Ger McCarthy hands out his end of season awards as the WCL campaign comes to a close
THE West Cork League has never known a season like it. The Covid-19 outbreak meant there was no competitive action between Monday, March 9th and Saturday, July 18th, stretching the completion of the 2019-2020 campaign to last weekend.
There will barely be enough time to draw breath as a new season is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks but, for now, let’s acknowledge the WCL’s brightest and best.
The Back on Their Perch Award goes to Drinagh Rangers. Don Hurley and Declan Deasy’s side were not content with claiming the Premier Division title in a thrilling final-day climax at the expense of defending champions Dunmanway Town. So, Rangers added the Division 2 trophy and U19 Cup for good measure in recent weeks. The Canon Crowley Park club is in rude health and deservedly back on their perch.
Togher Celtic win the Continuity Award, having claimed a fourth trophy in as many seasons. Celtic remain one of the most consistent clubs in the region despite failing to challenge for the Premier Division trophy. Maybe next season?
The Moving On Up Award is shared by Spartak Mossgrove, Mizen AFC and Riverside Athletic. All three will ply their trade in the WCL’s top tier next season and deservedly so. The latter won the Premier Division only four years ago, Spartak claimed this year’s Championship while Mizen lifted the 2020 Championship Division’s Cup. The Premier Division just got a lot more interesting.
Bunratty United take home the Down, But Far From Out Award. Relegation from the top tier was a disappointment but a richly talented U19 squad claimed this season’s WCL U19 age-grade’s league title. Add in a blossoming underage setup and Bunratty will be back challenging sooner rather than later.
The Welcome Facilities Development Award goes to Bantry Bay Rovers, Castlelack and Lyre Rovers. All three are looking to the future following exciting club developments during the past 12 months. Castlelack will soon have a state-of-the-art home ground in Brinny. Lyre are not far away from introducing a new pitch to their floodlit home ground while Kealkill’s recent enhancements suggest brighter days ahead for the progressive Bantry club.
Johnny Kelly wins the Transfer of the Season Award. Kelly’s move from Togher Celtic to local rivals Dunmanway Town caused a surprise when announced at the start of the campaign. Kelly proved an important acquisition however, as he helped guide his club to Beamish Cup glory and within a victory of retaining the Premier Division title.
That previous accolade leads nicely into the Match of the Season Award. Johnny Kelly’s brace of goals earned Dunmanway a 2-1 victory away to Drinagh Rangers. Significant because the result represented the eventual Premier Division champions first league defeat since September 2017 and their first home loss since 2012!
The Keys to the Kingdom Award goes to WCL Lake House Beauty Rooms Women’s league and cup winners Inter Kenmare. Another terrific season of women’s 7s football with increased participation and quality football was capped off by one of the most successful club’s deservedly claiming a double.
The Nicest Club Crest of the Season Award goes to Aultagh Celtic for their superb re-design of their club logo. The Best Club Kit Award had many suitors but Riverside Athletic’s simple blue and white combination shades it.
Looking at the lighter side of things, a special Roy Keane Punditry Award goes to Clonakilty Town manager John Leahy. Never one to shirk a tackle as a player, Leahy proved the most entertaining guest on the West Cork League weekly podcast. Leahy’s love of banter, honest opinions and humorous digs at opposing Premier Division clubs guaranteed plenty of responses and increased listenership.
The ‘We Didn’t See The Reaction to That West Cork League Tweet Coming’ Award goes to Dunmanway Town’s Mark Buckley. One of this Southern Star reporter’s tweets describing the striker’s Beamish Cup semi-final strike against Spartak Mossgrove as a ‘thunderbastard’ drew thousands or impressions and demands for a more detailed explanation of the term. The most pertinent description of the tweet is that Mark Buckley possesses a terrific shot and put that skill to good use in helping his team progress to the Beamish Cup final.
Speaking of Twitter, WCL club Spartak Mossgrove takes home the Best and Most Entertaining Use of Social Media Award for 2020. A cursory glance through Mossgrove’s account, @Spartakmossgro1, is always entertaining reading on any given Sunday. Examples include: ‘8-1 here now skunk straight in from the corner #spartak. It’s all kicking off ere, we’re down to 10, Dey should be too.’