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Four reasons why Clonakilty Soccer Club won the WCL Premier Division title

June 9th, 2024 9:30 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

Four reasons why Clonakilty Soccer Club won the WCL Premier Division title Image
Thrilled Clonakilty Soccer Club manager John Leahy celebrates the league win. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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PROLIFIC AND MEAN: Look at the final Premier Division table and there’s a reason Clonakilty Soccer Club finished top of the pile (played 18, won 15, drew two, lost only one) – they were the best and more consistent team throughout the season. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. They scored 70 goals in 18 games, that’s 19 more than the next top scorers, Togher Celtic (51). The Clon team only conceded 13 goals in the league for a whopping goal difference of +57. Next best was Drinagh Rangers with + 33. The Clon defence was outstanding all season and kept 11 clean sheets in 18 games; with a foundation like that, it gave John Leahy’s side every chance this season.

HOME FORM: Before last weekend’s title decider at Darrara, Clonakilty had won every Premier Division home game, and in style. The 2-2 draw with Drinagh Rangers was Clon’s only dropped points at home, and their nine home league games included two 4-0 wins, and 5-0, 5-1, 6-0 and even a 10-0 against Beara United. Clon scored 41 goals at home and conceded just six. In a title race that went to the wire, home form was always going to be key – defending champions Drinagh dropped four points at home in draws against Dunmanway Town and Togher Celtic.

TEAM EFFORT: After clinching the title, this history-making Clonakilty Soccer Club team highlighted how the entire squad played a role in this triumph. Manager John Leahy explained that they were without Joe Edmead, Rob Downey, Liam Anthony White and Paul Daly against Drinagh Rangers last weekend – all four started in the Beamish Cup final in early May – yet Clon had the strength in depth to deal with these setbacks. Leahy beamed: ‘What a squad we have.’ Goalkeeper Iain O’Driscoll added: ‘Our squad is unbelievable. Sometimes at training, we had 23 or 24 lads.’ Teamwork makes the dream work.

BELIEF: There was something different about Clonakilty Soccer Club this season, a steel we haven’t seen too much before. The players bought into John Leahy and Lorne Edmead’s plans, and momentum grew. Winning the Beamish Cup final for the first time in 16 seasons was a big moment, too, especially as they beat the Drinagh juggernaut in the final. That day Clonakilty proved they have what it takes to beat the best.

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