TOGHER CELTIC 3
DRINAGH RANGERS 1
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
A JOHNNY Kelly hat-trick enabled Togher Celtic to overcome Drinagh Rangers and win the West Cork League Premier Division Cup at Ballyvackey.
Celtic upset the form book in last weekend’s decider, denying Drinagh a third cup success of the season and ending their campaign on a high following a terrific team display.
‘I’m absolutely over the moon with the way our lads performed,’ said Togher club stalwart Sean Crowley.
‘Any Togher versus Drinagh game, let alone a final, there is always a great old rivalry but also a healthy respect between the two clubs. It is a sweet moment when you win any cup and you know you’ve earned it if you’ve beaten a team as good as Drinagh.’
Johnny Kelly was the winners’ standout performer, netting a hat-trick and giving the Drinagh defence a torrid afternoon. Kelly proved Togher’s most potent attacking weapon, opening the scoring early in the first half and doubling his side’s advantage on the quarter hour.
An out-of-sorts Drinagh toiled hard in an effort to get back in the game but were repeatedly denied by a Togher defence for whom Kevin Hurley was in outstanding form.
Two-nil down, Rangers’ Tomás Connolly flicked a header inches wide as Drinagh piled on the pressure with quarter of an hour remaining but a combination of determined Togher defending and goalkeeper Ciarán Murray’s excellence kept the Canon Crowley Park side at bay.
Drinagh had little choice but to keep pushing forward and Celtic took full advantage, scoring for a third and decisive time late in the game. Johnny Kelly latched on to a perfectly weighted through ball and rounded outrushing goalkeeper Rob Oldham before slotting home from a narrow angle.
There was still time for Rangers to score a late consolation effort, Keith Jagoe forcing the ball over the line from a corner kick, but Togher Celtic saw out the remaining minutes to deservedly claim the 2017 West Cork League Premier Division Cup.
‘This is a vital cup final win for Togher as it might help attract a few younger players to the club,’ Sean Crowley admitted.
‘Some of our older players have always and still give absolutely everything for Togher, including Kevin Hurley who was outstanding for us again today. I have to mention our first team manager Johnny ‘Bubble’ Collins who is gone off on his honeymoon but did a fantastic job with the lads this year. He’ll enjoy the honeymoon a lot more when he hears of this result!’
Togher Celtic: Ciarán Murray, Ian Crowley, Fintan Collins, Kevin Hurley, Johnny Kelly, Darren Kelly, Johnny Hurley, Mark Shannon, Sean Crowley, Kevin Cotter, Niall Hurley.
Subs: Aidan Hurley, Robbie Ahern, Adrian Hurley, Ronan Daly, Denis O’Mahony, Dan Sweeney, Gareth Crowley.
Drinagh Rangers: Robert Oldham, JJ Collins, Darren Beamish, Robert O’Regan, Shane Connolly, Gavin Beamish, Tomás Connolly, Adrian O’Driscoll, Jamie Walsh, Barry O’Driscoll (H), Keith Jagoe.
Subs: JJ Hurley, Gearoid White, Daniel McCarthy.
Referee: Anthony McDermott.