Bluebell United are the sole non-league side left in this season’s Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup following on from the second round which was played over the week. Bluebell who play in the Leinster Senior League which is considered the intermediate level beat First Division side Cabinteely 1-0 thanks to a goal from Shane Stritch in the first half. Bluebell would have a number of players who would have played in the SSE Airtricity League and also include in their ranks former Birmingham City and Republic of Ireland international Keith Fahey. Fahey, of course, was part of the Birmingham side that won the League Cup in 2011. He will miss Bluebell’s next tie as he was sent off in stoppage time after receiving two yellow cards. Their counterparts Crumlin United put up a brave fight against Premier Division side Dundalk before ultimately being beaten 4-1. Jake Donnelly scored their goal with David McMillan, Sean Hoare and Steven Kinsella scoring for Dundalk, McMillan also had a penalty saved. Their close neighbours Bangor Celtic were beaten 1-0 by Longford Town with Don Cowan getting the games only goal. Longford, of course, beat Sligo Rovers in the previous round and that is my obligatory mention of my club fulfilled!
The last of the non-league sides Cobh Wanderers were beaten 5-1 in United Park by Premier Division strugglers Drogheda United. Shane Elworthy and Chris Mulhall got two each with Thomas Byrne getting the other. David Stack scored for the Wanderers. There were two ties that saw sides from the First Division taking on Premier Division opposition. In a Dublin Derby Shelbourne were beaten 3-0 by Shamrock Rovers. Brandon Miele, Graham Burke and James Doona all scored for Shamrock who also had the influential Ronan Finn sent off with ten minutes left. The victors will be hoping that this will be the year that they finally claim number 25. They last won the FAI Cup in 1987 and that was their 24th win in total. For Shelbourne their big victory came off the pitch this week when it was announced that the club had cleared their historical debts which went back to their most successful period when the wage bill was in the region of €40,000 a week. It was unsustainable but supporters still remember the league wins and the European games which they would gladly trade for given they are now mid-table in the First Division. After being beaten 7-1 by midland rivals Longford last week you would have thought there would have been a response from Athlone Town who were away to last seasons winners Cork City. There wasn’t as they were beaten 7-0. Achille Campion and Connor Ellis both got a brace with Kieran Sadlier, Karl Sheppard, and Garry Buckley all getting one apiece.
There were two all Premier Division affairs with Finn Harps making the journey south to take on Limerick FC. It was the home side who prevailed thanks to a goal from David O’Connor which was enough to give his side a 1-0 win. Harps had Caolan McAleer sent off in the first half. In the last of the ties Galway United beat St. Patrick’s Athletic 2-0. Jonah Ayunga and Eoin McCormack scored their goals. Ayunga suffered a leg break though in the second half and has now returned to his parent club Brighton for treatment and now faces a race against time to play again this season. The quarter-final draw was held on Monday evening and the pairings are as follows:
Longford Town vs. Cork City
Bluebell United vs. Shamrock Rovers
Galway United vs. Limerick FC
Dundalk vs. Drogheda United
The games are to be played the week ending September 10th.