Kilgoban Celtic 1
CLONAKILTY Soccer Club won their first-ever West Cork League Masters title following a 2-1 play-off victory over Kilgoban Celtic at Castletownkenneigh recently.
Kilgoban and Clonakilty finished joint-top of this summer’s Masters League table necessitating a play-off to decide the 2021 champions.
Clon began confidently and created an opening inside the first minute. Noel Jordan split the Kilgoban defence with a superb pass and John Duggan raced clear before bringing the best out of goalkeeper Kieran Hourihan.
Sam Kingston fired wide shortly after but Kilgoban failed to heed those early warning signs and fell behind after six minutes. Noel Jordan was brought down on the edge of the penalty area and Aidan Pendlebury stepped forward to brilliantly curl home the resulting free-kick.
Celtic found themselves on the back foot as a livelier Clonakilty struck for a second time in the eighth minute. Noel Jordan peeled away from a defender and the striker’s deflected shot found the net for a 2-0 Clonakilty lead.
David Hourihan, Paul Tessyman and Ross Leahy helped Kilgoban settle after a nervy opening. Celtic finally began to ask questions of their opposing back four but were unable to test goalkeeper Seamus O’Brien despite prolonged periods of possession.
Frankie Arundel evaded the Clonakilty defence’s attention five minutes before the interval and rounded Seamus O’Brien. But the Kilgoban striker could only watch as his goal-bound attempt was hacked clear from a tight angle.
Retaining possession and with the cushion of a two-goal lead, Clonakilty restarted the second half in the confident manner they finished the first. Yet, a rare defensive lapse presented Kilgoban with a scoring opportunity they gladly accepted after 32 minutes. Ciarán O’Donovan struck an upright prior to springing the Clonakilty offside trap and finding the bottom corner to halve the deficit. Seamus O’Brien was called upon to collect a series of crosses before Clonakilty broke from deep and John Hayes fired narrowly wide. Celtic’s offside trap kept their opponents at bay heading into the closing quarter of an increasingly frenetic play-off. Jerry Coughlan and Aidan Pendlebury’s intelligent use of possession enabled Clonakilty enjoy a bright spell but defenders Stephen Hayden and Ross Leahy gave little away and the score remained 2-1 with ten minutes to go.
Kevin Kingston, Iain O’Driscoll and Jason Kidney cleared a succession of Kilgoban attacks as light began to fade but Clonakilty defended manfully and counter-attacked in the final minute. Sam Kingston released John Hayes only for the Clonakilty midfielder to flick his shot inches wide.
Kilgoban’s David Hourihan thundered a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar deep into injury-time but Clonakilty held on to become West Cork Masters League champions for the first time.
Clonakilty Soccer Club: Seamus O’Brien, Declan Rice, Jason Kidney, John Connolly, Kevin Kingston, Gordon O’Sullivan, Iain O’Driscoll, Donal McCarthy, John Duggan, Aidan Pendlebury, Timmy Callanan, Jerry Coughlan (captain), Aidan McCarthy, Chris McCarthy, Noel Jordan, Sam Kingston, John Hayes.
Kilgoban Celtic: Kieran Hourihan, Muiris O'Connor, David Hourihan, Ross Leahy, Stephen Hayden, Danny O’Driscoll, Kevin Mulcahy, Joe O’Halloran, Paul Tessyman, John Hennessy, Brian Donovan (captain), Peter Thornton, Mike Burke, Richie Mullany, Shane Drummey, Shane Murphy, Padraig O’Driscoll, Davitt Vaughan, Ciarán O’Donovan, Frankie Arundel, Tadhg O’Sullivan, Donal McGrath, John Enright.