Lyre Rovers 1
Spartak Mossgrove 0
LYRE Rovers’ dream of a West Cork league and cup double remains on course following a Beamish Cup quarter-final win at home to Spartak Mossgrove last Sunday.
Two of the top three Premier Division sides met in the last eight of West Cork’s prestigious knockout competition at a sun-kissed Lyre and produced an entertaining cup tie.
The tone was set inside the first minute when Michael Bradfield saw his goal-bound attempt deflected wide for a corner. Both teams were short a host of first team regulars but that didn’t prevent a free-flowing encounter from developing with Gearoid Barry and Michael Keohane helping settle Lyre nerves.
Spartak dominated the opening quarter, spreading play across the pitch but failing to adequately trouble Aidan Collins until the 16th minute. The ball dropped to Michael Bradfield on the edge of the box but the Mossgrove player’s volley was brilliantly turned away by Lyre’s goalkeeper.
The visitors continued to press, Rory Kelleher and Tadgh Ryan headers missing the target by inches in consecutive attacks, and the score somehow remained 0-0.
Spartak thought they had opened the scoring after 29 minutes when Michael Bradfield connected with Conor O’Neill’s cross only for Aidan Collins to produce his second top-class save of the tie. That close call preceded Lyre’s first period of sustained possession with a succession of half-chances finally forcing visiting goalkeeper Ciarán McCarthy into action.
Just when it seemed the first 45 minutes would conclude scoreless, Lyre broke the deadlock from a set piece and punished Spartak Mossgrove’s failure to convert their early dominance into goals.
A free-kick on the edge of the penalty area presented Jonathan Leahy with an opportunity and Rovers’ striker curled home a terrific effort. There was still time for Spartak’s Rory Kelleher to strike a post and a brief flare-up before the half-time whistle blew.
Brian Walsh and Jonathan Leahy spurned opportunities to double their side’s advantage at the beginning of an equally hectic second period in which Mossgrove struggled to rediscover their first-half form.
Leahy was Lyre’s most potent attacker throughout the tie and fired another shot narrowly wide as Rovers looked to kill off their opponents.
Mossgrove had little option but to commit additional numbers forward and Michael Bradfield diverted a header wide of the target with Aidan Collins stranded after 75 minutes. Rovers should have put the result beyond doubt when Brian Walsh burst through and struck a post before failing to force the rebound into the net with nine minutes to go.
But following that effort, the home side was forced to defend their 18-yard box during four minutes of injury-time as Spartak threw everyone forward in search of an equaliser.
Despite wasting three late chances following swift counter-attacks, Lyre Rovers’ back four held firm and the Premier Division leaders progressed to a Beamish Cup semi-final, keeping alive their hopes of a double.
Lyre Rovers: Aidan Collins, Cian O’Donovan, Ethan Draper, Ian Falvey, Jack Cowhig, Gearoid Barry, Michael Keohane (captain), Kieran Fitzpatrick, Brian Walsh, Jonathan Leahy, Ricky O’Flynn.
Sub: Mark Shorten.
Spartak Mossgrove: Ciarán McCarthy, Bernard O’Callaghan, Cian Twomey, Tadgh Twomey, Michael Bradfield, Tadgh Ryan, Darren Heffernan, Rory Kelleher Adrian O’Sullivan, Brian O’Donovan, Conor O’Neill.
Subs: James Curran, Sean O’Donovan, Cormac Ryan, Daniel Twomey (captain).
Referee: Paul McDermott.