BY KIERAN McCARTHY
CROOKSTOWN will harness the pain of losing last year’s mygaff.ie Cup final when they lock horns with Dunmanway Town in this year’s decider, in Drinagh this Sunday afternoon.
A competition that the club has never won, last season’s 5 – 0 loss to Drinagh Rangers in the final is a painful memory that Crookstown will use to, hopefully, inspire them to glory this weekend, according to club stalwart Dermot Desmond.
‘We didn’t do ourselves justice last year. I know we were short a few fellas who were away but we left ourselves down. We want to give a better account of ourselves on Sunday,’ the experienced Crookstown defender said.
It’s been a season of mixed emotions for Desmond and his teammates because while they are back in a second successive mygaff.ie Cup final, they were also relegated from the West Cork League Premier Division, winning just five of their 16 league games.
That’s why this Sunday’s cup final is so important – not only is it another chance to win a cup that has eluded this club, but it also offers a silver lining to the season, and the chance to finish on a high.
‘At the start of the year and towards the end of the year we were caught with GAA, and that cost us in the league,’ Desmond said.
‘We have 14 or 15 very good players, but if we are missing any few we tend to struggle, especially in the area we are in. Our other local club, Cloughduv Celtic, are in the AUL and some of our players went with them, and then there’s Macroom and Coachford, and as well as that we are on the outskirts of West Cork.’
An instrumental figure in this cup run and the 2 – 0 extra-time semi-final win against Bunratty United, Desmond is one of three Crookstown players involved with the club since its first season back in 2004/05, along with Martin McCarthy and Finbarr Crowley.
Over the years Crookstown has won Division 2 and Division 1 cups, and in the 2006/07 season they captured a treble of Division 1 league, Division 1 Cup and AIB Shield trophies. Still, the one they really want has eluded them, as Desmond explains.
‘We have won all the cups except the Premier Cup and the mygaff.ie Cup, and the mygaff.ie Cup is the one that every player in West Cork wants to win,’ he said.
‘Before last year I had never been in this cup final and I’ve been playing soccer for the last 20 years. Finals don’t come around too often either and we want to make the most of this chance, especially after last year.’
The experience of being involved in last year’s decider will stand to Crookstown, especially when it comes to dealing with the non-football build-up – match programmes, etc. – but Desmond also knows Dunmanway Town pose a huge challenge on Sunday.
Crookstown might have beaten Dunmanway twice in this season’s league and also in last year’s mygaff.ie Cup semi-final, but that counts for nothing now.
‘Those results don’t mean anything. Finals take on a life of their own,’ Desmond said.
‘You get nothing easy off Dunmanway either. They have a good underage structure and they have players on that team that have won the mygaff.ie Cup twice, and they are always fighting for the Premier Division title as well so we know what lies ahead on Sunday.’
The Crookstown ace added: ‘It would be great for our supporters as well because they have been fantastic for us down throughout the years and it would be great to give them something big to celebrate.’