Clonakilty AFC 2
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
A GOAL in either half saw Clonakilty AFC claim the West Cork League U18 Cup at the expense of Ardfield at a sun-kissed Canon Crowley Park.
David Jennings’ superb strike set the Ballyvackey club on their way before Ferdia McCarthy cemented his side’s win early in the second half.
Brendan Kingston pulled one back for a battling Ardfield but it wasn’t enough to prevent Clonakilty from claiming the trophy.
Clon created the final’s first scoring opportunity with Ferdia McCarthy heading a Chris Collins free wide before Ardfield responded by bringing the best out of goalkeeper Liam Colbert.
The Ballyvackey club enjoyed a purple patch with Chris Collins shooting wide having dispossessed a defender, and Liam O’Connor forcing Peter Whelton into a marvellous finger-tip save.
An evenly fought final ebbed and flowed throughout the first half and Ardfield came within inches of breaking the deadlock when Adam Barrett’s long-distance attempt narrowly missed the target.
It was going to take something special to break the deadlock and David Jennings provided the moment on the half hour. The Clonakilty winger dribbled past two defenders on the left wing and cut into the box before lifting a delicious effort over Peter Whelton.
Almost immediately, the Carrigroe team came within inches of equalising when Brendan Kingston’s shot rolled towards an empty goal only for Paul Daly to race back and clear off the line. Loud protests that the ball had crossed the goal-line fell on deaf ears ahead of a fractious ending to the opening 45 minutes.
The second period was barely four minutes old when Clonakilty AFC netted a second and decisive strike. Chris Collins proved one the of the Ballyvackey side’s most influential players and slid an effort under the outrushing Peter Whelton for Ferdia McCarthy to tap into an empty net.
A two-goal cushion saw Martin Connolly, Damien Madden and Liam O’Connor maintain their side’s lead with some neat approach play and centre-back’s Ger Crowley and Shane O’Sullivan repeatedly repel their opponent’s advances.
Lack of a killer instinct prevented Ardfield from cutting into Clonakilty’s advantage despite Sean O’Reilly, Brendan Kingston and David O’Donovan’s best efforts until a cup final appearing to drift towards a straightforward Clonakilty victory saw Brendan Kingston net a terrific goal 15 minutes from the end.
Cue a rip roaring finale with Ardfield flooding forward in search of a leveller and Clonakilty valiantly defending their penalty area but the Ballyvackey side held out to deservedly claim the U18 Cup.
Clonakilty AFC: Liam Colbert, Peter O’Donoghue, Paul Daly, Shane O’Sullivan (captain), Ger Crowley, Chris Collins, Martin Connolly, Ferdia McCarthy, Liam O’Connor, Damien Madden, David Jennings.
Subs: Oisin Byrne, Olan O’Donovan, Paul O’Regan, Ciarán O’Sullivan, Carlan Ellis, Christopher Crowley, Robert Matthews, David Kiely, Matthew Jennings, Ryan Doonan.
Ardfield: Peter Whelton, Joseph O’Sullivan, Frank Meaney, Jack Christie, Shane Enright, Chris Prendergast, Brendan Kingston, Sean O’Reilly (captain), Mark Hodnett, David O’Donovan, Adam Barrett.
Subs: Sean Caverly, David O’Donovan, Conor Scully, Ellis Wilson, Ciarán Fitzpatrick.
Referee: Martin Coakley.