Ger McCarthy hands out his end-of-season WCL awards

June 14th, 2023 1:00 PM

By Ger McCarthy

Dunmanway Town

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WITH the WCL season wrapped up Ger McCarthy hands out his end-of-year awards:

2023’s Pleasant Surprise trophy goes to Dunmanway Town Women’s adult team. Claiming a WCL Women’s 7-a-side league trophy was no small feat considering the quality of title-contenders, including Inter Kenmare, Drinagh Rangers and Beara United. Inter Kenmare gained a modicum of revenge by denying Dunmanway a Women’s League and Cup double, winning a cracking cup decider 4-3, but Town were the story of the season amongst the Women’s ranks.

There were plenty of contenders for this season’s Oh My Days What A Goal accolade. Robbie McQueen scored some absolute crackers in his midfield playmaking role for Premier Division champions, Drinagh Rangers. Clonakilty Soccer Club’s Joe Edmead lit up the Gareth O’Driscoll Premier Division Cup decider with two sublime efforts. In the end, I had to go with a terrific strike that occurred on one of the biggest stages of the year. Dunmanway Town led Bunratty United 1-0 in the Beamish Cup final at Turner’s Cross when the ball dropped invitingly to Will Hennigan, 20 yards from goal. Town’s midfielder took a touch before thundering an unstoppable shot into the back of the net. Hennigan’s goal was worthy of the occasion and earned his side a 2-1 victory.

Drinagh Rangers are worthy recipients of this season’s Kings of the WCL award.
The Canon Crowley Park club retained their Premier Division title in scintillating fashion, outlasting Dunmanway Town and Bunratty United. Losing only once in the league (at home to Mizen Hob on Oct 22, 2022), Don Hurley and Declan Deasy’s side retained their Premier title thanks to a marvellous defensive effort. Drinagh conceded a miserly 15 league goals throughout the entire campaign so it will take something extra-special to dethrone the champions next season. A 4-3 defeat of Clonakilty Soccer Club saw the Canon Crowley Park side add the Gareth O’Driscoll WCL Premier Division Cup to round off another memorable year.

Dunmanway Town are winners of the Not A Bad Year Considering award.
Finishing runners-up to Drinagh in the Premier Division title race, winning a third Beamish Cup in four years and annexing the Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup underlined Town’s credentials as one of the region’s best teams. Add in moving to a new home ground late in the season and it has been a hectic campaign that bodes well for Dunmanway’s immediate and long-term future.

Schull-based club Bunratty United are this year’s The Boys’ Done Well winners.
United ended the 2022 season with three trophies safely secured including the Championship Division title. There is a history of promoted clubs struggling in the WCL’s top tier however ,the step-up proving difficult and sometimes erasing all the good work that went before. That was not the case with Bunratty. Finishing third in the final league standings and going all the way to the Beamish Cup final at Turner’s Cross was a terrific return in United’s first year back in the top tier. A youthful Bunratty squad will be all the better for their exploits next season.

They won’t thank me for it but Clonakilty Soccer Club are recipients of the What Might Have Been award. Clon’s attractive brand of football makes them a pleasant watch but it was another campaign in which silverware eluded a talented squad. A fourth placed Premier Division finish, Beamish Cup preliminary round exit, Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup runners-up berth and similar Gareth O’Driscoll Premier Division runners-up position are not how John ‘Mousey’ Leahy and his players expected to end their campaign. If there is one club capable of challenging 2024’s frontrunners, it is Clonakilty Soccer Club.

The Sullane squad and mentors celebrate following their 2-0 Championship Cup final win over Mizen Hob B in Lyre.


The We Are Ready For The Big Time award is shared by Sullane and Beara United.
Two rural soccer clubs that have excelled, on and off the pitch, at adult and underage level, fully deserve their place in next season’s top tier. Sullane claimed this year’s Championship title by seven points, losing only twice and playing an attractive brand of football that yielded 61 goals. Adding the WCL Championship Cup brought the curtain down on a superb year. Beara will make a welcome return to the WCL Premier Division for 2023/24 off the back of an equally impressive Championship Division runners-up finish. These are two superbly organised clubs with vibrant underage sections, plenty of support and, crucially, hungry to make their mark next season.

2023’s Sneaky Good Season award goes to the Mizen Hob club. The Ballydehob and Mizen AFC amalgamation’s A team secured a respectable fifth-placed Premier Division finish. The club’s second team reached the WCL Championship Cup final only to come up short to Sullane.
Amalgamations are nothing new in West Cork GAA but one of the most high-profile soccer equivalents is proving a worthwhile venture.

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