Woodview Celtic booked their place in the 3rd round of the Leinster Senior Cup with a deserved 3-1 victory over AUL side Sheriff YC at Glenmuir Park on Thursday evening.
Gavin McKeever’s side were full value for their victory. The MDL champions started on the front foot and took the lead after just quarter of an hour thanks to Stephen Grimes, who controlled the midfield throughout.
Sheriff hit back four minutes later when a comedy of errors in the Woodview defence allowed Dylan Darcy to equalise. The Dundalk side, though, responded brilliantly and they should have been well ahead at the break with Billy Smith’s 43rd minute finish all that they had to show for their dominance of the remainder of the half.
Colin Finan’s deflected 57th minute effort looked to have put the tie beyond the Dubliners but Sheriff rallied and it took a stubborn display by the home side to see it out.
With influential defender Chris Caulfield absent, McKeever was forced to reshuffle his side. Mickey O’Kane reverted to the centre of defence alongside Conor McErlean.
The Sheriff side didn’t contain any of the players who led them to the AUL Premier Division title last season but there were some familiar faces to people who would have kept an eye on the underage set-up at Dundalk FC in recent years.
Christopher Reilly, who made a handful of appearances for the first-team in 2011, started wide right - up against a former Dundalk team-mate in Nathan Murphy - while Carlos Donovan, who caused Woodview a host of problems in the second-half, was a part of Dundalk’s U19 side in 2012.
McKeever stressed the importance of a good start and his side took his instructions on board as they pressed in the opening few minutes.
It was Sheriff, though, that had the first sighting of goal when Dane Black broke the offside trap in the 6th minute only to see his effort blocked by Padraig Gorham, who was quick to spring from his line.
The home side began to make inroads into the Sheriff back line and Smith let fly with a half volley that Robert Fitzsimons gathered without too much difficulty.
The Sheriff net minder was left rooted to his spot in the 15th minute as Woodview took the lead. Ray McCann’s free-kick from just inside his own half found the head of Grimes and he directed a fantastic header past Fitzsimons from close to 18-yards.
Woodview continued to ask all the questions and a vicious cross by the excellent Owen Armstrong deserved to be put away just two minutes later before an excellent spell of first touch football ended with Fisher’s shot deflected wide of the upright.
Few would have predicted an equaliser from the resulting corner but, after Murphy fluffed a half-volley outside the box, Sheriff broke and Lee Boyle scarpered around the hesitant Gorham to pull the ball back for Dylan Darcy to stab home.
The goal came very much against the run of play but Woodview didn’t let the heads drop and Fisher saw a curling effort tipped over after cutting in from the left.
The MDL side went close again on the half hour mark. Armstrong’s clipped ball in from the left was met by the head of O’Kane but the Woodview skipper saw his glancing effort creep just wide of the post.
It looked like the sides would go in level at the break but Woodview got the goal that their first-half display justified in the 43rd minute when Smith showed great composure to slot home after Adam McGuirk made a complete mess of trying to cut out Murphy’s cross.
Sensing that the tie was in their control, Woodview opened the second-half with intent and Colin Finan tested Fitzsimons in the opening minute before Armstrong saw a deflected attempt go agonisingly past the upright in the 49th minute.
Woodview’s luck was in eight minutes later, however, as they went 3-1 ahead when Finan’s effort spun off substitute Garry Sullivan’s leg to leave Fitzsimons flat-footed and helpless.
Sheriff rallied and with Donovan causing plenty of headaches on the right-wing, they created a number of half chances with Lee Boyle forcing Gorham into a good stop on the hour mark.
The unmarked Darcy then headed over from a corner before a Donovan cross into the six-yard box just evaded those in green and white shirts.
Woodview stood firm with substitute Derek McCabe impressing alongside O’Kane and McErlean in the latter stages although the home side were fortunate to escape in the 83rd minute when Darcy and substitute James White both had attempts to scramble home from close range. Luckily for Woodview, Gorham was on hand to hack the ball clear.
A lengthy bout of injury time followed but Woodview saw the game out comfortably to claim a big scalp, leaving them just one win away from a potential clash against League of Ireland opposition, including Dundalk FC, in the 4th round.
WOODVIEW CELTIC: Padraig Gorham; Ray McCann (Tommy O’Hare 87), Conor McErlean, Mickey O’Kane, Nathan Murphy; Owen Armstrong, Stephen Grimes, Colin Finan (Barry Carr 77), Johnny Lynch, Stephen Fisher; Billy Smith (Derek McCabe 70). Unused subs: Kurt Murphy, Paul Gartland, Padraig Hearty.