Bunratty United set up chance to end club’s 12-year wait for Beamish Cup glory

May 3rd, 2023 12:30 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Bunratty United's Killian O'Brien holds off Togher Celtic's Luke Hurley.

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BUNRATTY United are back in a West Cork League Beamish Cup final for the first time in 12 years following their victory over Togher Celtic.

Both teams spent the past season in the upper echelons of the Premier Division and, as expected, delivered an entertaining semi-final.

Togher handed their opponents the initiative with the concession of an early own goal. Robbie Lucey equalised but another Celtic mistake allowed Colm Cleary to make it 2-1 from the penalty spot. Killian O’Brien seized upon a poor Togher clearance to wrap a convincing Bunratty victory.

Bunratty United's Colm Cleary scores from the penalty spot in their Beamish Cup semi-final win at Skibbereen. (Photo: Paddy Feen)


The Schull club is looking forward to their Turner’s Cross cup final appearance on May 21st off the back of a composed, diligent display. Bunratty last lifted the famous West Cork League trophy back in 2011.

‘Everyone involved with Bunratty United is delighted to make a Beamish Cup final,’ Bunratty manager Jeremy Brosnan told The Southern Star.

‘We knew that we would be in for a real battle today and got it. Thankfully, the result went our way in the end. Yes, we took advantage of some of Togher’s mistakes but I thought we played some really good football too.

‘They came back at us after a good spell and got that equaliser. We had a good chat at half time and recovered. Everyone knew what they had to do and thankfully, we got through.’

An early goal set the template for an attacking first half. Killian O’Brien whipped a free-kick into Togher’s penalty area after four minutes. Unfortunately for Togher, Ian Crowley’s attempted headed clearance ended up in the back of his team’s net.

The cushion of a 1-0 lead permitted United to play out from the back. Colm Cleary, Sean Kelleher and Killian O’Brien’s ability to retain possession saw Bunratty comfortably maintain their early advantage at the 15-minute mark.

It took 25 minutes before Togher finally threatened. Robbie Lucey’s in-swinging corner evaded the attentions of a crowded penalty area and struck an upright before being cleared. Celtic’s increased efforts were rewarded with a deserved equaliser after 35 minutes. Shane Bowen parried an Eoin Murray free-kick and Robbie Lucey pounced to tap home the rebound.

Bunratty United's Conor O'Driscoll is tackled by Togher Celtic's Eoin Murray during the Beamish Cup semi-final at Skibbereen.


Bowen had to be quick off his line to prevent an in-rushing Lucey before United’s Conor O’Driscoll brought the best out of Ciarán Murphy a minute later. A terrific first half concluded one apiece. The pace was just as brisk during the third quarter. Substitute Paudie Crowley injected pace into Togher’s attack but it was United who struck next.

A handball in the Celtic penalty area presented Colm Cleary with an opportunity to restore Bunratty’s lead. The veteran player made no mistake, calmly slotting home his spot-kick.

Leading 2-1, Bunratty resumed control with Cathal Newman and Killian O’Brien dictating proceedings from the centre of the pitch. Jake Coughlan and James McKnight offered width on either wing as the Schull club moved the ball at pace.

Two Conor O’Driscoll attempts failed to find the target but United persisted and made it 3-1 after 68 minutes. Seizing on a wayward kick out, Killian O’Brien gained possession before beating a defender and firing into the bottom corner. It was a superb goal befitting a Beamish Cup semi-final.

Bunratty United's Jake Coughlan is challenged by Togher Celtic's Peter Collins during the Beamish Cup semi-final at Skibbereen.


Sean Kelleher received a second yellow card with 11 minutes to go, leaving Bunratty United to see out the semi-final out with ten players to set up a final clash with Dunmanway Town at Turner’s Cross.

‘Colm Cleary, the commitment he gives to this club, he is unbelievable,’ Jeremy Brosnan commented. ‘He is a real example to all our young players and the fella you want taking an important penalty in such a big game. Our challenge, at the start of the year, was to come up to the Premier Division and be competitive. We are happy with our first season back and have a cup final to look forward to now as well.’

BUNRATTY UNITED: Shane Bowen, Jake Coughlan, Sean Kelleher (captain), Eoin Kelleher, James McKnight, Colm Cleary, Cathal Newman, Killian O’Brien, Lorcan O’Brien, Conor O’Driscoll, Conor Brosnan. Subs: Mark Brosnan, James O’Regan, Sean Evans, Danny McSweeney, Darragh O’Shea, Pa Sheehan, Finian Hogan, Ger Sweeney.

TOGHER CELTIC: Ciarán Murphy, Jamie Lucey, Kevin Cotter, Ian Crowley, Eoin Murray, Peter Collins, Liam Creedon, Luke Hurley, Shane Crowley (captain), Cathal Daly, Robbie Lucey. Subs: Paudie Crowley, Niall Hurley, David Mawe, Brian Horgan, Adrian Hurley, Darren Kelly.

Referee: Paul McDermott.

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