Castletown into semi-finals

This is a recent Southern Star match report outlining how Division 2 side Castletown Celtic overcame loscal rivals and 2016 Premier League champions Riverside Athletic to reach the last four of the West Cork League Beamish Cup – Ger McCarthy.



Ger McCarthy reports

Castletown Celtic knocked local rivals Riverside Athletic out of the West Cork League Beamish Cup following an absorbing quarter-final in Castletownkenneigh.

Celtic joined fellow Division 2 side Clonakilty Town plus the Premier League’s Drinagh Rangers and Bantry Bay Rovers in the last four of the cup having outlasted Riverside at the conclusion of an engaging 90 minutes.

A relieved Castletown Celtic manager Gary Shannon understood the importance of his side’s victory.

‘I’ve been going to watch Castletown Celtic in the Beamish Cup since I was a young fella but 2000 was the last time we won it,’ Shannon said.

‘Every year you’d be hoping to go on a run and our form has been excellent since Christmas. We have yet to lose a game in 2017. It was a gritty performance today in heavy conditions, an honest team effort and we needed it against a very good Riverside team. There are only three of this current Castletown team over 21 so the future looks good and we just have to keep it going

‘In terms of semi-final opponents, well, we owe Clonakilty Town one as they have gotten the better of us over the last few years!’

An eagerly anticipated local derby kicked off with persistent drizzle making life difficult. A terrific opening quarter ensued, beginning with Riverside grabbing the lead from a set-piece delivery that saw Finghín O’Driscoll divert the ball over the line from close-range.

Creditably, Castletown redoubled their efforts and were awarded a penalty when Jack O’Callaghan was upended in the penalty box. Billy O’Brien stepped forward and sent Brian Corcoran the wrong way after 11 minutes.

Celtic should have edged in front two minutes after equalising only for Corcoran to produce an excellent point-blank stop. The Riverside goalkeeper was powerless to stop Fergal Kelleher from hammering home an unstoppable effort on the quarter hour however as a rampant Castletown deservedly moved 2-1 ahead.

The reigning Premier League champions’ best opportunity of an equaliser fell to Stephen Keohane but Gavin O’Leary was equal to the effort, diving full-length to tip away the centre-back’s goal-bound attempt.

A terrific cup tie’s pace remained unrelenting up until half time, a timeframe in which Riverside showed their quality by conjuring up a superb second goal. Rory Baggott’s inch-perfect pass was smashed into the net by Barry O’Mahony to send the sides in level at the break.

Finghín O’Driscoll angled a volley inches past an upright to kick-start the second half with Niall Kelleher and Peter Daly also stretching the Castletown Celtic defence. The Castletownkenneigh playing surface began to cut up badly yet both sides continued to press forward with Castletown having penalty appeals waved away after 66 minutes.

Chances were spurned at either end before Castletown capitalised on Riverside’s inability to clear a routine cross and substitute Kevin O’Donovan pounced to make it 3-2 with 10 minutes to go.

Brian Corcoran produced two excellent saves to keep Athletic in the tie but it was Castletown rather than Riverside who looked the more likely to add to their total as the clock ticked down. Celtic survived a few late scares and wasted a few opportunities of their own before progressing to the cup semi-finals following a famous 3-2 victory.

Castletown Celtic: Gavin O’Leary, Padraigh O’Driscoll, Fergal Kelleher, John Shannon, Sean Buttimer, Stephen Moore, Ted Lordan, Billy O’Brien, Jack O’Callaghan, Niall O’Halloran and Sean Crowley.

Substitutes: James Bermingham, Kevin O’Donovan, Gearoid O’Donovan, Kevin O’Neill and John Horgan.

Riverside Athletic: Brian Corcoran, Kevin O’Donovan, Stephen Keohane, Tiernan O’Driscoll, Rory Baggott, Barry O’Mahony, Rory O’Connor, Michael O’Driscoll, Niall Kelleher, Peter Daly and Finghín O’Driscoll.

Substitutes: Michael Murphy, Shane McCarthy and Gearoid Harrington.

Referee: Richard Bond