Jonny Sheridan hit a second half winner as ten-man Square United beat Trim Town 3-2 at the Boys School Field in Ardee on Sunday – despite playing over 40 minutes of football with ten men.
Brian Corcoran’s first half double put Square in control but Trim hit back with goals either side of half time to level. Paudy Clarke was shown a second yellow card by referee Conor Byrne seven minutes after the restart but despite the numerical disadvantage, Sheridan’s 75th minute winner sealed a first league win since September.
After a blistering start to the season – in which Square secured seven points from their first nine available – a run of six defeats in seventh sent them tumbling down to eighth in the ten team division. Today’s win under trying circumstances will come as a considerable boost as United look to climb into the relative safety of mid-table.
The visitors did go close early on before Corcoran’s opener. Darren MacNeill fouled Dominic Peppard and Ian Keenan’s free kick clipped the bottom of the post. Keenan then squared across goal and Josh Balogun curled his shot over.
Just seven minutes were on the clock when Corcoran put Square in front. He slotted the ball under goalkeeper Alan Carey who might consider himself unlucky to see the ball bounce under his body and squirm in. It was almost two when Alan Kirk controlled Aaron Kerley’s cross but his shot was straight at the onrushing stopper.
Keenan curled a free kick just wide in response but Square hit the front at the midway point of the first half. Kerley latched onto Evan Farrell’s free kick and he forced a corner from Trim full back Ger Murphy. From Clarke’s left wing delivery, Corcoran rose highest to score his second goal of the game and the season.
While the home team were in control on the scoresheet, they weren’t exerting such dominance in the game. Trim were better and Square needed timely interceptions from Stefan Halpenny and Jamie Rooney to preserve their advantage. Farrell was well behind Eric McCormack’s drilled effort.
Trim’s first arrived 10 minutes before the break and Square were left ruing a cheap concession. Farrell’s goalkick went straight to a Trim man and after Clarke couldn’t clear, Keenan arrowed a superb effort across the goalkeeper and in. Peppard shot wide soon after as Town finished the first half in the ascendancy.
The way the game was going, Square players might have felt they would have to score three times for the first time this season to ensure they returned to winning ways. Just as they ended the first, Trim pressed heavily in the second half and were boosted when Clarke saw second yellow and then red.
Referee Byrne gave him his marching orders for dissent, leaving Square with just ten men for 40 minutes of play. There were words – mostly unrepeatable exchanged – as the left footer exited the field of play. Trim went close as Farrell was forced to make a fine save from Ger Murphy and at the other end, Sheridan met Kirk’s corner and flashed a header just wide of the far post.
Andrew Egan hit the post shortly before Keenan levelled. He took a touch and slotted in after Peppard’s ball in. Howver, in fairness to the home team, they fought hard and remained in the game after the sending off despite Trim’s equaliser.
Kirk danced past three Trim players but Carey was behind his shot and then sub Mark Quinn headed wide from Kirk’s free kick. The winger stood up a cross for Corcoran who saw his header tipped over. Their winner arrived with a quarter of an hour to play.
Jamie Rooney’s diagnonal ball found Quinn, who nodded down to Egan. The ball arrived at Sheridan’s feet and he fired in an effort that Carey could get nowhere near. Sheridan now has three goals to his name this term – all three arriving in Square league wins.
There was still time for Joey Somerville to blaze over late on. A cross was dug out from the corner flag and he opened up his body just yards from goal and put his chance well over the Square crossbar. Substitute Cian Halpenny, who slotted in the left back slot vacated by Clarke, was particularly impressive as the clock ticked down.
Keenan was booked for a dive in the Square area with minutes to play. Despite six minutes of added on time played, the Ardee side clung on for a crucial victory.
SQUARE UNITED: Evan Farrell, Killian Murray, Stefan Halpenny, Jamie Rooney, Paudy Clarke, Darren McNeill (Cian Halpenny, 65), Jonny Sheridan, Andrew Egan, Alan Kirk, Aaron Kerley (Mark Quinn, 50), Brian Corcoran (Benny Curtis, 80).
TRIM TOWN: Alan Carey, Ger Murphy (Kevin Holmes, 69), Tommy Boyle, Eric McCormack, Joey Sommerville, Cormac Joyce, Martin Costello, Dominic Peppard, Ian Keenan, Joseph Balogun, Josh Balogun.
Sub Not Used: Kalvin Tuohy