FAI JUNIOR CUP Terenure FC 4 Park United 2 THIS defeat put Park United's first team out of the FAI Junior Cup.
While the Dublin-based side had some quality performances and some good finishing, lenient refereeing also facilitated their progress. This made the result a bitter one for the Mitchelstown club who miss out on progress to the sixth round as one of the last 32 teams.
In a lively opening, Park's Darren Lynch forced a brilliant save from the home keeper after Ger O'Lynch cleverly made the opportunity. Park took the lead at the end of an even first half when Eamon O'Sullivan scored from a penalty. The penalty was due to a foul by the keeper on Eamon O'Sullivan himself, after the Park forward had rounded the keeper and was about to score into an empty net. The keeper received a yellow card instead of the straight red card that is normally shown.
While Terenure equalised with a deflected shot, the opening of the second half was dominated by the referee's decision to only book a home player for a dangerous challenge in the middle of the field. Once the subsequent arguments subsided, the game became a battle to gain, hold and use possession with neither side dominating. Park broke the deadlock with twenty minutes to play when a shot from Dave Dineen was blatantly handled in the square. Darren Lynch scored the subsequent penalty.
Despite Park's best efforts, Tenenure equalised on a corner kick with five minutes to play.
This put the game into extra-time, which began badly for Park as Shane Cahill was sent off for a second yellow card after four minutes. Tenenure scored their third a minute later with a quick, well-worked attack that was finished sharply.
By then the game had become physical and the referee struggled to keep up. He sent off a home player for a second yellow early in the second period of extra time. In many ways the referee had the last say in the outcome too, as he awarded a late penalty to Terenure following a collision between Park's keeper and an opposing striker. The home side scored the penalty and the game finished 4-2.
All told, this was a difficult defeat for Park to take.
However, they have little time to dwell on the outcome as they face important league and cup games over the next two weeks.