NEFL | Ten-man Bellurgan can’t see it out against Rivervalley Rangers

FAI Junior Cup 3rd Round | Bellurgan Utd 2–3 Rivervalley Rangers

A late collapse saw ten-man Bellurgan United make their exit from the FAI Junior Cup at the hands of Riversvalley Rangers at Tom Flynn Park on Sunday.

With a number of regulars missing, Bellurgan manager Wayne Conroy was forced to reshuffle his pack for the visit of the AUL outfit.

Despite the changes, the home side started brightly and could have been three goals ahead inside the opening 10 minutes with Barry Carr and Ciaran Sheelan both guilty of missing chances that on another day would have hit the back of the net.

The Bellurgan pressure eventually told in the 15th minute when Carr swept the ball home after good set up play by Shane Finnegan.

Minutes later, it all went pear shaped for Bellurgan when goalkeeper Robbie Arthur was shown a straight red card for a foul inside the box that also resulted in the referee awarding a penalty.

Sub goalkeeper Davy McDonald was ushered on in place of his younger brother Daniel, who was enjoying a very good game in his first start for the senior team, leaving the hosts with the daunting task of playing the final 70 minutes with ten-men.

The Rivervalley striker stepped up to take the penalty but his effort struck the upright, much to the delight of the Bellurgan support.

The Dubliners, however, made the numerical advantage count on the stroke of half time. Bellurgan lost possession and were caught out with a quick break that resulted in the Rivervalley striker left one-on-one with McDonald and he made no mistake.

Bellurgan emerged for the second-half with the bit between their teeth and it was no surprise to see them go 2–1 up when Brian White was picked out at the back post by Sheelan and he finished with aplomb.

Conroy’s men looked comfortable and they should have extended their advantage when Stephen Finnegan sent in a wonderful free kick but Carr somehow failed to score despite having oceans of space in the six-yard box.

Rivervalley upped the tempo and with 10 minutes to go the home side eventually buckled when they failed to clear a long ball. McDonald again found himself exposed with the same Rivervalley player squeezing the ball under the stand in keeper to make it 2–2.

With time almost up, and extra-time looming, Bellurgan were left shellshocked when the replacement goalkeeper’s clearance cannoned off one of his own players and rebounded into the net, a real blow for the peninsula side worked really hard to grind out a result despite being a man down.

BELLURGAN UNITED: Robbie Arthur, Aoghan McGunness, Darragh Lafferty, Emmet Rogan, John Smyth, Daniel McDonald (Davy McDonald) Stephen Finnegan, Shane Finnegan, Brian White, Ciaran Sheelan, Barry Carr (Danny O’Connor).

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