Clonakilty Town 4
Drinagh Rangers 4
(Drinagh won 4-2 on pens aet)
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
DRINAGH Rangers and Clonakilty Town produced an epic SuperValu West Cork League Masters Cup final to bring the curtain down on this summer’s campaign at Mohona.
Three times Clonakilty took the lead only for their opponents to draw level at the end of both normal and extra-time.
Amid near darkness, it was James Reen who converted the winning penalty in a 4-2 shootout victory for a delighted Canon Crowley Park squad and their supporters.
Town deserve praise for their contribution to an eight-goal thriller but Drinagh’s experience of overcoming Dunmanway Town on spot-kicks in the cup semi-final proved vital in enabling the winners lift a first Masters trophy since 2016.
Clonakilty got off to the best possible start by racing into a 2-0 lead inside the opening ten minutes. A routine Town free-kick was lofted towards Drinagh’s penalty area where Dave McCarthy took advantage of poor defending to finish from close range. Things got even worse for an out-of-sorts Drinagh when Jerry Coughlan met an Aidan Pendlebury corner with a thumping volley to double his side’s advantage.
After a dreadful start, Drinagh slowly played their way into contention and capitalised on a poor Clonakilty defending to halve the deficit when Alan Murphy netted from close range after 15 minutes. Rangers’ comeback was completed by Dave Curran who sprung Town’s offside trap to make it 2-2 shortly before the break.
Both goalkeepers, John Leahy of Clonakilty Town and Alan Shorten of Drinagh Rangers, acquitted themselves well throughout the evening. Yet the latter was powerless to prevent Clonakilty from retaking the lead as Aidan Pendlebury’s shot took a wicked deflection and nestled in the back of the net 5 minutes into the second period.
Drinagh’s second half introductions of Mike Doolan and Robert O’Regan proved pivotal to the cup final’s outcome. It was Doolan who broke through in the closing minutes and slotted home to take the tie to extra-time.
Tied 3-3, Clonakilty Town once again dug deep and retook the lead in dramatic fashion when Tim Callanan unleashed an unstoppable 25-yard rocket in off the crossbar. Right at the death, Robert O’Regan managed to force the ball home and make it 4-4 before Rangers triumphed on penalties.
Clonakilty Town: John Leahy, Gordon O’Sullivan, Tim Callanan, Chris McCarthy, Dave McCarthy, Conor Uhl, Aidan Pendlebury, David Gilbert, Simon Locke (captain), Sam Kingston, Paul McCarthy, LJ O’Brien, Declan Rice, Kevin Kingston, Jerry Coughlan.
Drinagh Rangers: Alan Shorten, JJ Hurley (captain), James O’Regan, Liam Curran, Denis O’Driscoll, Alan Murphy, Vince Collins, Noel McCarthy, Mike Doolan, Liam O’Brien, Adrian O’Driscoll, James Reen, Robert O’Regan, Dave Curran, Shane O’Sullivan, Niall O’Donovan, Eamonn Connolly.
Referee: Paul McDermott.