My reaction to today’s West Cork League Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup final between Drinagh Rangers and Skibbereen.
By Ger McCarthy
A sleeping giant shows signs of awakening
Skibbereen’s fall from grace, once one of the West Cork League’s perennial Premier Division title challengers to struggling at the wrong end of the Division 1 table, represents one of the saddest storylines in local football.
Yet, the Baltimore Road club showed enough guts and no little amount of skill in pushing Premier Division opponents and long time rivals Drinagh all the way in Sunday’s Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup decider to suggest there is life in one of the West Cork League’s most famous clubs.
There is enough experience amongst the likes of JP Reen, James Reen and John Hodnett plus the emerging talent of Cian Coughlan to build Skibbereen’s future on.
Yes, new blood is definitely needed but Skibbereen AFC showed with the right attitude and application that they are capable of getting back to the West Cork League’s top tier.
Skibbereen AFC’s proud football dynasty demands they should be competing amongst the region’s elite. Reorganising and recruiting make this coming off-season one of the most important in the Baltimore Road club’s history.
Same old Drinagh, always winning
The sight of Drinagh captain Keith Jagoe holding aloft the Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup was a timely reminder of the Canon Crowley Park side’s prowess heading towards their upcoming Beamish Cup final at Turner’s Cross.
In a season their Premier Division title hopes were crushed by local rivals Dunmanway Town, Drinagh showed they could still grind out a cup final victory rather than rely on their usual finesse.
Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Gearoid White were both guilty of squandering multiple chances they’d normally convert.
Yet, Drinagh still managed to score the all important winner and then defend it superbly despite Skibbereen’s late onslaught before deservedly holding aloft a trophy that had previously eluded them.
What Easter Sunday’s victory showed more than anything else is that there is much work to be done ahead of their Beamish Cup decider against a younger, faster, more clinical Bantry Bay Rovers.
That will suit co-managers Don Hurley and Declan Deasy perfectly however and their experienced squad know the hard work starts this week if they are to add another trophy to the cabinet.
West Cork League football in a healthy state
It was refreshing to see a large crowd at Mohona on Easter Sunday for the final of a competition that rarely attracts such interest.
Drinagh and Skibbereen supporters in attendance were treated to a tough, hard-fought encounter full of goalmouth incidents and plenty of debatable decisions.
That’s what West Cork League football is all about though. Controversial decisions as important as results, points and trophies down this neck of the woods.
Plenty of skill on display too with Rangers’ Keith Jagoe, Barry O’Driscoll (H), Robert O’Regan and Gearoid White underlining their credentials as some of the Premier Division’s top players.
Skibbereen’s James Reen was a rock at the back while JP Reen, Cian Coughlan and John Hodnett underlined the capabilities in an engaging final.
Hopefully, more football fans will continue to take advantage of the fact they have such a talented league on their doorsteps and make an effort to support their local clubs.