'Pristine' Lawlor a city slicker
Bury boss praises Ireland Under-21 star after Cup heroics
Bury boss David Flitcroft was full of praise for the seasoned display given by Ireland Under-21 goalkeeper Ian Lawlor, whose saves in a penalty shootout took the Shakers into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Lawlor saved Bradford's second and fourth penalties, with Bury forced to defend bravely for more than 50 minutes plus extra time with 10 men in a third-round replay that was goalless after 120 minutes.
The Manchester City trainee, on loan at Bury until the end of the season, had already kept his side in the hunt with several saves, as Bradford failed to make the most of Shakers captain Nathan Cameron being sent off after 39 minutes.
"The first (penalty) save was immaculate," Flitcroft said. "It set the tone - outstanding.
"Steve Parkin the (Bradford) assistant manager came over and said, 'Wow, the way he managed the game' - he looked like a seasoned pro.
"His overall performance was pristine."
Lawlor honed his skills at Home Farm before joining City's youth set-up in 2010.
The 21-year-old Dubliner turned professional in 2012 and has competed alongside Angus Gunn and Eirik Johansen for the goalkeeper's jersey in the club's under-21 side.
He joined Barnet on an emergency loan in December 2015, with injuries to Jamie Stephens and Graham Stack leaving the Bees with no senior keepers.
He made his debut in an away game against Yeovil Town. Lawlor completed his loan spell at Barnet after five games and lwent on to join Bury this month until the end of the season.
Lawlor has also represented Ireland throughout youth level and in 2014, he was called up to the senior squad following an injury to Rob Elliot, appearing on the bench for friendlies against Costa Rica and Portugal.
Bury had to survive several Bradford chances, as the hosts struck the woodwork on more than one occasion, but in the end, a 4-2 win on penalties proved enough to set up a fourth-round clash against Championship side Hull City.
"It was a performance full of character," Flitcroft said. "We had to sit deep, look to counter, and grab something. Once we got to the last half hour I felt I could sniff penalties.
"They stood firm - character, resilience, everything you want from a team. "(Cameron is) a young player. I said to him at half-time, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. It will make him stronger.
"Cam will grow and get better and develop. In football you get kicks but you get back up. Nobody ever goes through a career without going through bad times."