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Four-goal Joe sends Skibbereen soaring to U14 Premier success

January 31st, 2023 11:30 AM

By Ger McCarthy

Four-goal Joe sends Skibbereen soaring to U14 Premier success Image
The Skibbereen Eagles U14 team that defeated Castlelack 7-1 to win the 2022 SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys and Schoolgirls League's U14 Schoolboys Premier League title.

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SKIBBEREEN Eagles soared to the West Cork U14 Schoolboys Premier title thanks to four Joe Connolly goals at the Baltimore Road.

The Eagles entered their penultimate U14 Premier League fixture knowing victory would secure the trophy. A season-long battle between Skibbereen and Dunmanway Town saw the latter suffer a 2-0 defeat away to Kilgoban Rebels at the beginning of January. 

That result meant the Eagles entered Saturday’s clash at home to Castlelack two points clear of their nearest challengers. Skibb also had the additional cushion of a game in hand on Dunmanway. 

The visitors to the Baltimore Road had little to play for in their last Premier League game of the season. A fifth-placed Castlelack side had also not played a competitive league fixture since the beginning of December. The Brinny club underlined their capabilities on that occasion by holding second placed Dunmanway Town to a 3-3 draw in a high-scoring encounter.

This encounter saw Joe Connolly prove Skibbereen’s hero. The young Eagle netted four times in a 7-1 victory to copper-fasten the Baltimore Road club’s title win. 

Shane Halihane, Dylan Maloney and Niall O’Callaghan goals rounded off Skibbereen’s total in a commanding display. Joe Connolly, Shane Halihane, Niall O’Callaghan and Eamonn O’Callaghan were the pick of the champions’ top performers. Despite the loss, Castlelack’s Liam O’Donovan scored for a visiting team in which Sean Platt, Jack Chambers, Ronan O’Leary and Eoin Sexton played superbly.

Skibbereen Eagles’ successful 2022 campaign owes much to the even spread of goals amongst a talented group. Joe Connolly and Shane Hallihane accounted for the majority of the U14 Premier League champions’ goals. Dan McCarthy, Alex O’Donovan, Jack Dolan and Dylan O’Donoghue also weighed in with some important strikes.

Niall O’Callaghan, William O’Donovan, Oran Herlihy, Eammon O’Callaghan and Dylan Ryan were amongst the Eagles’ most consistent performers during a season the champions’ solitary league loss occurred at home to Kilgoban Rebels in only their second outing. It proved a rare setback during an otherwise unblemished U14 Premier campaign.

Skibb’s season is far from over as the Baltimore Road club are scheduled to face Ardfield in the last four of the SuperValu U14 Schoolboys Cup. The possibility of an U14 Premier League and Cup double remains very much alive. The Eagles will first have to make it through to that cup decider and then overcome Kilmichael Rovers.

The Skibbereen WCSSL U14 schoolboys squad includes Oran O’Donovan, Oran Herlihy, Niall O’Callaghan, Will O’Donovan, Dan McCarthy, Jacob O’Donoghue, Dylan O’Donoghue, Dylan Ryan, Joe McCarthy, Zach Crowley, Shane Hallihane, Eamonn O’Callaghan, Kian O’Callaghan, Joe Connolly, Jack Dolan, Eamonn O’Donovan, Alex O’Donovan, Billy O’Driscoll, Aaron O’Driscoll and Dylan Maloney.

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