Thursday 23 February 2017

Higgins' header sees off brave Pike

Sheriff YC 1 Pike Rovers 0

Independent.ie sportsdesk

Mark Higgins (r) bests Wayne O'Donovan and Pike Rovers to score his side's first goal of the game. Photo: Sportsfile
Mark Higgins (r) bests Wayne O'Donovan and Pike Rovers to score his side's first goal of the game. Photo: Sportsfile
Darren O'Brien, Sheriff YC, in action against Wayne Colbert. Photo: Sportsfile
Joe O'Neill is tackled by Wayne O'Donovan. Photo: Sportsfile
Sheriff YC players and brothers, Stephen, Sean and Lee Murphy celebrate their side's victory. Photo: Sportsfile
The Sheriff YC team celebrate winning the cup. Photo: Sportsfile

Sheriff YC claimed their third FAI Junior Cup in five years on Saturday as a first-half winner from Mark Higgins saw off Pike Rovers.

The left-winger settled the Aviva Stadium final on 32 minutes by rising high at the far post to power a header beyond goalkeeper Gary Neville following Paul Murphy's pinpoint cross.

Sheriff had to withstand a late Pike rally which saw Sean O'Callaghan and substitute Colin Daly fashion chances to equalise.

The Dublin side had dominated from the outset, with Darren Dunne bossing the midfield area.

On the half-hour, they came close to forging ahead when John Rock blazed a volley over the crossbar. But Sheriff only had to wait two minutes for the breakthrough to arrive as captain Murphy hit a deep cross for Higgins to apply a bullet header high into the net.

Pike struggled to get going as an attacking force and the loss of playmaker Stephen McGann on the hour to a hamstring injury dented them further.

Still, they gave Sheriff a few nervy moments in the final 20 minutes, firstly when O'Callaghan looped his header a yard over from Paddy O'Malley's cross.

Their best opportunity fell to centre-back O'Callaghan four minutes from the end when he found space 20 yards but dragged a low shot wide.

SHERIFF YC: L Murphy; P Murphy, Kavanagh, O'Neill, Lynch; Lester; Sean Murphy (Glen 84), O'Brien, D Dunne, Higgins (T Dunne 81); Rock.
PIKE: Neville; W O'Donovan, P Mullins, O'Callaghan, E O'Donovan; Connery, Colbert, Walsh (J Mullins 46), Collins; McGann (O'Malley 62); G Higgins (Daly 57).
Ref: Jonathan Walsh.

Irish Independent

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