WHEN you drop your concentration in any kind of sport you usually pay the price and that is what transpired at Mounthawk Park on Sunday when an 89th minute goal put Premier A side Killarney Athletic into the fifth round of the FAI Junior Cup after a 2-1 win over Classic FC.
Both sides were deadlocked at 1-1 entering the final minute of the game and gearing up for extra time but Classic gave Athletic an early Christmas present courtesy of very careless defending.
Indeed Athletic would not have relished going into extra time as they had been reduced to 10 men after 72 minutes when Tim O'Sullivan was sent off for a professional foul.
This was a very entertaining cup tie with both sides keeping the ball on the deck and playing good constructive football.
First half exchanges were very even with Athletic having the first attempt on goals but Eoin O'Connell's effort was wide of the posts.
Martin Crowley was the engine room of the Athletic side at midfield and he was the source from which most of their attacks originated from. Then a foul on David Courtney led to a free kick for Classic and Jonathan Conway's effort went narrowly wide.
Athletic took the lead in the 24th minute with Martin Crowley winning possession at midfield and leaving defenders in his wake he let fly with a powerful low shot from outside the box which was parried by the Classic keeper Gary Kissane but Athletic striker Rory O'Sullivan was onto the breaking ball in a flash and rifled it past the helpless keeper.
Now Classic began to up the tempo of their game and 10 minutes later the game was all square. A free by Timmy Lynch was cleared out of defence and was picked up by Mike Conway who showed a clean pair of heels to a number of defenders and cutting in at an angle he drilled the ball low from just inside the box and while the Athletic keeper Brian O'Connor got his hands to the ball he was unable to prevent it from crossing the line.
Classic had the lion's share of possession in the second half and could have won this game very comfortably had they availed of the many scoring chances they created. However Athletic went close when Martin Crowley put Rory O'Sullivan in but he shot was off target.
Then a Lucus Polyak effort was taken off the line by David Courtney and Mark Griffin volleyed a Rory O'Sullivan corner over the top.
Then Classic began to turn the screw with sub Mike Collins getting into the thick of the action after coming on. When Brendan Smyth set him free he cut in from the sideline but his low shot came off the outside of the post.
Shorty afterwards he done the spade work to release Jonathan Conway and as he approached the box he was taken down by Tim O'Sullivan and as he was the last defender he got a straight red card.
Collins went on to have two more strikes on goals without success and sub David Tagney had a great chance to score from fiveyards but he lost control of the ball and it was cleared to safety.
Then as the game entered the final minute both sides were resigned to extra time. However there was a major sting in the tail for Classic with David Courtney dwelling too long on the ball just outside his own box and in nipped Athletic striker Rory O'Sullivan to dispossess him and steer the ball past the stranded Classic goalie Gary Kissane.
Classic tried hard to resurrect themselves in the four minutes of injury time but the damage had already been done and there was simply no way back from the late sucker punch.
This was a game Classic should have won but careless defending and poor finishing proved to be their downfall and now Killarney Athletic are in the hat for the next round of the competition.
Full marks to Athletic for the big effort they put in when to reduced to 10 men but they know that they were very fortunate to come away from this game
with a win.