Murphy saves day to keep Sheriff's cup dreams alive
Sheriff YC 0 Athlone 0 (After extra-time) Sheriff win 4-3 on pens
Sheriff YC goalkeeper Lee Murphy was both the villain and the hero as the Dublin junior side overcame Athlone Town at the end of two hours of an intense FAI Cup third round replay last night.
Sheriff's reward is a quarter-final date away to Longford Town.
Murphy saved two penalties - either side of having his own spot kick blocked by Athlone goalkeeper Paddy Dunican - to spark rampant celebrations from the visiting team.
Athlone could have no complaints as they were second best throughout the contest, particularly in the period after half-time
Kevin Lynch, who had been a constant thorn in the side of the home team, drew a fantastic save from Dunican, while a sustained spell of pressure yielded several shots but no breakthrough.
Having come through this torrid spell, Athlone's fitness appeared to come to the fore in the final 20 minutes but they too failed to find the net, although substitute Adam Kelly should have done better with a free header from just eight yards out.
It was to be a miss they dearly regretted as Sheriff rallied again in extra time, inspired by some wonderful midfield play by Joseph Flood, and they set up a series of chances, leaving the Airtricity League side holding on for dear life.
They kept Sheriff at bay until the final whistle, but that was when their luck ran out.
ATHLONE TOWN - Dunican; Friel, C Dunne, S Dunne, O'Donnell; Mulroney (Kelly 66), Fletcher (O'Sullivan 80), Boyne, Doyle; Gorman, O'Connor.
SHERIFF YC - L Murphy; Flood, Kavanagh, Browne; Higgins (S Murphy 69), D Dunne, Lester, T Dunne, Lynch; Glen (P Murphy 74), Rock.
REF - E O'Shea