FAI Intermediate Cup round 3

FAI Intermediate Cup round 3

FAI Intermediate Cup round 3

Fanad show heart to earn replay



Report: Diarmaid Doherty

Not known for throwing in the towel - on or off the field - Fanad United's cup hopes remain on track, despite being outplayed in the second half of Sunday's clash at Triagh-a-Locha.

Tomorrow night, Fanad will re-ignite their boardroom battle with the Ulster Senior League in their quest for a return to winter football. It's a contest they aren't likely to win at Wednesday's League AGM - but as long as Fanad have intentions of winning the FAI Intermediate Cup, they'll argue the case against summer football.

It's been 15 years since they last won this title and Fanad rightly argue that unless the USL returns to winter football, they won't win an Intermediate Cup again.

But while that debate rumbles on, Ollie Horgan and his side are happy to concentrate on matters on the pitch and after a hard-working display against Sacred Heart, they deservedly earned a replay in Tallaght on Sunday.

Mind you, they had to withstand an impressive second half showing from the visitors who created several good openings as they went in search of the winner.

With former Shamrock Rovers player, Paul Caffrey pulling the strings in midfield, Davey Byrne, Anthony Weaver and Darren Gorde all went close as Darren Nash's goal came under real pressure.

Thankfully for Fanad, they held out and that was partly down to the impeccable defending of Seamie Friel and the ever-improving Shaun McElwaine at the back.

If Sacred Heart were the better side in the second half, they played second fiddle to Fanad in the first. The home side burst out of the blocks and Alan Gethins and Artie Friel carried a notable threat up front. Friel twice went close while Paul McVeigh missed two great opportunites as the visiting defence was caught out time and again.

Gethins looked certain to score just before the interval following Artie Friel's challenge on the keeper but defender Weaver somehow cleared the ball from under his own bar.

Fanad will have been disappointed not to go in ahead at the break and in the end, they'll be downbeat after failing to make home advantage count. However, while Horgan accepted afterwards that his team will be up against it in Dublin, you can be sure Fanad won't go down without a fight - just as the USL executive will no doubt discover tomorrow night.

FANAD UTD.: Darren Nash, Patrick Patton, Denis Boyle, Seamie Friel, Shaun McElwaine, Caolan Kelly, Alan Gethins, Paddy McGrenaghan (Paul Nash 82), Arthur Lynch, PJ Hagan, Paul McVeigh (Eric Roberts 75). Subs not used: Michael McGrory, Brian McVeigh, Paul Given.

SACRED HEART: Ken Deegan, Robert Gallagher (Ger Rafter 87), Damien O'Reilly, Dean Laurence, Anthony Weaver, Daren Kilby, Patrick Knowles (Jamie O'Neill 72), Robert Thornton, Davey Byrne, Paul Caffrey, Darren Gorde (Alan Bergin 62).

REFEREE: Paddy Melaugh.

ASSISTANTS: Con McLaughlin, Donal McCafferty.