The following 2012 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U14 Cup final match report was published in the Southern Star. Skibbereen and Clonakilty AFC produced an entertaining final in which the Baltimore Road club eventually triumphed. Enjoy. – Ger McCarthy.
Clonakilty AFC 1
GER MCCARTHY REPORTS
Skibbereen proved too strong for Clonakilty AFC to capture the 2012 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U14 Cup in Canon Crowley Park .
The dream of a SuperValu WCSL U14 League and Cup double remains very much alive for Skibbereen following their weekend triumph over Clonakilty AFC. The Baltimore Road club has endured a difficult couple of weeks at junior level but last weekend’s success restored faith in the club’s future with the U14 squad capturing some much needed silverware and remain firmly in the driving seat for this year’s Premier League crown.
A talented Clonakilty AFC side battled bravely throughout but eventually succumbed to two late goals after Skibbereen had wasted a multitude of earlier chances.
Skibbereen began the Cup decider at a blistering pace on the pristine Drinagh playing surface on an afternoon dotted with heavy April showers. Ryan Doonan produced two terrific saves in as many minutes to deny Cian Coughlan before the Clonakilty AFC defence was forced to hack a Hugh O’Neill effort away from danger.
The Ballyvackey club survived a torrid opening period before a Chris Collins free-kick caused momentary panic in the Skibbereen box. The Baltimore Road club continued to boss possession however with Ryan Foley, Hugh O’Neill and Gavin Johnston surging forward at the earliest opportunity. Play became scrappy for a time with Clonakilty AFC finally closing down the Skibb midfield and looking to release their pacy frontline of Matthew Jennings and Oisin O’Brion and Jason O’Donovan.
The Baltimore Road club carved out the best opening of an engaging first half after 16 minutes when Gavin Johnston sent a rocket soaring towards the top corner only for Ryan Doonan to pull off a world class save.
Skibb continued to press and Doonan was called upon once again to deny Cian Coughlan with a brave stop before a succession of corners somehow failed to deliver a goal for a rampant Skibb side. Ryan Doonan continued to excel between the sticks for Clonakilty AFC and yet another brave save prevented Cian Coughlan from a certain opener in the 23rd minute.
ChrisCollins responded with a free-kick for Clon that brought the best out of Sean Minihane at the other end but it was a rare shot on target for the Ballyvackey club who spent most of the first half on the back foot.
Despite their dominance Skibbereen squandered a plethora of chances during the opening 35 minutes and were it not for the brilliance of Clonakilty goalkeeper Doonan would have easily been two or three ahead at the break. Instead, the sides changed ends tied at 0-0 with Clonakilty’s heroic defensive efforts keeping the Ballyvackey side in contention.
The turning point of the U14 Cup final arrived 3 minutes into the second half. Skibbereen forced yet another corner and the resulting in-swinger took a wicked deflection off a Clonakilty player’s head before flying into the net.
Skibbereen made a fatal error of switching off having grabbed the lead and Clonakilty AFC were awarded a penalty when Matthew Jennings was fouled in the box a minute after conceding the opening goal. Olan O’Donovan stepped forward and calmly slotted the ball into the net to tie the score at 1-1.
As the excitment grew the large crowd in attendance barely had time to draw breath when Dylan Hourihane saw his goalbound effort saved by Ryan Doonan. Gavin Johnston was on hand to hammer home the rebound from the narrowest of angles and restore Skibbereen’s lead much to the delight of the Baltimore Road club’s supporters.
Clonakilty looked crestfallen at the concession of that second goal and were powerless to prevent Ryan Foley from racing through to make it 3-1 with a powerful shot 12 minutes from the end.
Skibbereen were content to pepper the Clonakilty goal from long range for the remainder of the final with Clonakilty AFC commendably refusing to accept defeat and pressing high up the pitch in search of a late consolation effort.
Both sides emptied their substitute’s bench in the final minutes making for a scrappy ending before Skibbereen ran out merited 3-1 winners to lift the SuperValu WCSL U14 Cup trophy for the first time since 2009.
Ryan Doonan was the pick of Clonakilty AFC’s best performers but was ably assisted by Olan O’Donovan, Liam O’Connor, David Jennings and Oisin O’Brion. Best for Skibbereen included Hugh O’Neill, Cian Coughlan, Eoin Fitzgerald and Sean O’Reilly.
SuperValu Man of the Match: Ryan Doonan of Clonakilty AFC.
Clonakilty AFC: Chris Collins, Noel Creedon, Ryan Doonan, Conor Frost, Joe Hughes, David Jennings, Mathew Jennings, Oisin O’Brion, Liam O’Connor, Jason O’Donovan, Olan O’ Donovan, Dylan O’Halloran, Michael O ‘Mahony, Padraig O’Rian, Shane Tanner, Peter Whelton and Michael O’Mahony. Coaches: Lorne Edmeade and Tony Blinston.
Skibbereen: Cian Coughlan, Eoin Fitzgerald, Ryan Foley, Dylan Hourihane, Gavin Johnston, Cal Keane, Dan Lynch, Paul Minihane, Sean Minihane, Killian Murray, Eoghan O’Connell, Peter O’Driscoll, Shane O’Driscoll, Hugh O’Neill, Sean O’Reilly and James O’Sullivan. Coaches: Gene Hourihane, Shane O’Neill and Patrick Murray.
Referee: John Corcoran – Assistant Referees: Les Wilcox and Richie Collins