Ringmahon Rangers 0
Bandon AFC 0
RYAN KELLY REPORTS
PETER Jones cut a relieved figure after nine-man Bandon held on to force a replay against Ringmahon Rangers in the FAI Intermediate Cup fourth round recently.
Keith Holden received his marching orders not long after the re-start and Sean Lordan was shown a straight red minutes later, as tempers flared at Ringmahon Park. Nevertheless, despite contending with a two-man deficit, Jones’ side showed tremendous desire to preserve their chances of reaching the quarter-final of the national competition.
‘You couldn’t fault the effort of the team, it’s just that our discipline let us down. The game should have been over at half time, but we were lucky to get away with what we got away with in the end,” Jones told The Southern Star afterwards.
‘After ten minutes of the second half we were down to ten men, then we had to play for 20 minutes with nine men and if you’d offered me a draw at that stage I would have snapped the hand off you, so I’m over the moon that we’re still in it.’
The pitch at Ringmahon Park narrowly passed inspection after heavy rainfall and the softened surface in tandem with the sweeping wind undeniably affected the flow of the tie.
With a vocal home support cheering them on from the sidelines, it was Ringmahon who managed to fashion the first clear chances of the afternoon and Stephen O’Neill had to be alert to save Paul Deasy’s rasping free kick on ten minutes.
However, Bandon soon got to grip with the conditions and Audie Dunlea flashed a shot narrowly over from 25 yards after a neat exchange with Holden 15 minutes into the game. Dunlea went closer mid-way through the first half when he forced a save from James Kirby, but the former Cobh Ramblers midfielder’s volley was firmly held by the Ringmahon shot-stopper.
Richie Holland was presented with the best chance of the first half shortly before half time when the ball fell to him following a frenetic goalmouth scramble six yards from goal. However, the forward’s shot was desperately blocked by Ringmahon’s hulking centre back Alan Higgins.
Bandon were handed another opportunity to break the deadlock a minute later, but Ringmahon somehow managed to clear the ball to safety.
The second half was barely ten minutes old when Bandon were reduced to ten men. Holden, who had been booked for a late challenge on Jason Forde in the first half, became entangled with Anthony Kidney in an off-the-ball incident which prompted protestation from Ringmahon. Referee Dan Deady consulted with his officials before producing a second yellow card for Holden and the forward trudged lamentably off the field.
Though they had a man less than their opponents, Bandon still carved out plenty of chances and would have gone ahead but for the last-ditch defending of Higgins.
Holland’s 55th minute free kick found Dunlea unmarked at the back post, but the midfielder’s goal-bound volley was hacked off the line and to safety.
Unfortunately for Bandon, however, their task grew considerably more difficult when Lordan’s brusque off-the-ball exchange with Roy Kenny earned the midfielder a straight red card. The incident sparked a mini ruckus as the incensed Lordan expressed his annoyance with both the referee and his counterpart, but order was soon restored.
Down to nine men, Bandon were forced to put bodies behind the ball, but they remained dangerous on the counter.
In a shrewd tactical switch, Jones sent on the sprightly young forward Gavin Shields to exploit the increasingly high line deployed by Ringmahon and it almost yielded dividends when Shields weaved his way through two defenders before forcing a spectacular save from Kirby with a cheeky lob.
Brendan Cullen went close to scoring an unlikely opener from the resultant corner, but, frustratingly for Bandon, the header was cleared off the line by Eric Hegarty.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Bandon pressure continued into the closing stages and Cullen created a wonderful opportunity for himself when he dispossessed Hegarty at the edge of the area. However, the striker’s subsequent effort flew despairingly wide of the goal.
Anxious to make their advantage count, Ringmahon flooded men forward in search of the decisive goal, but a combination of reckless finishing and stout defending ensured that the game will go to a replay - next Sunday, in Bandon, at 10.45am.
Ringmahon Rangers: James Kirby, Eric Hegarty, Jason Forde, Anthony Kidney, Alan Higgins, Derek O’Sullivan, Dion Hennessy, Roy Kenny, Philip Keane, Paul Deasy, Patrick O’Brien
Subs used: Robert Coughlan for O’Brien (72), John Delaney for Deasy (78), Kevin O’Reagan for Keane (78)
Bandon AFC: Stephen O’Neill, John O’Donovan, Shane Barry, Aidan O’Donoghue, Sean Holland, Audie Dunlea, Sean Lordan, Gerard Harrington, Brendan Cullen, Richie Holland, Keith Holden.
Subs used: Gavin Shields for Holland (65), Barry O’Mahony for Cullen (82).
Referee: Dan Deady.