Bantry Bay are relegated to Division 1 after losing play-off
Bantry Bay Rovers 0 (aet)
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
BALLYDEHOB retained their West Cork League PremierHiSpecCars.com Premier Division status thanks to a 1-0 relegation play-off victory over Bantry Bay Rovers in Canon Crowley Park on Monday afternoon.
Tadgh O’Mahony’s extra-time goal proved the difference between two committed sides, confirming the Rathravane club’s top flight status and condemning Beamish Cup finalists Bay Rovers to Division 1 football next season.
‘We are just delighted to survive,’ said Ballydehob manager Patrick Hodnett.
‘It was vitally important that we stayed up because had we dropped down, who knows, a couple of the older lads might have retired. We have a few younger players we can call upon for the coming season now and things are looking good for the future now.
‘Tadgh O’Mahony was only going on one leg during extra-time but look, it was vital we kept him on and he got the winner for us.’
A nervy opening quarter produced few clear-cut opportunities thanks to competent defending from Ballydehob’s Stephen Duggan and Mike Helen as well as Bay’s Paul Drummey and Jamie McSweeney.
Successive set-pieces failed to produce a goal at either end before Bantry Bay’s ability to counter-attack at pace saw Gavin Johnson, Shane McSweeney and Eoghan McElhinney begin to stretch their opposing defence.
A tight first half concluded with the best chance of the game falling to Gavin Johnson. The Bantry striker expertly flicked the ball over a defender only to arrow his shot inches wide.
Ballydehob’s response was positive with Mark Cronin bringing the best out of Donal Casey and Mike Helen heading wide from a free-kick ten minutes into the second period. Those attempts only served to reignite a lethargic Bantry Bay back into life however with Joel Davis diving full length to prevent Brian Donovan’s header from nestling in the back of the net.
But Bantry Bay were guilty of spurning two guilt-edged chances shortly before 90 minutes concluded and resulting in extra-time.
Ballydehob were quickly off the mark at the beginning of the additional period as Tadgh O’Mahony found the net from a Mike Helen corner to edge the Rathravane club ahead.
The Hob should have put the result beyond doubt following that opening strike but Donal Casey made two excellent stops and Mark Cronin dragged another effort wide as the clock ticked towards 110 minutes.
Bay Rovers poured forward in search of a late equaliser but Ballydehob held on for a narrow 1-0 victory and Premier Division football once again next season.
Ballydehob: Joel Davis (captain), Barry O’Brien, Stephen Duggan, Mike Helen, Damien Roycroft, Adam Coughlan, Donal O’Sullivan, Tadgh O’Mahony, Tim Regan, Mark Cronin, Sascha Walden.
Subs: Paddy O’Donovan, Dan O’Neill, David O’Mahony, Liam Darrel, Kevin O’Brien.
Bantry Bay Rovers: Donal Casey, Daniel Murray, Paul Drummey, Jamie McSweeney, Joe Downey, David Daly, Brian Donovan (captain), Shane Drummey, Eoghan McElhinney, Gavin Johnson, Shane McSweeney.
Subs: Ricky Peters, Ciarán McElhinney, Shaun O’Sullivan, Martin Hurley, Matthew Barry.
Referee: Patrick Hurley.