Clonakilty SC 2
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
CLONAKILTY Soccer Club needed extra-time to see off Skibbereen in the opening round of the 2022 West Cork League Beamish Cup last Sunday.
Jonathan Leahy and Alan Ward (penalty) strikes either side of a JP Reen spot-kick earned the Premier Division side a hard-fought victory over their Championship opponents.
Skibbereen produced a battling display, full of endeavour, on the club’s Baltimore Road home ground, but it wasn’t enough to prevent last year’s Beamish Cup runners-up from progressing.
The victory may have come at a cost however, as Clonakilty suffered injuries to three key players ahead of a critical period in the Premier Division title race.
A lively opening spell saw both goalkeepers called into action. Clonakilty’s decision to press high up the pitch reaped dividends inside the fifth minute. A move that emanated down the right wing ended with Jonathan Leahy scoring from close range to edge the visitors in front.
Skibbereen showed plenty of ambition in response but lacked a killer pass in the final third despite Mark Collins and Barry Collins’ best efforts. Lone striker Jamie Hourihane was another to trouble Clon’s defence and had to be closely watched by Paul Daly and Reuben Henry throughout the game.
Goal scorer Leahy had to retire injured after 11 minutes, representing a blow to the Ballyvackey side’s attacking options.
A quiet cup tie began finally to open up midway through the first half. Mark Collins curled a free-kick narrowly wide prior to Clonakilty’s Liam Anthony White watching a goal-bound effort blocked following excellent Conor McKahey approach work.
Alan Murphy and Chris Collins’ midfield promptings enabled the Premier Division side to enjoy sustained periods of possession and an increasingly confident Clonakilty could have put the result beyond doubt on the half hour.
First, Liam Anthony White headed over from an Eoin Ryan centre before an unmarked Iain O’Driscoll failed to find the target from six yards. Next, O’Driscoll scorched a long-range effort inches wide and Paul Daly hooked an effort over the crossbar either side of the break.
Losing the former and Liam Anthony White to injury stretched the visitor’s resources and Skibbereen looked to take advantage. Mark and Barry Collins’ increased efforts saw Skibb enjoy a positive spell and Jamie Hourihane came within inches of levelling after 55 minutes. Clonakilty’s Conor McKahey went just as close 60 seconds later before his team mate Chris Collins forced Lee Miles into a marvellous save.
Miles was the busier goalkeeper during the closing stages but it was the visitors who were fortunate not to concede an equaliser after 74 minutes. Mark Collins stole in at the far post only to see his angled effort clear the crossbar.
Clonakilty looked set for victory until Mark Collins was brought down in the penalty area seven minutes from the end. JP Reen made no mistake from the spot to send the tie to extra-time.
The first period burst into life with the hosts having penalty appeals waved away before Kevin O’Regan handled in the box at the opposite end. Alan Ward calmly dispatched the resulting spot-kick to restore Clonakilty’s lead. Late chances at either end failed to produce another goal and Clonakilty progressed to the next round of the Beamish Cup despite Skibbereen’s best efforts.
Skibbereen: Lee Miles (captain), Jason O’Donovan, Jack O’Brien, Noel McCarthy, Denis O’Regan, Aaron O’Regan, Barry Collins, Mark Collins, Kevin O’Regan Jamie O’Driscoll, Carl McPherson. Subs: Liam Dearle, John Davis, John O’Donovan, Isaac Harte, JP Reem, Dylan Murray, Conor Hourihane.
Clonakilty Soccer Club: Seamus O’Donovan, Paul Daly, James Horan, Eoin Ryan, Reuben Henry, Daniel Lane, Conor McKahey, Chris Collins (captain), Alan Murphy, Jonathan Leahy, Iain O’Driscoll. Subs: Fiachra O’Connor, Ferdia McCarthy, Aidan Pendlebury, Eoin Hartnett, Gearoid Calnan, John Hayes, Alan Ward.
Referee: Paul McDermott (WCL).