Taghmon reach final as result of shoot-out glory
New Ross Celtic's grounds hosted the double-header on Saturday as the four semi-finalists battled it out to see who would make it to the final of the Over-35 league.
First up were Corach Ramblers and Forth Celtic who met for the third time this year. Corach were quickest out of the traps, and early chances from Paul and Alan Diskin signalled the intent of the Wellingtonbridge men as they looked to overturn earlier league results against their opponents.
Further opportunities fell to Darren Walsh and Paul Diskin again, but they couldn't get the goal that many felt their first-half performance deserved, and as is so often the case, they were punished just before the break.
A corner kick was only partially cleared, and the ball was played wide to the impressive Barry Brennan whose cross found Anthony Hayes at the back post, and his downward header put Forth one up.
The second-half, as expected, saw Corach pushing on to try to restore parity but with Forth very dangerous on the counter-attack.
Indeed, Celtic had the best chances in the closing moments and should have doubled their lead when Willie Burrell shot wide with the 'keeper stranded.
There was disappointment for Corach but they know they had the chances to at least take the game to extra-time.
Forth Celtic, on the other hand, have Anthony Hayes at the centre of their attack and possess one of the best finishers in the game and, ultimately, that proved to be the difference between these two who will meet again in the cup semi-final next weekend.
The second semi-final saw Enniscorthy Rovers take on Taghmon United. Both teams were short of first team regulars, and Rovers' cause wasn't helped early on when Derek Whelan had to leave the field after only a few minutes.
A 'Ducker' Hawkins corner on 20 minutes saw Whelan's replacement, Martin Armstrong, rise highest to head powerfully past Ger Power in the Taghmon goal to put Rovers one up.
Taghmon had the ball in the net soon after but it was ruled out for a foul on the defender.
David Kearney almost doubled Rovers' lead following some great play but, with the goal at his mercy, his shot was miscued and went wide.
Damien Murphy, following a great ball in by Trevor Berry, had another good chance for Taghmon but it was saved by Richie Miller in the Rovers goal.
The second-half saw Taghmon up the intensity in search of the equalising goal, and an early chance saw the ball rebound off the post with Miller beaten.
Soon after Trevor Berry, with some mesmerising play and with only the 'keeper to beat, somehow pulled the shot wide of the mark, and desperate defending from Rovers kept them out again.
But it wasn't for long as parity was restored soon after when Jason McLoughlin latched on to a headed clearance from Trevor Berry's corner and the volley from outside the box somehow got through a forest of players and low to Miller's right to give Taghmon the goal many felt they deserved given their effort in the second-half.
And only four minutes later they were in front when a 30-yard free-kick from Trevor Berry was hammered home off the underside of the bar.
With Rovers now desperate for the equalising goal, they left gaps at the back and Taghmon failed to capitalise on a glorious chance to wrap it up.
And it proved costly as, with time almost up, Rovers levelled it again as Taghmon failed to clear their lines and the ball eventually fell to David Kearney who made no mistake.
The final whistle sounded and we were heading to extra-time. Both teams had brief spells of dominance in added time, with the best chance falling to Rovers but it was cleared off the line.
And so with extra-time failing to separate these two, it was down to the dreaded shoot-out to see who would be going forward to play Forth Celtic in the final, and the Taghmon men came out on top after a very entertaining game.
Fixtures - Friday, July 26, shield semi-finals: Enniscorthy Rovers v. Kilmore United, at Sinnottstown Lane, 7.30 p.m.; Wexford Bohs v. Taghmon United, at All Blacks, 7.30 p.m.; Saturday, July 27- cup semi-finals at Ballycullane: Corach Ramblers v. Forth Celtic, 5 p.m.; Duncannon v. Ross Celtic, 7 p.m.
New Ross Standard