North End battle past the holders
Soccer, Creane & Creane Wexford Cup: North End United 4 Gorey Rangers 2 (aet)
North End United set up a Creane and Creane Wexford Cup semi-final against local rivals Wexford Bohs after coming out on top against holders Gorey Rangers in an enthralling last eight tie in Hollygrove on Sunday.
Substitute Paul Murphy (Kilmore) played a major role after entering the stage, notching a double in between Paul 'Patsy' Malone's opener and Shane Dempsey's strike which sealed the deal.
Gorey Rangers may have lost their grip on the cup, but they contributed massively to a high-octane encounter, twice fighting back from behind, through Joe Bolger and Glen O'Brien, to force extra-time.
The game was played at a high intensity throughout and it was the hosts who started on the front foot, with Malone forcing an instinctive one-handed save from Seán Allen when he met Shane Dempsey's cross with a glancing header.
Rangers weren't long about showing their attacking intent though, and Gary Murphy ran on to a pinpoint Dylan Vickers pass, but volleyed wide.
North End's Adam Beary dragged a shot off target midway through the half, after playing a neat one-two with Paul 'Spot' Murphy, while Lee Wadding's header from a Shane Dempsey free-kick was straight at the goalkeeper.
Gorey Rangers then threatened to break the deadlock, but Gary Murphy appeared to be caught in two minds when Stephen Moloney's cross found him in acres of space in front of goal and he blazed over the crossbar.
The hosts went even closer moments later when Robin Dempsey arrived at the back post to meet Adam Beary's deep cross, but saw his effort cleared off the line.
However, as the half wore on Gorey Rangers began to crank up the pressure, and Stephen Kinsella whipped a dangerous delivery across the face of goal in the 39th minute, while Joe Bolger glanced a header wide moments later, and Ryan Cullen saw his well-struck free-kick deflect off the wall and spin out for a corner.
The interval came at the right time for North End, and they began the second-half with renewed vigour, with Shane Dempsey sending a daisycutter wide of the left upright after being teed up by Paul 'Spot' Murphy.
The home side went agonisingly close to opening the scoring five minutes after the re-start when 'Spot' headed Shane Dempsey's corner on to the underside of the crossbar.
The breakthrough did come in the 53rd minute when Warren Broaders took a return pass from Robin Dempsey and clipped a teasing ball into the danger zone, and the inrushing 'Patsy' Malone accepted the invitation, sending a powerful header to the net.
Rangers could justifiably argue that he was extremely lucky to be still on the pitch, having escaped censure for an over-zealous challenge late in the first-half, having earlier been shown a yellow card.
The visitors were momentarily rattled and Malone had a sniff of a second moments later, but he couldn't sort out his feet quickly enough to get a shot away after being found by 'Spot' Murphy.
Rangers managed to regain their composure, however, and they were back on level terms in the 74th minute when a good move involving Mark Woods and Conor Casserly ended with Joe Bolger firing an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net.
The parity was short-lived though, as North End got their noses back in front less than two minutes later. The introduction of substitute Paul Murphy gave the Sky Blues more of a focal point up front and, soon after entering the fray, the Kilmore man got his name on the scoresheet.
After a disputed throw-in, Craig McCabe sent in a cross from the left wing, which Shane Dempsey touched into Murphy's path, and the substitute managed to bundle the ball over the line.
Rangers were never going to give up their cup crown without a fight though, and they would have been level in the 85th minute but for a fine save from Dylan Furlong.
Gary Murphy gathered a pass from Stephen Kinsella and teed up Jamie Heffernan. The substitute met it with a crisp volley but the netminder was equal to it, getting a strong hand to it to divert the ball out for a corner.
Gorey Rangers' perseverance finally paid off when they grabbed the leveller in what could have been the last act, deep into the fourth minute of injury time.
Dylan Vickers sent an inviting cross to the far post and Glen O'Brien used the power on the cross to direct an accomplished header to the far corner of the net to send the Rangers contingent into raptures.
The celebrations were quickly quietened though, as North End went ahead for a third time 25 seconds into extra-time.
Warren Broaders, whose forays forward down the right wing were a constant threat, floated a cross to Paul Murphy (Kilmore), and the attacker did the rest, looping a fine header out of the reach of Allen.
Rangers manfully tried to pull the game from the fire for a third time, with Dylan Vickers and Stephen Kinsella both firing straight at the goalkeeper, but with the visitors pushing forward in droves North End always looked likely to hit them on the counter, with Paul Murphy (Kilmore) twice denied his hat-trick by the goalkeeper.
The clinching goal eventually did come and it was the pick of the bunch. Substitute Tony Crosbie did well to find the feet of Shane Dempsey, and the midfielder arrowed a sweet strike to the net to wrap up the victory.
Paul 'Spot' Murphy could have put a further gloss on the scoreline late on, but he saw his shot blocked after rounding the goalkeeper. However, it mattered little as North End marched on to meet Wexford Bohs in the final four, while Bridge Rovers and Rosslare Rangers will go head to head in the other semi-final.
North End United: Dylan Furlong, Warren Broaders, Declan Downes, Gary Delaney, Craig McCabe, Lee Wadding, Paul 'Patsy' Malone, Shane Dempsey, Robin Dempsey, Paul 'Spot' Murphy, Adam Beary. Subs. - Paul Murphy (Kilmore) for R. Dempsey (67), Tony Crosbie for Malone (72), Niall Connolly for Beary (88).
Gorey Rangers: Seán Allen, Conor Casserly, Ryan Cullen, Stephen Moloney, Craig Foster, Mark Woods, Stephen Kinsella, Dylan Vickers, Glen O'Brien, Gary Murphy, Joe Bolger. Subs. - Jamie Heffernan for Woods (77), David Behan for Murphy (88), Dion Leeson for O'Brien (106).
Referee: Derek Campion.