MM 1 Cherry Orchard 3

Mount Merrion vs Cherry Orchard in Charlie Cahill Cup first round goes to extra time.

MM bowed out of the Charlie Cahill cup in the first round at Claremont road yesterday. They can consider themselves unlucky to have lost the game to a dogged but unimaginative Orchard side. The pick of the chances in this game were all created in the first half by MM. Orchard started the better, they piled on the pressure on MM with numerous corners in the first 15 mins but they were well defended with no shots on target to show for Orchards early pressure . The match was dominated by huge kick outs from the Orchard goalkeeper and then both midfields scrapping off the knockdowns, with some very resolute defending from the Anthony Mitchell in the Merrion defence. The first piece of real quality in the half came from MM with Mikey McCann twisting and turning down the right and then providing an excellent cross to the near post, Johnny King with his first start upfront this year stole in to meet the cross with a deft header leaving the orchard keeper no chance. Within minutes Brendan Markey was put though one and one with the keeper but an excellent save to his right denied Markey and Merrion a 2 nil lead. Then just before half time Johnny King showed electric pace to break free from the orchard full back, he was supported by James Timmons who waited for the the pull back but the Orchard CH reached out a toe to make the vital interception to keep the game at 1 – 0.

The second half continued like the first with Merrion creating the better chances and the Orchard keeper making a couple of outstanding saves especially a free kick from the impressive Keith Kelch. Then half way through the half an inocous looking cross was very poorly defended by Merrion with a player trying to chest the ball back to his keeper and leaving it short, the orchard centre forward was quick to seize the gift and squeeze the ball under the Merrion keeper to level the game. Very few other chances were created during the half and the game limped towards extra time.

The first half of extra time both teams looked tired and with neither side prepared to commit to many players forward. The second period of extra time was similar in tempo to the first however in the dying mins an excellent arcing run by the busy Sheppard saw him fouled at the edge of the area. The subsequent free kick was cleared by a punch from Whealen to the opposite side of the box for the orchard defender to whip the ball back in to the far post, there the unmarked CM powered the header home to give Orchard an unlikely victory. In the last min and mix up between the keeper and defender left Sheppard with the easy task of passing into an empty net to put a gloss on Orchards win.

On the positive side MM defended well and created the better chances but the cynical way the Orchad converted there chances in the last two mins of extra time was a good lesson for MM to learn in there first season in the top flight. Special mention for good performances goes to Anthony Mitchell and Mark Cromwell but the Man of the Match award goes tellingly to the Orchard keeper Kennedy.