IN testing weather conditions and a sodden pitch at Dunshaughlin on Sunday, the home side edged out the visitors by the odd goal in five after an enthralling contest, thus reversing the earlier round result in Cloghertown.
The slippery surface did not make for close control and clever inter-passing and it was the more direct approach of Dunshaughlin, who used the long ball over the top to great effect, which earned them the valuable points. Dunshaughlin opened brightly and soon had the unusually hesitant United defence under pressure. They squandered several chances before opening their account after fourteen minutes when David Carroll got through on the left and crossed for David O'Reilly to out-jump the visitor's defence and score with a neat header. This seemed to be a wake-up call for United and soon a through ball from midfielder Ryan Hand was latched on to by Fahri O'Driscoll who brought a good save from the home keeper. The rebound fell to centre-forward Ed Servaitis who slotted it home. The loss of influential midfielder Hand to injury soon after was a big loss to the visitors and the half closed with the Cloghertown ' keeper Jamie O'Connor making a number of good saves. The second half had just begun when Ferdia Fahey played his way in from the right, leaving the Cloghertown defenders flat-footed and coolly drilling the ball past O'Connor. The visitors now knuckled down to the task of getting the equaliser but spurned numerous chances before midfielder Stephen Kane scored the goal of the match from twenty five yards after an incisive passing movement involving O'Driscoll and Patrick Mc Gill. The game was now delicately balanced and it was Dunshaughlin's Sam Butler who broke the deadlock, pouncing on a ball the visitors should have cleared and coolly slotting it home. It looked like Kane might have salvaged a point for the visitors but a brave block by the home side's Robert Holohan thwarted his effort. For Cloghertown, the midfield of Hand, Kane, Lattimore, McGill and O'Brien worked hard. Dunshaughlin's defensive set-up worked well on the day, while up front they were well served by O'Reilly, Fahey, Butler and Carroll.