Ahern's late exorcet blasts out big guns

 

Cork C of I, exhilarating trophy winners in 1998, were the most prestigious side to be eliminated from the third round of the Irish Senior Cup on Saturday - sunk by a John Ahern exorcet in extra time as Harlequins survived the local derby at Farmer's Cross.

Spurred by the largest attendance of the day, the Cork match was a cracker. C of I led at half-time through Alastair Dunne from a short corner, but John Hobbs equalised and the storming Paul Lombard gave Harlequins the lead before Karl Burns kept the game very much alive in converting a penalty stroke.

In the 81st minute, however, Eddie Gash delivered a cross for Ahern to net what proved to be the winner as Philip Chambers excelled in the home defence and Wesley Bateman kept out a second stroke from Burns.

Without the anxiety that had been predicted in media circles, last season's finalists, holders Pembroke Wanderers and Lisnagarvey, came through with some panache, beating Corinthians and Annadale, 5-1 and 63, respectively.

Indeed, Pembroke sliced through the home side's cover as deftly as Corinthians' founder member Paul O'Reilly cut his 90th birthday cake at half-time at Whitechurch Park. The irony was the quicker moving visitors were three up at that stage, with Justin Sherriff driving on to complete a habitual hat-trick as well as sending his equally menacing partner Gordon Elliott darting clear for the fifth goal.

The precision of Pembroke's channelling had yielded the lead as early as the 15th minute when Allan Kershaw gave Alan Giles ample space to score.

Corinthians had threatened briefly at the start. They were fielding six Australians and their most polished figure, Mike McKillip from Zimbabwe, but Paudie Carley and Colin Kelly stood their ground defiantly in subduing the southern hemisphere diaspora. In the end, it was substitute Mark Magnier from Kilkenny who again put away the only reply.

Lisnagarvey, with Mark Tumilty to the fore, also led 3-0 at the interval and 5-1 at a later stage at Blaris. Among other notable Ulster sides to advance were Instonians, for whom Mark Irwin notched a hat-trick against Three Rock Rovers, and Banbridge who, with David McAnulty striking five times, were merciless in defeating Parkview, 10-0.

Leinster, though, have such respectable representatives still standing as Glenanne, Monks town and YMCA. Glenanne travelled with some abandon to Ballincollig where they leaked the lead and then two goals at the finish to Belvedere before winning 5-3, with John Goulding being another of the day's hat-trick takers.

Another was Jason Milne for YMCA in a 5-0 win over the RUC at Palace Barracks. David Jenkins fired Monkstown ahead in the opening minute as they went on to hit Cliftonville for six at Rathdown.

David Bane ensured Aer Lingus went though 3-1 against Raphoe, while Christian Judd scored the decisive goal in Trinity's 3-2 defeat of Catholic Institute at Santry, leaving Harlequins to motor on alone for Munster.