THERE WAS no room for FA Cup romance for Derry footballers plying their trade cross-Channel this weekend with all three representatives dumped out at the fifth round stage.
Republic of Ireland internationals, James McClean (West Brom), Shane Duffy (Blackburn) and Eunan O’Kane (Bournemouth) all suffered heartache at the weekend while there was no place in the Everton team for midfielder, Darron Gibson as the ‘Toffees’ progressed to the quarter-finals.
Galliagh man, Duffy captained his Blackburn Rovers side against Premiership club, West Ham at Ewood Park on Sunday.
However, there was to be no upset on the cards with the ‘Hammers’ punishing Rovers after Chris Taylor received his marching orders with the home side 2-1 down.
And the London club, inspired by a virtuoso performance from Dimitri Payet who netted a brace of goals, cruised to a 5-1 victory.
Duffy, who netted his first goal for the club against Fulham last week, praised the Rovers’ supporters on Twitter and claimed the sending off changed the game.
“Tough one to take [sic] 10 men killed us but no doubt they have some top quality players, fans brilliant today, now focus on the league [sic].”
No dream Final for McClean
Meanwhile James McClean’s cup dream ended at the hands of Championship side, Reading who came from behind to win 3-1 comfortably and reach the FA Cup quarter-finals at the expense of their Premier League rivals.
And that result will certainly have pleased his fiancée, Erin who has booked their wedding date for May 20th next - the day before the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
Creggan man, McClean, took to his Twitter account to condemn the actions of a West Brom supporter who hit Chris Brunt with a coin after the game.
“Everyone right to be upset todays [sic] result, but to throw a coin at any player, esp [sic] one who has played over 300 games for the club and hide not having the decency to own up is just cowardly.”
O’Kane loses out to former club
Banagher’s Eunan O’Kane had an opportunity to get one over his old club, Everton who released him as a youth for being ‘too small’ seven years ago at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
O’Kane had started every FA Cup game for his club, but there was to be no fairytale ending for the ex-Maiden City Soccer Academy graduate who started the game as Bournemouth missed a first half penalty before goals from Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku sealed the ‘Toffees’ place in the next round.
Gibson excluded from squad
Unfortunately there was to be no place in the Everton squad for Hazelbank native, Darron Gibson who will be hoping for some game-time before Republic of Ireland boss, Martin O’Neill finalises his squad for the Euros.
And that must be regarded as an ominous sign for Gibson’s Euro chances as his only appearances in 2016 have come in the FA Cup.