FAI Cup Round-up: Athlone Town reach first quarter-final in 14 years following eight-goal thriller with Wexford

by Dave Donnelly

Athlone Town will contest an FAI Cup quarter-final for the first time in 14 years after they twice came from behind to beat Wexford 5-3 after extra time at Lissywollen.

Extra-time goals from Lee Duffy and Adam Lennon saw Adrian Carberry’s side through to the last eight for the first time since 2006, when they were knocked out by Shamrock Rovers.

Shelbourne will also be in the draw for the quarters as they saw off Galway United in another high-scoring encounter, Ian Morris’ side winning 5-2 at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Dayle Rooney scored twice, while Ciaran Kilduff, Ryan Brennan and Aaron Dobbs were also on target, as John Caulfield’s first game in charge of the Tribesmen ended in defeat.

It was in Athlone that the night’s most prolonged drama took place, however, as the hosts and Wexford couldn’t be separated after 90 topsy-turvy minutes.

Brian O’Sullivan’s side looked to be cruising as they took a 2-0 lead into the break courtesy of Jack Doherty’s penalty and a Conor English strike shortly afterward.

Doherty converted from 12 yards after 16 minutes following a handball and English added a spectacular second three minutes later with a rocket from the edge of the box.

Athlone were far from done, however, and they drew level with two quickfire goals of their own early in the second half.

Ronan Manning started the comeback seven minutes in as he tapped home from Lee Duffy’s cross, and he turned creator two minutes later as his free kick was headed in by Taner Dogan.

James Carroll restored Wexford’s lead midway through the half as he headed home Conor Crowley’s free kick to record his first goal for the club.

Again Athlone levelled, ten minutes from time, when Scott Delaney volleyed home from a corner and that’s how it remained at the full-time whistle.

Another Manning set-piece saw Athlone hit the front early in extra time as former Wexford striker Duffy nodded home the playmaker’s free.

Duffy was then sent off for a second yellow card, but Athlone wrapped up the win before half time as Manning bagged his third assist, setting up Adam Lennon to make it 5-3.

In Galway, Dayle Rooney scored two virtuoso efforts, one in each half, as Shelbourne eventually won out 5-2.

The winger opened the scoring late in the first half with a  well-struck free kick but it was his second, and Shelbourne’s fourth, that was the pick of the night’s goals.

Ciaran Kilduff, Ryan Brennan and Aaron Dobbs were also on target for the Reds, while Enda Curran and Mikey Place were on target for the home side.