Thursday 5 December 2019

Brazil magic provides the platform for Orchard raid

Cherry Orchard 2 Longford Town 0 FAI Cup 2nd round

goals in each half from Philip Sheppard and Alan Caul helped Leinster Senior League side Cherry Orchard knock First Division Longford Town out at a sun-kissed Frank Cooke Park yesterday.

Both teams went close in an otherwise quiet opening quarter-hour. Orchard's Lee Collins forced Craig Hyland into a good save, while Longford's Austin Skelly headed Keith Gillespie's pin-point cross just wide.

Missing a number of key players, including Alan Kirby and Gary Shaw, Longford failed to really get going and Orchard took the lead in the 24th minute.

Sloppy defending allowed the ball to land in Longford's box following a throw-in. Sheppard had his first effort blocked by Des Hope but he made no mistake second time around, smashing a right-footed shot into the roof of the net.

Following some harsh half-time words, Tony Cousins' side almost equalised just before the hour mark when the impressive Tom Crawley's cross was headed onto his own upright by Orchard's Daniel Ennis.

The First Division leaders were having a good spell and it took a number of excellent saves from Man of the Match Sean Brazil to keep Orchard in front. He saved twice from substitute Daniel Purdy among others.

Those misses proved costly as the Ballyfermot outfit doubled their lead 13 minutes from time, 18-year-old Caul finishing well from inside the box after being set up by former Bohemians and Shelbourne striker Marc Hughes.

Longford almost pulled one back three minutes later, but Brazil thwarted them again with another brilliant save, this time tipping Jamie Duffy's header over the crossbar.

Orchard manager Paul Doyle was happy that his team's bravery paid off. "We weren't going to sit back and let them come at us -- we felt if we got the opportunities to score we would score, and we did," he said.

Doyle knew his side's defence would be under pressure in the second half.

"We spoke at half-time and we knew that Longford would come at us in the second half and increase the tempo, but fair play to our goalkeeper Sean," he added.

Looking ahead to the next round, the former Bohs reserve team manager said he hopes to draw one of the big boys.

"It would be great to get a Pat's or a Shamrock Rovers on their patch, but we will take whoever we get.''

Doyle reckons that his players can now enjoy their summer holidays, knowing they have another cup game to look forward to.

"We are back in for pre-season training on July 9 and a win a like this gives me the springboard to go and get a few more players," he said.

Cherry Orchard -- Brazil, O'Sullivan, Ennis, Collins (capt), Byrne, Caul (Byrne, 82), Collins, Moran, McNell, Sheppard (McNevin, 78), Hughes (Rooney, 90).

Longford Town -- Hyland, Dowling, Crawley, Hope, Flood, James, Lee, Gillespie (Skelly 81), Salmon, Duffy, Skelly (Purdy 29).

Ref -- A Reale.

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