Despite conceding two late goals to ten-man Shelbourne, Geraldines eventually reserved a spot in the second round of the Munster Junior Cup thanks to an injury-time Joe Keane penalty-kick.
Geraldines were keen to exact a measure of revenge on Niall Hogan’s troops, who upset the LDL Premier Division’s basement side with a 2-1 victory in Sunday’s FAI Junior Cup second round clash.
Although Tommy Barrett’s side enjoyed a perfect start, when Pa Moloney’s left-footed finish made the most of a turnover forced by Kuba Domanski, their Division 2A visitors went on to dominate possession for the remainder of the first-half.
Although both Moloney and strike partner Derek Hannon outfoxed their respective centre-backs on several occasions in the opening period, neither was instructed to pick up Shelbourne’s holding midfielder Brendan O’Dwyer, who dictated proceedings with ease from the gaping chasm in front of the Shelbourne defence.
O’Dwyer’s instigation of attacks from deep kept a trailing Shelbourne on the front foot for the remainder of the half, but the decisive pass in the final third was often poor. Shelbourne’s best opportunity arrived on the break, when O’Dwyer dropped into the defensive line to intercept a pass and feed false nine Jack O’Donovan.
O’Donovan, who inflicted the first wound on Geraldines last Sunday, completed a quick one-two with left-winger Niall Earls, but was smothered just inside the box by quick-acting goalkeeper Keith McCarthy.
Although comprehensively outplayed by opponents from three tiers below, the hosts still created chances, with both Moloney and Hannon wasteful on several occasions when their close control set them through on goal.
Player-manager Tommy Barrett also saw a point-blank effort bravely blocked on the line by centre-back Ciaran Keogh, after goalkeeper Dave Moloney pushed Hannon’s powerful header out in front of him.
Shelbourne’s high block regularly forced the home defence to kick long balls back to them, and that consistent pressure was underlined in first-half injury-time when Geraldines right-back Greg Barrett was hassled into rolling an attempted back-pass inches wide of McCarthy’s left-hand post.
In search of a second-half equaliser, Shelbourne’s shape gradually morphed into a 4-4-2 of their own, with right-winger Sam Egan joining substitute Luke Ingram up top for the last twenty minutes. Ciaran Cummins, who notched last week’s winning goal, was introduced on the right of midfield.
Unsurprisingly, forfeiting O’Dwyer’s freedom at the base of a midfield three reduced Shelbourne’s control of the game and the vast majority of the second stanza degenerated into a shapeless scrap upon which neither side exerted any control.
Matters worsened for Hogan’s side with ten minutes remaining, when referee George Clancy doubled Geraldines’ advantage in farcical fashion from an O’Connor corner-kick. Sam Mullins’ header was going wide, but struck Clancy on the byline and rebounded in at the far post.
Cummins, who was stationed on that post, appeared to expect Clancy to award a free-kick in Shelbourne’s favour and was excoriated by his angry team-mates for not playing to the whistle. Incensed, Cummins responded in kind, and was duly hauled off by management.
Alas, Hogan’s fourth and final substitute Marcus Daly, who was bedecked in the number 17 jersey, was written down as Shelbourne’s number 12 on the match-card. Clancy therefore refused to allow Daly to make his bow in place of the departed Cummins, reducing Shelbourne to ten-men for the final ten minutes.
Improbably, the side sitting fourth in the fourth-tier then dramatically leveled matters anyway, with goals in the 85th and 92nd minutes. First, Earls recycled an overhit corner-kick for Keogh to head home, and then Eoin Kehilly nodded in an O’Dwyer corner-kick, after Mullins had dramatically cleared a point-blank Ingram effort off the line.
With extra-time looming, Geraldines then piled drama upon drama when they struck again in the fifth minute of injury-time by winning a penalty through substitute Mansoor Arda, who was downed on the edge of the six-yard box by centre-back Brian O’Donnell.
Fellow replacement Joe Keane stepped up and slotted away the resultant penalty-kick to book a second-round trip to Nenagh for the extremely fortunate Premier Division strugglers.
Moloney 9′, Mullins 35′, Keane (pen) 90+5′; Keogh 85′, Kehilly 90+2′
Man of the Match