Fairview Rangers continued their great run of form against Pike Rovers as Ross Mann scored a last minute winner to send the club through to the last four of the Munster Junior Cup. It is also the third time and third separate competition that they have knocked their bitter rivals out of in the last six weeks.
It was a scrappy and nervy opening to the game with plenty of full blooded tackles throughout but little quality in the final third. It was the home side who had the first chance of the game as a clever lay-off at the edge of the box from the veteran Robbie Kelleher allowed AJ O’Connor to drive a low shot just wide.
15 minutes later, O’Connor was in the thick of the action once more as he connected with a deep cross from the right to force a save from Gary Neville. Possibly the best chance of the half for Jason Purcell’s men fell to Ross Mann but he dragged his effort wide from inside the penalty area.
The beginning of the second half followed the same pattern as the first with Fairview earning the first chance but Robbie Kelleher snatched at his effort in the penalty area following a pull-back by Mann.
Substitute James Fitzgerald almost caught Pike goalkeeper Gary Neville out when his specualative free-kick was touched over the bar by the netminder.
Eddies Byrnes was next to force Neville into action as he pushed the winger’s effort out for a corner. Just as it looked like the game was heading for extra-time, Jeffrey Judge picked out a perfect cross for the onrushing Mann who powered home a header to send the home support into raptures.
There was a final opportunity for Pike to salvage the game but Keith Mawsdsley spurned the chance when he looked certain to score at the back post.
In truth, the home side were deserving winners against a lethargic looking Pike attack. Fairview can now look forward to a Munster Junior Cup semi-final to add to next week’s Tuohy Cup Final and the upcoming FAI Junior Cup quarter-final.
Fairview Rangers: Aaron Savage, Brian Fitzgerald (Jason Lipper) Mark Slattery, John Mullane, Jamie Enright, Stephen Bradley, Jeffrey Judge, Eddie Byrnes (Paul Danaher) Robbie Kelleher (James Fitzgerald) , Ross Mann
Pike Rovers: Gary Neville, Wayne O’Donovan, Pat Mullins (Adam Lipper), Robbie Williams, Eddie O’Donovan, Conor Kavanagh, Shane Walsh (Evan Patterson), Colin Daly (Colm Walsh-O’Loughlen), Steven McGann, Paddy O’Malley (Johnathan Grant), Keith Mawdsley.