were awful in the first half of this Leinster Senior Cup tie, but the understrength titlewinners of the past two seasons completely erased that memory with a second-half display that was brimming with fighting spirit and resilience - easily the best form they have produced all season.
Not only did they trail one-nil at the break but they were also a man down, with Darren Meehan sent off ten minutes from the break after receiving a second yellow card.
They could have fallen two goals behind straight after the restart, but from then on showed what champions are made of after goalkeeper Padraig Gorham took off one of those invaluable saves that he has a habit of performing, when a home player got clear of his defence.
The home side had taken the lead mid-way through the first half in which Woodview started slowly and never looked themselves, but they found an inner resolve and belief that New Oak couldn't match to gain the upper hand on their opponents in the end.
It might have taken until the final minute with just 10 players, but it was more lady luck that saved the home side before that as O'Kane, Paudie Hearty and Owen Armstrong all struck the woodwork.
They equalised 10 minutes after the break when the outstanding Paul McArdle won the ball in midfield to cross for Paudie Hearty, who was taken down. O'Kane yet again was up to the task of converting the spot kick.
From that moment until the end it was all one-way traffic, but the home side somehow managed to stay on terms, with their goalkeeper bringing off an incredible save from a volleyed shot by Stephen Grimes from inside the penalty box which looked bound for the top corner of the net after the game's best move involving McArdle, Owen Armstrong and Billy Smith.
But Woodview weren't to be denied, with a move started by full-back Alan McCartney ending up with Owen Armstrong being brought down in the box following a cross from Smith, and O'Kane coolly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with the spot kick.
The result raises the prospect of Woodview facing a League of Ireland club - perhaps even Dundalk - in later rounds of the competition.