A special day for West Cork football

By Ger McCarthy

Last weekend saw Cork City FC’s home ground of Turner’s Cross host a West Cork League Beamish Cup final for the very first time. Here, Ger McCarthy reflects on an important day for football in the West Cork region as well as the West Cork Schoolboys League’s continuing rise in popularity and a cracking U14 Cup decider at the same venue.

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Irrespective of the result, last weekend’s SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League U14 Cup decider and West Cork League Beamish Cup final showcased all that is good about football in the west Cork region.

The curtain-raiser between Ardfield and Skibbereen’s U14’s lived up to its pre-match billing with a terrific final involving thirteen Kennedy Cup squad members entertaining supporters over 70 engaging minutes.

Skibbereen’s clinical finishing proved the difference in the end, the Baltimore Road club securing a 3-1 victory plus U14 league and cup double, yet Ardfield showed why their young squad has a bright future ahead of them.

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Drinagh dominated the second half of Sunday’s Beamish Cup final yet Bantry Bay Rovers proved more than match for their opponents for much of the opening half. An inability to convert the two half-chances that came their way ultimately cost an up and coming Bay team on a day Rangers underlined their status as one of the most powerful teams in the region.

A 4-0 victory was richly deserved for a Drinagh side accustomed to taking their opportunities in cup finals over the past decade. Keith Jagoe (below) and Robert O’Regan were outstanding in the centre of the pitch and ably assisted by a livewire attack in which Gearoid White, Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Gavin Beamish shone.

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For their part and despite the loss, there is no doubt that Bay Rovers will bounce back. One or two seasons plying their trade in Division 1 will help a youthful Rovers squad find their feet once again before a quick return to the top tier of West Cork League football.

Bantry Bay Rovers could have little argument with the Beamish Cup final’s outcome though and will be disappointed at having conceded three of their four goals from set pieces. Clearly, Drinagh had their homework done and exploited a weakness in their opponents rearguard to maximum effect.

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Whilst goalscorers Barry O’Driscoll (H), Barry O’Driscoll (T), JJ Hurley and Keith Jagoe will naturally attract plenty of newspaper headlines, it is Drinagh’s defensive division that anchored the second of possibly three cup successes in 2017 for the Canon Crowley Park outfit.

Stand-in goalkeeper Rob Oldham kept a clean sheet and proved a safe pair of hands throughout the cup decider in the absence of injured Liam Cahalane. Yet, it was JJ Hurley, Barry O’Driscoll (T), JJ Collins and Darren Beamish’s composed defending that prevented a young Bay Rovers attack from finding the net.

Keith Jagoe and Robert O’Regan’s ability to shield their back four ensured there would be no Bantry Bay comeback.

Rangers are often lauded for their ability to score from multiple areas of the pitch but an experienced defence was just as important in Drinagh’s 2017 Beamish Cup success.

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Beamish Cup Final Teams

Drinagh Rangers: Robert Oldham, JJ Hurley, JJ Collins, Barry O’Driscoll (T), Darren Beamish, Robert O’Regan, Tomas Connolly, Gavin Beamish, Gearoid White, Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Keith Jagoe (captain).

Substitutes: Jamie Walsh, Shane Connolly, Adrian O’Driscoll, Stephen Crowley, Daniel McCarthy and Paraic White.

Bantry Bay Rovers: Donal Casey, Daniel Murray, Paul Drummey, Martin Hurley, Jamie McSweeney, David Daly, Brian Donovan (captain), Shane Drummey, Eoghan McElhinney, Gavin Johnson and Shane McSweeney.

Substitutes: Ciarán McElhinney, Shane Murray, Ricky Peters, Shaun O’Sullivan and Ross Leahy.

Referee: Paul McDermott. Assistant Referees: John Corcoran and Shane O’Neill. Fourth Official: Martin Coakley.

 

Retro- 2012 WCSL U14 Cup Final

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.

SouthernStar
Clonakilty AFC 1
Skibbereen 3
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

TURNING POINT
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.

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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.

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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

Conor Hourihane always a hit back home

This article is an interview I conducted with new Aston Villa signing Conor Hourihane back in 2012 when the West Cork native was on brief trip home and took time to present medals to West Cork Schoolboys League club Lyre Rovers.

Hourihane was the consumate pro, patiently taking time to speak to each of the individual award winners and giving ample time to a local sports jounro.

Enjoy.
Ger McCarthy

 

SouthernStar

 

CONOR HOURIHANE GUEST OF HONOUR AT LYRE ROVERS
GER MCCARTHY REPORTS

Plymouth Argyle Captain and U21 Republic of Ireland international Conor Hourihane was in West Cork this past weekend to present members of Lyre Rovers Schoolboys and Schoolgirls with medals at the club’s end of season get-together.

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MC for the afternoon and U14 Club Coach Sean Moroney introduced the various award winners before a large gathering at the West Cork club’s superb playing facilities in Lyre. Bandon-born Hourihane proved a big hit with Rovers youngest club members by patiently posing for any photograph requests and offering sound advice about the sacrifices he has made to become a professional footballer in England.

This time of year generally means pre-season for pro footballers like Conor so is he looking forward to the inevitable slog in the coming weeks and months? “Just the thought of pre-season is the worst thing about it to be honest! Some people think I’m crazy but I’m genuinely looking forward to getting back to it next week! You’d see some lads getting sick on the sidelines after the long runs alright. Long tough days of running in the morning, swimming in the afternoon and then weights in the late evening but it is all part of the life of a professional footballer”.

The Bandon native made the tough decision to leave home at the age of 16 and go across the water where spells with Sunderland and Ipswich Town eventually saw the classy midfielder sign on the dotted line for League 2 strugglers Plymouth in the hope of regular first team football.

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Argyle’s well documented off-field woes are now firmly behind them having avoided relegation at the end of last season New manager and former Irish international John Sheridan taking over means Conor sees no reason why the coming season cannot be a profitable one for his club. “John (Sheridan) has been fantastic since he’s come in. He arrived with sixteen games to go and our league form in the second half of the campaign improved to the fifth best in the division.  I know the Boss is anxious to add five or six new players to bolster the first-team squad and has added a couple of new faces already. We’ll be hoping to finish mid-table at least because the last two years have been tough battling it out at the bottom and fighting relegation hopefully this season will see a bug improvement”.

Plymouth obviously thinks very highly of their dedicated, ultra-professional and determined Irishman as Conor took over the Captaincy of the club from Darren Purse midway through the previous season and has retained the armband for the upcoming campaign. “You definitely need lucky breaks in your career and Darren Purse was Plymouth’s previous club Captain but left the club and I was handed the armband. These are the types of breaks you need and luckily enough I’ve done quite well since taking on the role and have retained the captaincy”.

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When asked if there are extra responsibilities that come with being the club’s Captain the 22-year old delivers an honest answer and that belies his young age. “Well there are the extra media requests and also sorting out the match tickets on the morning of a game. I get 70 or 80 tickets early in the morning and have to sort out all the requests from the entire squad. Another thing is the fact that the two opposing captains from each team meet up with the referee about half an hour before the game for 10 minutes and he tells us what he expects of the two teams and gets to know us so he can call upon us during the game if needs be”.

“Another responsibility that falls on my shoulders is organising any of the few nights out during the season and having to go to the manager on the squad’s behalf to get permission! At 22 though it is a great feeling to the club captain and I love every minute of it”.

Conor began his football career playing for Bandon AFC, Douglas Hall and then the Corks Schoolboys League so any advice for the hundreds of children who tog out year after year in the SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls Leagues? “It takes a lot of dedication to make it to the very top. I can’t tell you the amount of hours I have put in by myself during the off-season. It takes all those extra hours in the gym, running on my own as there is a lot more to it than just attending regular training sessions and playing on the Saturday”.

“It takes a lot of self-belief and commitment, working hard and sometimes staying on an extra half an hour or hour after your regular training to improve on the different elements of your game. Nowadays the West Cork Schoolboys League is getting bigger and better so there is no need to move on too quickly so just be committed to everything you do and your game will improve”.

Conor Hourihane proved a big hit at Lyre Rovers this past weekend but his dedication to his craft, steely determination and self-belief means we are going to hear a lot more about this classy midfielder in the coming years.

Retro – 2012 U12 League Final

The following SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U12 Premier League final match report was published in the Evening Echo on Tuesday May 22nd 2012.

Bantry Bay Rovers U12 kicked-off needing a draw to claim a League and Cup ‘double’ while their opponents, Lyre Rovers, required a victory to deny the Kealkil club the trophy.

Enjoy. – Ger McCarthy.

EveningEcho

DATE OF MATCH: Thursday 18th May 2012
VENUE: Lyre, West Cork
FINAL SCORE: Lyre Rovers 1 Bantry Bay Rovers 2

Bantry Bay Rovers completed a SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U12 League and Cup double following a 2-1 victory away to Lyre Rovers last week.

The final SuperValu U12 Premier League fixture of the 2012 season saw leaders Bantry Bay Rovers facing second placed Lyre Rovers with the Kealkil club needing only a point to claim the title. A large crowd attended the eagerly anticipated matchup between the top two sides in the U12 age-grade with home side, Lyre Rovers, quickly into their stride.

Shane Murray’s excellent positioning helped Bantry repel Lyre’s early attacks and the visitors grabbed a 7th minute lead through an opportunistic free-kick from the young defender.

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Lyre were caught napping as Murray’s long range strike found the back of the net despite a crowded penalty box meaning the home side now needed to score twice to claim the championship.

Christian Buttimer, Ciarán Nyhan and Brian O’Donovan were instrumental in hauling the home side back into the match and a period of sustained pressure eventually reaped dividends. Brian O’Donovan latched onto a poor Bay clearance from a corner and although his initial effort was blocked, Christian Buttimer made no mistake from the rebound by drilling a low shot beyond Thomas Flynn to level the score at 1-1.

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Lyre failed to capitalise on that equaliser with a succession of attacks floundering in the final third due to some wayward passing and finishing.

Bay Rovers assumed control of the match either side of the interval with Ryan O’Sullivan, Darragh McElhinney and Sean O’Sullivan’s influence forcing their opponents to defend deep.

Lyre’s Brian Deasy hacked off his own line before Bantry’s persistence produced a second and match-winning goal. Sean O’Sullivan gained possession deep in Rovers territory and was able to pick out Darragh McElhinney inside the Lyre penalty area. The young midfielder evaded a challenge before crashing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

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The visitors should have added to their total shortly afterwards but were denied by a marvellous Colm O’Donovan save and yet another Brian Deasy goal line clearance. Lyre pressed hard for a way back into the game only to encounter a well-organised Bay Rovers defence who firmly shut the door on a comeback with some terrific defending.

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There were scenes of wild celebrations at the final whistle with Bantry Bay Rovers players and supporters celebrating a SuperValu WCSL League and Cup triumph. WCSL Fixtures Secretary Richie Collins presented the Kealkil club with their league trophy to conclude another memorable U12 season.

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SuperValu Man of the Match: Darragh McElhinney of Bantry Bay Rovers

Lyre Rovers: Colm O’Donovan, Ciaran O’Neill, Jamie O’Donovan, Jamie Santry, Brian Deasy (Captain), Killian O’Driscoll, Ronan McCarthy, Thomas Palmer, Ciarán Nyhan, Brian O’Donovan, Christian Buttimer Cian O’Donoghue, Cathal Dineen, Padraigh Cullinane, Michael O’Brien and Connor Hurley.

Bantry Bay Rovers: Patrick Barry, Shane Buckley, Dylan Clifford, James Crowley, John Endersen, Thomas Flynn (Captain), Rudi Gaffney, Darragh McElhinney, Sebastian Milanowski, Shane Murray, Timothy O’Driscoll, David O’Sullivan, Ryan O’Sullivan, Sean O’Sullivan, Kuba Ratajczak and Botond Rózsa.

Referee: Paul McDermott (WCSL)

Retro- 2013 Schoolgirls Cup Final

The following SuperValu West Cork Schoolgirls Cup final match report was published in the Southern Star on Thursday March 23rd 2014.

It featured a Lyre Rovers team chasing a Schoolgirls League and Cup ‘double’ plus a talented Riverside Athletic squad eager to claim the prestigious  trophy. Enjoy. – Ger McCarthy.

 

SouthernStar

 

LYRE ROVERS 1
RIVERSIDE ATHLETIC 0

A solitary Aoife Barry goal proved enough for Lyre Rovers to win the SuperValu West Cork Schoolgirls U16 Cup at the expense of a gallant Riverside Athletic at Canon Crowley Park last Monday.

Riverside bossed the opening exchanges and forced the Lyre defence into a succession of hurried clearances thanks to Sinead Caulfield and Rochelle Scannell’s hard work.

Rovers took their time to settle but could have grabbed a 4th minute lead when a Mary Jo Williams turn and pass found an unmarked Aoife Barry on the edge of the 6-yard box. Only the quick reactions of Ciara Whyte prevented Barry from netting a certain opener and the Riverside goalkeeper produced another important stop 2 minutes later to deny Williams at the near post.

Muireann O’Driscoll and Samantha Shorthall’s committed defending repelled Lyre’s early advances and Riverside were relieved to see a Melissa Wilson free-kick fly narrowly wide of the target as the newly crowned league champions ended the opening quarter on the attack.

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Riverside Athletic – 2013 SuperValu WCSL Schoolgirls Cup finalists (Photo: Ger McCarthy).

 

BREACH
Athletic threatened sporadically with Kellie and Kirstie Scannell prompting a succession of counter-attacks that failed to breach Rovers’ well-drilled back four. Holly O’Sullivan and Mary Hurley’s resolute defending allowed Lyre to dominate much of the opening half yet an inability to create any clear-cut chances meant Riverside remained in contention despite living off meagre possession.

Aoife Barry, Mary Jo Williams and the hard working Moira Barrett each spurned half-chances in quick succession before Athletic enjoyed their best spell with Sinead Caulfield, Rochelle Scannell and Sinead Duggan stretching their opponents back four with determined runs in the final third.

 

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Lyre Rovers – 2013 SuperValu WCSL Schoolgirls Cup finalists (Photo: Ger MCCarthy).

Mary Jo Williams fired a long range effort inches past the upright before Danielle Carroll cleared a shot off the Riverside goal line as the first half ended in a welter of excitement.

The sides changed ends still scoreless but the pace of a thrilling final rarely relented during an end-to-end second period. Defences remained on top with Sarah Hayes enjoying a superb individual display in the heart of Lyre’s back four and Danielle Carroll equally as impressive for Athletic at the other end of the pitch.

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An engrossing final remained evenly poised until Lyre Rovers finally made the breakthrough 10 minutes into the second half. Mary Jo Williams gained possession on the edge of the Riverside penalty area and found Aoife Barry with a superb through ball. The Lyre striker took a touch before thundering a marvellous shot under Ciara Whyte to push Rovers 1-0 ahead.

 

LAUNCHED
Riverside responded positively to falling behind and launched a series of counter-attacks in search of a leveller. Lyre weathered a difficult period and came close to doubling their advantage with Ciara Whyte having to go full length to deny Melissa Wilson and Ciara Barrett in consecutive attacks.

Athletic continued to pour forward in the closing stages, forcing a series of corners and free-kicks but were still unable to find a way through Lyre’s excellent back four of O’Sullivan, Hurley, Hayes and O’Donovan. The Ballineen side were camped in Lyre Rovers’ half right up until the concluding minutes yet couldn’t conjure up an equaliser despite Sinead Caulfield, Kellie Scannell and Rochelle Scannell’s best efforts.

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The final whistle brought an end to a hugely entertaining cup decider with Lyre Rovers running out deserving 1-0 winners but Riverside Athletic also played their part and produced one of their best performances of the season despite losing by a solitary goal.

Best for the runners-up included Ciara Whyte who had a terrific afternoon between the sticks with defender Danielle Carroll deservedly taking the SuperValu Player of the Match award. Kellie Scannell and Sinead Caulfield also impressed up front for the Ballineen side.

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Lyre Rovers brought the curtain down on a memorable double-winning season thanks to the efforts of strikers Mary Jo Williams and match-winner Aoife Barry. Moira Barrett was Lyre’s best player on the day and Melissa Wilson also caugh the eyeinthe centre of the park. Rovers’ success was built on the defensive solidity of Mary Hurley and Sarah Hayes.

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SuperValu Player of the Match: Danielle Carroll of Riverside Athletic.

Lyre Rovers: Cassandra O’Sullivan, Holly O’Sullivan, Mary Hurley, Sarah Hayes, Alison O’Donovan, Moira Barrett, Leanne Calnan, Melisa Wilson, Ciara Barrett, Aoife Barry Mary Jo Williams, Karina Lavery, Hannah O’Hea, Catherine Lordan, Sinead Mears, Yvonne Collins, Clara Crowley, Maggie O’Hea and Aoife Crowley. Coaches: Gretta Cormican and Leonard Cooke.

Riverside Athletic: Ciara Whyte, Samantha Shorthall, Muireann O’Driscoll, Danielle Carroll, Caoimhe Hennessy, Kirstie Scannell, Sinead Duggan, Laura Mannix, Kellie Scannell, Sinead Caulfield, Rochelle Scannell, Fiona Everard, Katie Hennessy and Claire Hickey. Coaches: Michelle Harrington and Mary O’Driscoll.

Referee: Richie Collins (WCSL)

Assistant Referees: Tadgh Sheehan and Martin Coakley (WCSL).

 

 

 

Eight-Goal WCSL Thriller

The following SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League match report was published in the Evening Echo on Tuesday, September 11th 2016. It featured two of the most attack-minded teams in the U13 Premier League and an eight-goal thriller ensued. Enjoy. – Ger McCarthy.

EveningEcho


DUNMANWAY TOWN 4
RIVERSIDE ATHLETIC 4
Ger McCarthy reports

An Evan Maguire hat-trick earned Dunmanway Town a point at home to Riverside Athletic following a thrilling 4-4 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U13 Premier League draw in Mohona.

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Two squads that lifted U12 silverware during their previous campaign met in the first U13 Premier League fixture of the 2016-17’ season and served up an eight-goal classic.

On a heavy pitch, the visitors took advantage of Dunmanway Town’s slow start to move 2-0 in front after 5 minutes. The hosts struggled to mount a response and looked in danger of suffering a heavy defeat once their opponents edged 3-0 ahead.

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That was Evan Maguire’s cue to take a fixture played at an unrelenting pace by the scruff of the neck. Maguire pulled one back before Riverside found the net for a fourth time but once again Maguire responded, bagging his brace to leave two between the teams at the interval.

An engaging second half saw Athletic denied several goalscoring opportunities by the brilliance of Dunmanway goalkeeper Aaron Mannix. Two late goals – including Maguire completing his hat-trick – saw Town draw level and earn a deserved share of the spoils.

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Despite failing to take all three points, Riverside enjoyed standout performances from William Hennigan, Eoghan Collins and Cian Kennefick. Evan Maguire was Dunmanway’s man of the match with Killian Vassallo, Gavin Farr and Aaron Mannix also playing well.

William Hennigan proved one of Riverside’s most prolific goalscorers last term and got off the mark courtesy of a close-range finish to make it 1-0 after 3 minutes. Athletic doubled their advantage shortly after when the Mohona club were guilty of some hesitant defending and forced to concede a corner.

Town could only clear the ball to the edge of the penalty area where an unmarked Cian Kennefick gained possession. The young midfielder took a touch before drilling a shot past Aaron Mannix for his side’s second goal of the evening.

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ACTION
That effort roused Dunmanway into action with Shane Barry and Eoin Buckley asking questions of Riverside’s back four ahead of a superb Eoghan Collins stop that maintained his team’s two-goal advantage. A scrappy period ended with the visitors moving three clear once William Hennigan made space in the penalty area and walloped home a terrific strike.

Creditably, Dunmanway redoubled their efforts thanks to Gavin Farr and Killian Vasallo’s increased workrate, reducing the deficit when Evan Maguire burst clear and slid a fine effort into the net. Unfortunately for the hosts, a lofted through-ball was seized upon by Olan Corcoran eight minutes later and the Riverside midfielder made no mistake to restore Athletics’ three-goal lead.

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An exciting first half concluded with both teams attacking at the earliest opportunity and Dunmanway Town utilising Evan Maguire’s to net a second goal. Maguire cut in from the left wing, dribbled past two defenders and scored from the tightest of angles shortly before half time.

Next, Eoin Buckley came within inches of a third Dunmanway strike when the hosts’ striker failed to connect with a Maguire cross. Yet, a much tighter second period saw defences dominate with Aaron Mannix and Eoghan Collins called upon to produce a string of excellent saves. Riverside should have added to their total but struggled to find a way past goalkeeper Mannix and were punished for their profligacy when Town made it 4-3 seven minutes from the end.

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Oran McCarthy headed home a Gavin Farr free-kick to give the Mohona side hope and a resurgent Dunmanway Town immediately poured forward following the restart. Evan Maguire’s searing pace took the Town striker deep into Riverside Athletic territory and his shot rolled over the line for the eighth and final goal of a cracking league fixture.

Dunmanway and Riverside’s 4-4 draw precedes a busy period for the SuperValu U13 Premier League with the former entertaining Castlelack in their next outing. On the same weekend, Riverside travel to Canon Crowley Park for what should be an intriguing encounter with Drinagh Rangers.

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The remainder of the U13 weekend fixture-list sees last year’s winners Skibbereen beginning their campaign at Ardfield with Bunratty United and Bantry Bay Rovers clashing in a local derby at Schull. Clonakilty AFC and Lyre Rovers’ derby should produce plenty of goals at Ballyvackey.

So, a terrific U13 Premier League title-race awaits if Dunmanway and Riverside’s season-opener is anything to go by.

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TEAMS
Dunmanway Town: Rian Murray, Conor Sheehan, Oran McCarthy, Gavin Farr (captain), Shane Barry, Evan Maguire, Sean Kearney, Eoin Buckley, Killian Vassallo, Aaron Mannix, Gavin Dullea, Cathal Murray, Fionn Kearney, Ben Quigley, Adam Russell and Brian Murphy.

Riverside Athletic: Eoghan Collins, Olan Corcoran, Brian Crowley, William Hennigan, Cian Kennefick, Stephen O’Connell, Aaron O’Connor, Ian O’Donovan, Patrick O’Driscoll (captain), Conor O’Sullivan, Colm Sexton, Eoin Cullinane, Eoghan Mangan, Patrick Collins and Darragh Ryan.

Referee: Dermot O’Donoghue