Can Castletown Celtic and Spartak Mossgrove cause a shock in the Beamish Cup semi-finals?

February 24th, 2024 10:00 AM

By Sean Holland

Lyre Rovers' Kieran Fitzpatrick battling with Paul Daly of Clonakilty Soccer Club during the Beamish Cup quarter-final at Lyre. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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SEÁN HOLLAND ranks the four teams left in this season’s Beamish Cup ahead of Sunday’s semi-finals

1. Clonakilty Soccer Club – The current Premier Division leaders have been unrelenting this season; they hold an 11-point lead in the league. The Clon men go into their semi-final against Castletown Celtic as the team to beat. However, their journey to this stage of the Beamish Cup hasn’t been that straightforward. They have had to dig deep in all three games. Firstly, a late winner was needed to overcome rivals Clonakilty United in round one. Penalties were all that separated themselves and Drinagh Rangers B in round two. In the quarter-final, they needed extra time to get past Lyre Rovers. The results show the resilience and fight of this Clonakilty side that is not easily beaten.  Key player – Chris Collins.


2. Drinagh Rangers – Last season’s Premier Division winners are coming off the back of an impressive quarter-final performance and will have a big say in this competition. The Canon Crowley Park side defeated Premier high-fliers Sullane 4-1 away from home. On top of that, they had notable wins over Bunratty United and Aultagh Celtic to get to this point. Drinagh started off the season with a couple of cup runs in both the FAI Junior Cup and the Munster Junior Cup. In fact, it’s been a season dominated by cup competitions for Drinagh, as this semi-final will be their 12th cup game of the season. The familiarity with the situation of knockout football will be a big advantage for Drinagh in the semi-final against Spartak Mossgrove. Key player – Robbie McQueen.


3. Castletown Celtic – The competition's dark horses, Castletown are runaway leaders of the Championship as promotion to the Premier looks a formality. In the cup, 2023 beaten semi-finalists Castletown were handed a bye in round one before they faced Mizen Hob A in round two. They defeated the Premier Division side 3-2 which proves their ability to go toe to toe with the top sides. In the quarter-final, in the battle of the Celtics, Castletown got one over Kilgoban, the nearest team to them in the league table, with a 3-1 victory. The Championship table-toppers have only been defeated once in the league this season and will present a tough test for Clonakilty. Key player – Gearoid O’Donovan.


4. Spartak Mossgrove – The Newcestown-based team had a fantastic win over Premier Division side Skibbereen AFC in the quarter-final. A six-goal thriller meant the game went to penalties and surprise packets Spartak held their nerve to allow their players to dream of a Beamish Cup final. After getting a bye in round one, Spartak defeated league rivals Aultagh B in round two, 3-1. After a slow start to the league season, the return of some of Newcestown’s GAA’s finest soccer players meant a change in form and belief for Spartak, who will now be looking to pull off a giant-killing in their semi-final clash with Drinagh Rangers. Key player – James Kelleher.


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