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Cullen leads liffey

Liffey Celtic...............................1

Wicklow Rovers........................0

A Robbie Cullen strike 30 minutes in was enough to put Liffey Celtic into the last 32 of the Leinster Junior cup following a tightly contested tie at Newhall.

If ever there was a game of two halves this was it. While defences were generally on top in the early stages it was the Kildare League side that enjoyed the lion's share of the early possession. Both sides started cautiously, opting to go with just one up front.

With a crowded midfield, chances proved difficult to create but Liffey always looked the more likely to score with Jamie Lamb's pace causing problems for the visiting Leinster Senior League side.

As the half progressed, Robbie Cullen and Alan Dowling had chances to open Liffey's account but Dowling's drive was well held by Rovers 'keeper Simon Alexander and centre-back Paul Newsome took the ball off Cullen's toe with a well-timed tackle.

Celtic's breakthrough came in the 29th minute when a cross from the right from Brian Collins fell to Rovers centre-back Paul Alexander, who was put under pressure by Michael Treacy.

The ball squirmed free to Robbie Cullen, who fired past 'keeper Simon Alexander. This score was no more that Liffey deserved as they were rarely under threat in the first half with 'keeper Kevin McDonnell not having a save of note to make.

It was to be an entirely different story in the second half and Wicklow Rovers came out a more determined outfit and carried the game to the home side for long periods. Shane Cassidy, Paul O'Neill and Luke Byrne began to ask some questions of the Liffey defence but Gavin O'Brien marshaled his back four well and 'keeper McDonnell made a couple of decent saves to preserve his side's slim advantage.

Liffey had a great chance to put the result beyond doubt in the 70th. minute when substitute Fintan Donnelly broke out of defence and freed Jamie Lambe, who cut the ball back for midfielder Michael Treacy but his well-struck effort from close in was brilliantly saved by 'keeper Alexander.

As the game entered its final minutes Liffey 'keeper McDonnell made a superb save from Mark O'Sullivan and the sizable Liffey support were given somewhat of a scare in the final minute when centre-back Shane Malone upended Luke Byrne just on the edge of the area, but a free was the decision of referee John Dwane who, in fairness, was right up with the play. McDonnell again saved Byrne's free superbly and Liffey had secured their place in the draw for the fifth round.

Liffey Celtic: Kevin McDonnell, Graham McCormack, Gavin O'Brien, Shane Malone, Fran Sheridan, Michael Treacy, Brian Murphy, Robbie Cullen, Jamie Lambe, Alan Dowling. Subs: Neil Barnby, Tom McLoughlin, Tommy Nolan, Brian Kelly, Fintan Donnelly.

Wicklow Rovers: Simon Alexander, Steven Gamas, Stephen Moran, Paul Newsome, Paul Alexander, Henry Harrington, Shane Cassisy, Paul O'Neill, Jim Foley, Luke Byrne, Mark Sullivan. Subs: Greg Dunne, Stewart Tennant, Conor Tobin, Thomas Smullen.

Referee: John Dwane.