Pike Rovers bounced back from their FAI Junior Cup final heartbreak last weekend to retain the Munster Junior Cup for the second year following victory over Janesboro in a sudden death penalty shootout at Jackman Park.
The game finished 1-1 after extra time as Shane Clarke gave Janesboro the lead but it was cancelled out by a superb strike from Steven McGann just before half time.
Pike were quicker out of the traps but despite looking dangerous in possession, they struggled to create clear cut chances. Midfielder Steve McGann should have been played through by Cian Collins early on, but the striker failed to find the energetic midfielder’s feet.
The first chance of the game fell to the Hoops as Wayne O’Donovan delivered a dangerous corner which was met by Paddy O’Malley but the winger could only find the side netting.
Against the run of play, Janesboro took the lead in controversial circumstances. Shane Clarke’s header from a free-kick appeared to be a routine catch for Pike goalkeeper Gary Neville. However, the assistant referee adjudged that Neville carried the ball over the goal-line as he landed and much to the dismay of the Pike players, the goal was awarded to ‘Boro.
The game was played at a frantic pace with tough tackles all over the park. Just as it looked like Shane O’Hanlon’s team would take the lead into the break, former Limerick FC player Steve McGann was allowed turn onto his left foot before curling a left footed shot into the corner of the net.
In the second half, Pike looked the more likely to score and winger Paddy O’Malley forced a great save from the impressive John Mulready in the Janesboro goal. A Steve McGann header travelled wide of the goal and it was the last action of normal time.
In extra-time, chances were few and far between but Pike’s Wayne O’Donovan had goalkeeper Gary Neville to thank for desperately clawing the ball out for a corner following a miscued clearance from the right-back. As time ran out, the ball fell to Cian Collins inside the penalty area but the striker blazed over the bar much to the relief of the Janesboro players.
The penalty shootout went to sudden death and Pike’s Paddy O’Malley scored the winning spot-kick to win the Munster Junior Cup for the Crosagalla outfit for the second year running to send the crowd into raptures.
Pike Rovers: Gary Neville, Wayne O’Donovan, Daragh Carroll, Pat Mullins, Eddie O’Donovan, Steve McGann, Colin Daly, Cian Power (TJ O’Dwyer), Dave Ryan (Jason Mullins), Paddy O’Malley, Cian Collins.
Janesboro: John Mulready, Stephen Bradley, Thomas Clarke, Ryan Donnelly, Aaron Nunan (Danny O’Neill), Adrian Power (Lee O’Mara), Aidan Hurley, John Tierney (Mike Ryan), Niall Hanley, Keith Mawdsley, Shane Clarke.