Westport United

Founded 1911

Co. Mayo

UNITED AT PEAKE OF THEIR POWERS FOLLOWING SHOOTOUT WIN

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Westport United made the Trip to Tipp to take on regular FAI Junior Cup contenders, Peake Villa in Thurles for the right to reach the quarter final.

It was a tense game with the first half creating little of note and was noted by excellent defending, particularly by the defensive pairing of Joe Lawless and James O'Donnell.

The second half was a little bit more open with David Hoban heading narrowly wide and Philip Keegan coming close on a couple of occasions while Joe Lawless had to make a goal line clearance and Gary Cunningham made a top drawer save but in truth, the main threat on goal came from set pieces rather than open incisive play.

Following a goalless 90 minutes, the game went into extra time but while Peake Villa put pressure on the United defence, they never looked like creating an opening while United were solid and resolute under the cosh. Still, neither side could break the deadlock and it was down to the dreaded penalty shootout.

Darren Browne was up first but his effort went over and United were playing catch up once Peake Villa converted their first penalty. Philip Keegan got United off the mark but Joe Lawless then saw his penalty tipped onto the post by the Peake Villa keeper and the hosts made it 3-1 and looked well and truly poised to advance. The next few minutes was to be one of the greatest turnarounds ever witnessed in a penalty shootout. James O'Donnell closed it to 3-2 but this was the beginning of Gary Cunningham's heroics. Mikey O'Brien made it 3-3 and Gary Cunningham once again denied Peake the opportunity to win the shootout and it was now sudden death. It was now advantage Westport as both Patrick Moran and Brandon Scahill converted their penalties but Peake stayed in the tie with their own replies. Jesper Frisch made it 6-5 and the final act was reserved to Gary Cunningham who beaten away Peake's final penalty to turn a despairing penalty shootout into scenes of pure elation and joy as United advanced to the quarter final for the first time since 2005, and the players were emotionally mobbed by their overjoyed supporters.

The quarter final sees United at home to Aisling Annacotty on March 10th; the last home tie Westport United had in this prestigious competition was back in 1969 and it was a famous 2-1 extra time win against one of the tournament favourites that year, Hoganville, and it's quite fitting that 50 years after that famous triumph, United look forward to a home quarter final.

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