This was not a classic by any means mainly due to the weather conditions at Lodge Park as persistent rain and strong wind but also due to the reluctance of both sides to show much adventure up front. In the end it was Moone Celtic who won themselves a place in the fourth round draw by virtue of an 85th minute winner from Tom Hickey.
Straffan’s striking partnership of Vinny McCarthy and Shane McNamara looked dangerous but too often they were left isolated as their midfielders failed to get forward in support. Moone’s Mick Barret had a long range effort saved by Straffan keeper Aaron Guthrie in the twenty-sixth minute and a minute later Straffan’s Shane McNamara broke through at the other end but visiting keeper Donal Byrne saved well.
As half time approached Straffan’s Vinny McCarthy and McNamara combined to set up the overlapping Richard Smith but he pulled his shot from the edge of the box just wide of the left post.
Perhaps the best chance of the half fell to Moone Celtic six minutes from the break when a throw from the left by Eric Mackey was flicked on by Emmet Daly to Mick Barrett. Barrett lofted the ball into the danger area where substitute Mick Clowery was completely unmarked. Clowery however blasted over when it seemed easier to score.
The second half saw little by way of improvement in the area of goal-mouth action as defenders ruled the roost and the tie turned into a midfield battle. Straffan did create a chance in the 64th minute when Rob Stanley crossed low for McCarthy, who knocked the ball into the path of Gordon McCrea. McCrea’s first touch let him down however and keeper Donie Byrne saved comfortably.
It looked as if the game was heading for extra time but in the eighty-fifth minute Celtic netted the winner and booked their place in the last 16 when substitute Tom Hickey lobbed John Lazenby’s ball into the box over the outrushing Straffan ‘keeper Aaron Guthrie.
Straffan’s last chance to save the game fell to McCarthy who brought a stunning tip over from a twenty-five yard drive from visiting ‘keeper Byrne. The Lodge Park side now have to content themselves with a place in round one of the League Shield while Moone will be rubbing shoulders with the big guns in the fourth round of the League’s blue riband competition.
Moone Celtic: Donie Byrne, Kevin Anthony, MJ Kane, Niall Hickey, Aaron McMahon, Eric Mackey, Niall Shaughnessy, Sean Kane, Emmet Daly, John Lazenby, Mick Barrett. Subs: Tom Hickey (for Mackey 46), Richie Browne, Mick Clowery (for Kane 31), Anthony Hogarty.
Straffan AFC: Aaron Guthrie, Lee Drury, Richard Smith, Adrian Wasson, Stephen McCormack, Gordon McCrea, Robert Stanley, Tom Burke, Vinny McCarthy, Conor Murphy, Shane McNamara. Subs: Jonathan Carberry (for Burke 62) Ian Fox, Stephen Kane, Cathal Conlon (for McCormack 89), Joey Stanley (for Murphy 62).
Referee: Alvin Ryan.