DRINAGH RANGERS 2
MIZEN AFC 1
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
TOMÁS Connolly’s brace of goals enabled Drinagh Rangers see off Mizen AFC and claim the West Cork League Maybury Coaches-Parkway Hotel Cup at Mohona last Saturday evening.
A much-changed Drinagh line-up kicked off searching for their fifth trophy of 2018 and favourites to overcome their Division 1 opponents.
But Mizen AFC belied their underdog status by matching Rangers for long stretches of a closely-fought final.
An opening quarter full of attacking endeavour produced few clear-cut chances until Tomás Connolly seized upon a defensive mistake after eight minutes. Ronan Kennedy was quickly off his line to deny the Drinagh striker. Darren O’Donovan, Ger O’Callaghan and David Farrell spurned half-chances during a productive spell for a Division 1 side that afforded Drinagh little time on the ball.
Mizen’s excellent first-half performance should have yielded a goal five minutes before the break. Darren O’Donovan lined up a wayward defensive header but volleyed his effort inches over the bar with only Rob Oldham to beat.
Drinagh’s response was immediate, Keith Jagoe firing across the six-yard box prior to Barry O’Driscoll (H)’s stinging drive missing the target. Mizen’s Andy McCarthy, Daniel O’Callaghan and James Scully defended manfully throughout but were relieved to see an offside flag raised when Ian Jennings put the ball in the net after 56 minutes.
Then, a moment of individual brilliance almost handed Mizen a shock lead when Ger O’Callaghan’s first-time shot saw Rob Oldham tip the striker’s goal-bound attempt onto the crossbar and away to safety. That close call preceded another positive Mizen spell with Patrick Scully forcing Oldham into another stop and Ger O’Callaghan causing Rangers’ defence problems in the final third.
An inability to make those opportunities count was close to being punished when Tomás Connolly brought the best out of Ronan Kennedy after 70 minutes.
It ended scoreless after 90 minutes, necessitating two periods of extra-time to decide the outcome.
Drinagh were awarded a free-kick early in the first period of additional time when Ian Jennings was brought down on the right of the penalty box. Barry O’Driscoll (T)’s delivery was brilliantly turned in by Tomás Connolly to make it 1-0.
Amazingly, Drinagh’s lead lasted less than two minutes when Darren O’Donovan acrobatically volleyed in an equaliser, much to the delight of the Mizen supporters.
The second half of additional time proved a tighter affair and penalties looked likely until Drinagh carved out a terrific goal three minutes from the end. Ian Jennings burst down the wing and Tomás Connolly met the former’s low cross with a sweet finish to secure Drinagh an unprecedented fifth trophy of the season.
Drinagh Rangers: Rob Oldham, JJ Hurley, Adrian O’Driscoll, Barry O’Driscoll (T), Gearoid White, Keith Jagoe, Tomás Connolly, Jamie Walsh, Ian Jennings, Paul Hickey, Barry O’Driscoll (H, captain).
Subs: Alan Murphy, Robert O’Regan, Gavin Beamish, Sam Kingston, Steven Crowley.
Mizen AFC: Ronan Kennedy, Daniel O’Callaghan, David Farrell, David O’Leary, James Scully, Patrick Scully (captain), Andy McCarthy, Darren O’Donovan, Ger O’Callaghan, Sean Sheehan, Padraig Reidy.
Subs: Peter Sheehan, Shane O’Leary, Andrew O’Connor, Christopher Kennedy, John Supple.
Referee: Patrick Hurley.