RATHMULLAN CELTIC’S DREAM of FAI Cup glory came to an end at a wet and blustery seaside as Limerick’s Regional United advanced after a tough contested affair.
Rathmullan Celtic 0 Regional United 3
Garvan Coughlan grabbed a brace and Tommy Frawley firing the visitors into the last 16 of the tournament with a rather flattering scoreline.
The Hoops were put on the back foot after nine minutes when Regional’s talismanic sharp shooter Coughlan clinically finished inside the area after Peter Ryan headed on Brian O’Callaghan’s free kick from the left wing to give the visitors the perfect start.
Hoops manager Dara Patton started the game up front with the industrious striker Eamonn Sheridan but both forwards got very little from a well drilled and resolute Limerick defence marshalled impeccably by former Barnsley centre half Brian O’Callaghan, who also played professionally in Sweden.
The Hoops dominated in terms of possession with left winger Ryan Connolly mesmerising on the wing but the Regional defence simply gave nothing away in a first half that saw few goal scoring chances created.
The Hoops came out with a positive approach and again dominated the majority of play in the second half with the same outcome from O’Callaghan’s marshalled defence.
Against the run of play Regional went further ahead on 55 minutes when Hoops keeper Mark Gallagher’s clearance was neatly controlled by Tommy Frawley who then chipped the ‘keeper from 35 yards out in exquisite style to double their advantage.
The Hoops pressed in vain to get back into contention and in the 65th minute Eamonn Sheridan was denied by an excellent Rob Shire save after the striker controlled a Kevin Doran pass before unleashing a strike on the turn which Shire neatly tipped around the post.
As the Hoops pushed forward, Regional took advantage with only their second attack of the half resulting in a goal on 89 minutes.
Impact sub Deco Nash set Coughlan free and the Limerick FC bound star striker neatly finished into the bottom corner to finish the game and add to his impressive 32 goal tally for the season.
Regional go through to the last 16 of the Cup while the Hoops can take heart from a spirited performance in the worst conditions and focus on returning to the pinnacle of Donegal soccer as they push for Premier League glory with an away trip to Kildrum Tigers next weekend.