Drinagh Rangers 7
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
PREMIER League heavyweights Drinagh Rangers and Lyre Rovers will face off in this year’s West Cork League Beamish Cup final following Rangers’ comprehensive defeat of Skibbereen at the Baltimore Road last Sunday.
Drinagh had too much quality for a Division 2-bound Skibbereen team that toiled hard but lacked the quality to trouble their opponents.
Seven goals scored, none conceded and the opportunity to win a second consecutive Beamish Cup meant Drinagh co-managers Don Hurley and Declan Deasy had plenty to be pleased about.
‘We are very happy with that performance and delighted to get back to another Beamish Cup final even though we have a tough task on our hands against Lyre,’ Hurley said.
‘The lads are going well, we have a large squad to select from and just need to keep things going now ahead of the final.’
Deploying a 4-5-1 formation, Skibbereen worked hard to contain Drinagh’s attack but were powerless to prevent the Canon Crowley Park side from breaking the deadlock after six minutes. An in-swinging Barry O’Driscoll (T) corner was met by Keith Jagoe and the midfielder’s header took a deflection off an opposing defender before nestling in the back of the net.
To their credit, Skibbereen responded positively and enjoyed their best spell midway through the first half. Eoghan O’Donoghue forced Rob Oldham into a good save, Shane Crowley narrowly missed the target from distance and John Hodnett saw a free-kick inside the Rangers penalty area blocked as the hosts pushed hard for an equaliser.
Mark Collins and Thomas Hegarty were introduced on the half hour as Skibb reverted to a more orthodox 4-4-2. But for all the home side’s endeavour, an inability to properly test Rob Oldham was punished by a clinical Drinagh after 37 minutes. Paul Hickey raced into the box and met a cross with a thumping header to double the visitors’ advantage.
The second period saw a Drinagh Rangers team with the cushion of a two-goal lead dictate the pace and confirm their Beamish Cup final berth with two goals during a three-minute spell on the hour. Tomás Connolly was rewarded for a selfless display with his side’s third prior to Keith Jagoe ending the tie as a contest with his second of the afternoon.
Don O’Driscoll finished off a flowing move to make it 5-0 after 76 minutes and a forgettable afternoon for Skibbereen got even worse with JP Reen’s dismissal for a second yellow card.
From there, it was one-way traffic with Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Ian Jennings getting their names on the scoresheet to complete a 7-0 rout and ensure the dream of a West Cork League and Beamish Cup double remains very much alive for an in-form Drinagh Rangers.
‘There are an important couple of weeks ahead as we have Lyre next to decide the West Cork League Premier Division title,’ admitted Declan Deasy.
‘It is a make or break time of the season but to be fair to the lads, they performed really well today. Our consistency over the last six to eight weeks has been excellent but these lads are together ten years and that will be huge for us heading into the next couple of weeks.’
Skibbereen: Lee Myles, Jason O’Donovan, Shane Crowley, JP Reen (captain), Richie Fitzgerald, Shane Crowley, James Reen, Hugh O’Neill, Brian Hodnett, Eoghan O’Donoghue, Kevin O’Regan.
Subs: Mark Collins, Thomas Hegarty, Noel Collins, Denis O’Regan, Colm Fitzgerald.
Drinagh Rangers: Rob Oldham, Daniel McCarthy, JJ Collins, Barry O’Driscoll (T), Don O’Driscoll, Robert O’Regan, Gavin Beamish, Keith Jagoe, Tomás Connolly, Paul Hickey, Barry O’Driscoll (H) (captain).
Subs: JJ Hurley, Darren Beamish, Jamie Walsh, Ian Jennings and Adrian O’Driscoll.
Referee: Tim McDermott.