BY GER McCARTHY
THE build-up to the West Cork League’s biggest match of the season continues on The Southern Star website today with a look at how both Crookstown and Dunmanway Town made it through to Sunday’s 2015 mygaff.ie Cup decider.
The Mohona club began their mygaff.ie cup programme with a convincing 4-1 preliminary round victory away to Lyre Rovers on January 4th. Johnny Kelly bagged a brace with additional Eoin Lavers and Barry O’Donovan efforts securing a first round berth.
Dunmanway were drawn away to Skibbereen on January 25th and a cracking cup tie ensued between two Premier Division sides seperated by a single point and still in with a decent shout at the title at that juncture.
Eoin Lavers broke the deadlock of an evenly fought encounter after 25 minutes and then Barry O’Donovan netted a second shortly before the break. Town withstood a terrific Skibbereen second half fight back, thanks to some heroic saves from goalkeeper Tom Murphy, to progress to the next round following a 2-0 victory.
John Buckley and Andrew Healy’s side had to wait a month before taking the field for their quarter-final tie at home to Ballydehob. Despite plying their trade two divisions below Dunmanway, a talented Ballydehob side that that eventually went on to claim the Division 2 league title were expected to test Town to the maximum.
So it proved as the Premier Division outfit required a Jerry McCarthy hat-trick to see off their dogged opponents in a 3-1 win and book a semi-final date with local rivals Togher Celtic.
Canon Crowley Park hosted one of the most keenly anticipated matches of the season before a bumper crowd on April 5th and the two sides didn’t disappoint, playing out a five-goal thriller in blazing sunshine.
Town were on top for much of the opening half but fell behind to a magical David Collins strike before the break to leave Celtic 1-0 leaders at the break. A dazzling 15-minute spell early in the second period turned the semi-final in Dunmanway’s favour with Jerry McCarthy converting two penalties after Barry O’Donovan had equalised from close range.
David Collins netted a second Togher goal in the closing stages but Dunmanway held on for a deserved 3-2 win and mygaff.ie cup final appearance.
The Premier League team’s cup campaign began with a first round tie at home to Division 2 outfit Drinagh Rangers B on January 25th. Crookstown put their indifferent league form to one side and registered high-scoring 5-3 win thanks to James Kelleher and Darren Shine braces plus an additional Charles Kenneally effort.
A quarter-final away to Riverside Athletic was Crookstown’s reward for overcoming Drinagh B in Castletownkenneigh at the end of February. Athletic had already twice defeated Crookstown (on the same 3-2 scoreline) in the league prior to the relegation-battlers’ cup tie and were expected to progress on home soil.
Instead, Crookstown produced another gutsy cup display to turn the tables on the hosts and ran out 4-2 winners with Michael Deasy, James Kelleher, Andrew Kenneally and Daniel O’Sullivan finding the net.
Crookstown’s semi-final against in-form Bunratty United took place in Canon Crowley Park with the Schull side dominating much of the last-four encounter.
Eddie Goggin, Colm Cleary and Colm O’Driscoll all went close to winning it for Bunratty but a resolute defence, superbly anchored by Dermot Desmond, saw an intriguing semi-final go to extra time following a scoreless draw.
United were reduced to ten men shortly before the full time whistle and Crookstown took full advantage with James Kelleher and Michael Kelleher netting in each half of additional time to secure a second consecutive mygaff.ie cup final appearance.
TOMMORROW: An analysis of the two mygaff.ie cup final teams