BY GER McCARTHY
SUNDAY’S West Cork League mygaff.ie Cup decider between Crookstown and Dunmanway Town has all the ingredients of a cracking affair between two sides that know one another well from their Premier Division exploits this season.
Let’s take a look at the elements that might decide the outcome of this weekend’s cup final and make a prediction as to who will come out on top.
Dunmanway may have enjoyed the better Premier League campaign by finishing in third place, eight behind champions Drinagh Rangers but Crookstown took maximum points from their two encounters with the Mohona club, conceding a single goal en route to six precious points.
A 1-0 Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches loss to Dunmanway took place too early in the season to matter but Crookstown clearly figured out a way to shut down Town’s much-vaunted attack during their two league encounters that could be pivotal to Sunday’s outcome.
When it comes to defence, both teams possess a wealth of experience that will be crucial in attempting to thwart their opposing attacks on Sunday. Vincent and Denis Healy are two of the best central defenders in the West Cork League while Dermot Desmond and Charles Kenneally have been equally as competent for Crookstown.
How best Dunmanway can release the twin strike-force of Johnny Kelly and Jerry McCarthy will go a long way to dictating the outcome of the final as both players are deadly finishers in and around the penalty box. Crookstown will look to a combination of Martin McCarthy, Darren Shine and/or Finbarr Crowley for goals in a game likely to be dominated by defences.
Dunmanway appear to hold a slight edge in midfield with the experienced Timmy O’Donovan protecting his back four and allowing Eoin Lavers, Mark Quinn and Barry O’Donovan to concentrate on making an impact in the final third.
Quinn, in particular, has the ability to turn the game in his side’s favour by combining a devastating burst of pace and knack of arriving late into the penalty area to score some vital goals.
Crookstown’s experienced central quartet have been just as important in guiding their side to the mygaff.ie cup final but they will need to produce their best performance of the season to close down a lively Dunmanway midfield having had to withstand a constant stream of Bunratty United attacks in their 2-0 semi-final victory.
It is going to be close, that much I am certain of. Otherwise, two battle-hardened sides blessed with excellent goalkeepers, experienced defences, creative midfielders and talented strikers are incredibly hard to seperate.
Losing twice to their cup final opponents during this season’s Premier Division and in last year’s cup semi-final may not play on Dunmanway Town’s minds come Sunday afternoon but Crookstown have experience in shutting down the Mohona side’s strikers on more than one occasion and capable of catching their opponents on the counter-attack.
Don’t underestimate the pain of Crookstown’s poor performance and disappointing loss to Drinagh Rangers in last year’s cup final either. They are anxious to atone for that forgettable day and will be primed come kick-off.
Yet, the performances Dunmanway Town produced to see off Skibbereen and Togher Celtic en route to this year’s mygaff.ie decider coupled with their ability to score from multiple areas gives them the slightest of edges.
It may require extra-time or even penalties but Dunmanway Town should edge it. Just.
Sunday April 19th
2015 West Cork League U18 Cup Final
Ardfield v Clonakilty AFC in Canon Crowley Park, Drinagh at 12pm
2015 West Cork League mygaff.ie Cup Final
Crookstown v Dunmanway Town in Canon Crowley Park, Drinagh at 2.45pm