C Cloherty 56
Westport Utd 3
D Browne 28, V O’Malley 34, 75
THERE was none of the pomp, ceremony or celebrations that marked their last visit to Galway. But for the Connacht Junior Cup holders, matters were dealt with in the same efficiency way, as hosts Medtronic were dismissed with clinical efficiency at Roscam on Sunday.
In truth, Westport just cruised through this contest, and after enjoying a two-goal interval advantage, courtesy of strikes by Darren Browne and Vinny O’Malley, they didn’t work too hard in the second half to build on those gains.
In contrast, Medtronic were really working their socks off, and when Craig Cloherty pulled one back after 56 minutes, it made matters a little more interesting. However, even at that stage, the reality was that the home side did not have the ability to rescue anything from the contest. O’Malley’s second on 75 minutes was a comfort to the visitors.
Westport showed six changes to the selection that exited the FAI Junior Cup in Crettyard the previous week and they were almost caught napping in the opening minute. Ronan Sweeney crossed from the right, but Cloherty could not keep his finish on target as he headed over Gary Cunningham’s goal from just eight yards.
The early wake-up call didn’t exactly create any great urgency for Westport, as they took their time stroking the ball about without ever offering a threat at the danger end. After 12 minutes, a Browne free kick was easily gathered by Conor Sweeney, and the custodian was grateful that an O’Malley header was straight at him moments later.
The visitors were gradually awaking from their slow burning start, and following an Alan Carroll corner, O’Malley directed another close range effort too close to the goalkeeper. Sweeney had to make his first real save on 27 minutes when he clawed away a David Hoban flick, after the striker got on the end of another Carroll delivery.
All the pressure told when the breakthrough arrived just a minute later. A Darren Hoban delivery from the left was neatly laid off by O’Malley, and Darren Browne applied the close-range finish for a 1-0 lead.
Westport continued to play within themselves as Browne, Carroll and O’Malley all linked up play in neat patterns and they made it 2-0 after 34 minutes. On this occasion, Carroll set up O’Malley for the veteran to almost guide a low finish past Sweeney.
To the credit of the lowly Third Division home side, they quickly threatened a comeback. Cunningham was twice in action before the break to deny Joe Gibbs and Craig Cloherty.
Medtronic continued where they left off on the resumption, and when Cloherty was all alone at the far post to get on the end of a Dave Molloy free kick, his tap in was a reward for their industry and honesty. Matters were now alive at 2-1.
The setback didn’t exactly stimulate Westport into any great takeover, and for the remainder of the half, they continued to stroll through proceedings and were just happy to go through the motions.
In their first shot of the half on target, the visitors made it 3-1 on 75 minutes. Substitute Mark McNally was the provider with his first touch and O’Malley once more displayed his finishing power to open a two-goal gap.
They almost added another in the final minute when a Colm Keane delivery rebounded off a defender and then on to a post. This was an efficient performance to deal with the challenge offered, but no doubt much stiffer tasks lie ahead.
C Sweeney, T Hannick, C McLoughlin, A Hynes, J Gibbs, G Flaherty, B Feeney, TJ Cox, L Maxwell, R Sweeney, C Cloherty.
Subs used: D Molloy for T Hannick (14 mins); E Cleary for C McLoughlin (h/t); D Donovan for TJ Cox (78 mins).
G Cunningham, S Higgins, C Keane, M Geraghty, J Lawless, D Cameron, A Carroll, D Browne, Darren Hoban, V O’Malley, David Hoban.
Subs used: M McNally for A Carroll (74 mins); K Browne for V O’Malley (83 mins); B Mulchrone for Darren Hoban (83 mins).
Referee: B Lynch