Togher Celtic 1
CASTLELACK claimed a first-ever SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League title following victory over Togher Celtic in a U14 Division 1 clash at Bandon.
The Bandon-based club needed to avoid defeat in their final league outing of the season to finish ahead of title-rivals Beara United. Castlelack and the Castletownbere club were level on 15 points apiece heading into the weekend meaning the former required a point or better against a Togher team with little to play for but pride.
But a combination of nervy finishing and the brilliance of Togher goalkeeper Thomas Kingston meant Castlelack had to work for every inch of their victory.
Kingston was called into action inside the opening minute, bravely denying Peter Craig after the latter raced clear. Dan Flanagan was at the centre of all Castlelack’s best moves during the opening half and he, Kieran Kelleher and Joshua Hamilton-Foott kept the home side on the front foot.
For all their possession, Castlelack were wasteful in front of goal with a Peter Craig effort that rattled a crossbar the closest the home side came to scoring. Togher threatened sporadically with Padraigh Crowley and Muiris Buttimer a threat on the counter-attack.
The visitors began to cause issues in the final third and Castlelack were indebted to their goalkeeper Billy Curtin for a string of fine saves heading towards the break. The title-challengers finally opened the scoring when Kieran Kelleher took advantage of some hesitant defending to force the ball home from six yards.
Brian Horgan and Matthew Hurley’s solid defending kept Togher in contention during the early stages of the second half. Ava O’Donovan and Rachel Kingston’s influence began to grow in the centre of the park before two goals in two minutes on the hour mark.
Dan Flanagan’s goal-bound effort was brilliantly saved by Thomas Kingston but Glen Gash walloped the rebound into the net from an acute angle. Castlelack were still celebrating when a swift Togher move ended with Padraigh Crowley hammering the ball into the roof of the net to make it 2-1. That strike made of a hectic final quarter in which Togher tested Billy Curtin and Castlelack came close to a third on a couple a of occasions. No further additions to the score saw Castlelack run out deserving winners before being presented with the U14 Division 1 League trophy from club stalwart and WCSL ETP Co-ordinator DJ Curtin.
Castlelack: Billy Curtin, Ciarán Hurley, Nathan Collins, Fiachra O’Donnachadha, Diarmuid O’Halloran, Barry Murphy, Cian O’Mahony, Joshua Hamilton-Foott, Kieran Kelleher, Peter Craig (captain), Dan Flanagan.
Subs: Glen Gash, Cian de Burca, Liam Platt, Callum Fennelly.
Togher Celtic: Thomas Kingston, Alan Crowley, Padraigh Crowley (captain), Muiris Buttimer, Brian Horgan, Patrick Collins, Finian Hurley, Rachel Kingston, Ava O’Donovan, Mark McCarthy, Matthew Hurley.
Subs: Brian O’Sullivan, Mike Daly.
Referee: David Hall.