Extra special win for Ardee keeps cup dream alive
Collinstown 1 Ardee Celtic 2
Niall Sharkey's extra-time strike proved decisive at the South Dublin Football League grounds on Friday evening as Ardee Celtic continued their FAI Junior Cup odyssey with this third-round victory.
The tie looked on course to be settled by Daniel Matthews' early strike for Collinstown, but Gareth Kane's late effort forced extra time and Ardee had the momentum at that stage to go on and finish the job.
Conor Lynch's side found the artificial surface challenging in the early stages and it was the Dublin outfit who dominated proceeding in the first half. The movement of attacking players Gerard Shortt, Daniel Matthews, Eoin Hunter, Dylan Clarke and Michael Griffin caused Ardee problems as they easily broke through their midfield and defence.
It was no surprise when the lead goal arrived after only 10 minutes. After some neat exchanges in the attacking third, Matthews' low shot found its way past Stuart Reynolds.
Dylan Clarke went close to adding to their advantage soon after, only to be denied by the upright, and Ardee's chances of progression looked slim at this stage.
Patient was needed from the visitors as they struggled to get the ball down and create their own passages of play, but crucially they managed to avoid conceding again before half-time.
Lynch's charges produced a much better second half, but Collinstown continued to pose a threat and Gerard Shortt's strike was blocked by Ken Thornton, while Reynolds saved brilliantly from another effort.
Then, with seven minutes left on the clock and Ardee on the verge of being knocked out of the competition, Kane received the ball 20 yards out and had time and space to steady himself before unleashing a strike that beat Collinstown goalkeeper Declan Woods.
The Deesiders took that momentum into extra time, but well into the second period the sides were still deadlocked, with a penalty shootout looming.
Right at the death they were saved from that lottery, though, as Sharkey headed in a lofted Ross Gaynor free kick for the winner.
ARDEE CELTIC: Stuart Reynolds, Robbie Reynolds, Niall Sharkey, Kenneth Thornton, Ciaran Clarke, Daire Smyth, Paul Matondo, Ross Gaynor, Gareth Kane, James McMullen, Darryn Gaynor. Subs: Brendan Matthews, Aaron Roche, Lorcan Malone, Shawni Dowdall, Bryan O'Connor.