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Westport United snatch victory from jaws of defeat


Westport snatch victory from jaws of defeat

Westport Utd 4
D Scahill 33, D Hoban 90,
V O’Malley 96, M MacNally 99

Ballyheane 2
C Maughan 54, A Tobiasz 69

John Brennan

EVEN the most ardent Westport United supporter, couldn’t have imagined the events that unfolded at the end of Saturday’s game in Ballyheane.
The Covies were there in large numbers at Pat Quigley Park. But after taking the lead courtesy of a Danny Scahill screamer, they were 2-1 down after 89 minutes and staring down the barrel of defeat. Yet somehow, John Brennan’s side managed to claw three points at the death with a late flourish. But Ballyheane deserve huge credit for a gutsy display which had the Super League champions rattled.
Westport burst from the traps. Patrick Moran had a half-volley saved by Seán Fahey, while Philip Keegan saw a snapshot blocked down. Ballyheane looked in trouble but they composed themselves and gave Westport something to think about.
The hosts capitalised on some sloppy defending and Arek Tobiasz danced his way inside before feeding the ball across to Chris Maughan, who forced Gary Cunningham into a super save. Maughan then released Daniel Purcell, who had only had the goalkeeper to beat, but fluffed his lines.
Purcell was back on defensive duty in the 33rd minute when he cleared Moran’s effort off the line. But unfortunately for Ballyheane, the ball worked its way to the unmarked Danny Scahill who unleashed a bullet from 25 yards that flew past Seán Fahey.
The Covies went in for the kill. Joe Lawless cut through the heart of the Ballyheane cover and fed the ball across to Keegan, but a diving Padraig Mulroe clearance meant Ballyheane survived.
The locals battled back admirably and were rewarded in the 54th minute in rather fortuitous circumstances. Cunningham’s kick-out put Lawless under unnecessary pressure, and Chris Maughan, showing great persistence, forced the defender into a mistake and somehow got enough contact to send the ball trickling over the line.
Ballyheane weren’t finished and surged clear of their illustrious visitors. Fahey launched a long delivery into the danger area, and Maughan nodded the ball forward, forcing
Cunningham into touching the ball onto the crossbar. However, Arek Tobiasz was in the right place at the right time and he headed home from two yards out.
Westport, seemingly heading for their second defeat of the season, sent for the cavalry. Vinny O’Malley had an effort blocked down as they upped the intensity levels a few notches. Their patience was rewarded in the 90th minute when David Hoban smashed home the equaliser from close range after Keegan sliced through the tiring Ballyheane defence.
At this stage a point would have proved invaluable, but they wanted more. Vinny O’Malley glanced the ball past Fahey in the 96th minute from Colm Keane’s teasing free-kick. With Ballyheane pushing for an equaliser the Covies punished them with a deft counter-attack. Keane raced clear and fed the ball across to the unmarked Hoban, who unselfishly put the ball on the plate for sub Mark MacNally to fire home.

G Cunningham; S Tagg, J Lawless, Martin Geraghty, K Joyce; D Scahill, D Cameron, P Moran, P Fitzgerald; D Hoban, P Keegan.
Subs used: C Keane for M Geraghty (67 mins); D Browne for P Moran (67 mins); V O’Malley for Pat Fitzgerald (74 mins); J Cawley for D Scahill (77 mins); M MacNally for S Tagg (88 mins).

S Fahey; A Tuffy, P Mulroe, P Bourke, T Coghill; J Kelly, D Purcell, C Maughan, A Tobiasz; N Tuffy, D Walsh.
Subs used: I Naughton for A Tobiasz (87 mins); D Sheridan for J Kelly (94 mins, inj).

Referee: D McGrath


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