Andrew Dempsey reports from John Hyland Park
Maynooth University Town secured an FAI Cup shock on Saturday night as they saw off First Division Cobh Ramblers by three goals to two at John Hyland Park.
A goal and assist from Jackson Ryan set Maynooth on their way after John Kavanagh gave the hosts a first-half lead with an own-goal.
Jason Abbott and Conor Drinan both netted for Cobh but it was not enough for them as their FAI Cup dream ground to a shuddering halt.
Maynooth in fact started the better of the two sides, and they went close to opening the scoring as early as the second minute through Sven Biensouma.
Biensouma was unable to find the target, however, as his shot deflected wide after some good wing play from Jackson Ryan.
But that early warning sign stung Cobh into action. Jason Abbott fired over the bar with a free-kick, before the experienced midfielder saw his shot from close-range blocked by the lively Ryan.
Ryan, a former Longford Town and Shelbourne, really impressed in the early stages of the game, and it was a change of wings that saw Maynooth University Town take a deserved lead in the 18th minute.
Cillian Duffy linked up with the powerful Biensouma who then put the ball into the six-yard box. And in the act of clearing the danger, John Kavanagh turned into his own net to give the Leinster Senior League side a deserved lead.
The Rams grew back into the game after that setback, and Conor Drinan ought to have levelled matters moments later. The left-winger found himself one-on-one with Shane Fagan, but he could only skew his shot wide of goal.
And that proved to be the catalyst for a much-improved performance from the First Division side. Naythan Coleman and Drinan went close from set-piece routines, but their persistence finally paid off on the stroke of half-time.
Maynooth, who only had nine players on the pitch at the time thanks to injuries, were undone thanks to Drinan’s fine looping header.
The Rams attacker got on the end of Kavanagh’s looping ball into the box to head home past the falling hand of Fagan.
Shane Harte’s side reacted well to that setback before the break, and they almost retook the lead in the 51st minute but some world-class goalkeeping from Sean Barron.
Eoin O’Neill did well to find space on the byline to find Paddy O’Sullivan on the edge of the box.
But, unfortunately for Maynooth’s hat-trick hero in the last round of the cup, O’Sullivan saw his curling effort batted away from the top corner by the impressive Cobh netminder.
They would not be denied a second although as substitute Jack O’Connor found the back of the net with a low strike that should have been saved by Barron.
Cobh’s task would get even more difficult shortly after as John Kavanagh was sent off for a petulant coming together with Ryan.
But the Rams levelled moments later through Jason Abbott who slotted home from the spot after Jake Corrigan felled Killian Cooper in the penalty area.
Maynooth responded well and through the ingenuity of O’Neill, they fashioned one last opening to secure the win as Ryan finished well to seal their passage into the next round of the cup.
As for Cobh, it was a dismal night at the office as their season, in a competitive sense, came to a rather disappointing close.
Maynooth University Town: Shane Fagan; Darragh Gannon, Alex Fitzgibbon (Sean Traynor 75), Conor Dunne, Jake Corrigan; Paddy O'Sullivan (Dylan Pierce 75), Alex Kelly, Conor Foley (Conor Delahunty 86), Cillian Duffy (Eoin O'Neill 34); Jackson Ryan, Sven Biansumba (Jack O’Connor 61).
Subs not used: David Michael Sterio, Martin O'Connor, Janabi Amour, Conor Mooney, Dylan Hennessy.
Booked: Darragh Gannon (26), Jack O’Connor (65).
Sent off: None.
Cobh Ramblers: Sean Barron; Ben O'Riordan, John Kavanagh (c), Lee Devitt Molloy, Nathan Coleman (Charlie Lyons 56); Nathan O'Connell, Jason Abbott, Ian Turner; Ciaran Griffin (Danny O'Connell 56), Conor Drinan (Stephen O'Leary 85), Killian Cooper (Luke Kennedy 85).
Subs not used: Corey Chambers, Cian Murphy, Fionn Duggan, James McCarthy, Alex Hill.
Booked: Sean Barron (81) Nathan O'Connell (90).
Sent off: John Kavanagh (76).
Referee: Alan Patchell.
extratime.com Player of the Match: Jackson Ryan (Maynooth University Town).