Midlands shatter West Cork's Kennedy Cup dreams

June 15th, 2023 6:30 PM

By Ger McCarthy

The West Cork Academy U14 Schoolboys squad and mentors that is competing at this week's SFAI Kennedy Cup at the University of Limerick.

Share this article

West Cork Academy 0

Midlands 1


THE West Cork Academy’s dream of claiming a first-ever SFAI Kennedy Cup was cruelly ended by the Midlands at the University of Limerick on Thursday.

An even semi-final was delicately poised with just over 10 minutes remaining when the Midlands conjured up a goal out of nothing.

Bobby Linehan unleashed a terrific 25-yard effort that gave West Cork goalkeeper Daire Hurley no chance of saving.

It was a goal worthy of winning any game and the only strike of a tight encounter that finished 1-0.

Crestfallen at the final whistle, a West Cork Academy side, roared on by a huge attendance, gave everything they had.


Their first loss of what has been an amazing week at the University of Limerick was difficult to take for the West Cork players.

The rural Academy Cork won all four matches prior to facing the Midlands but failing to find the net during two prolonged periods of dominance proved their undoing in a tense quarter-final.

Applauded off by their loyal supporters, the West Cork Academy left it all out on the pitch amid hot and sweltering conditions.

Despite the defeat, this talented squad can make history when facing Wexford in tomorrow’s third and fourth placed play-off.

A victory would secure the West Cork Academy’s best ever SFAI Kennedy Cup finish.

That is the least this group deserves.


Alex Bramoulle and Tom Whooley stretched their opposing defence during the early exchanges.

West Cork goalkeeper Daire Hurley had to be alert to deny a long range Jamie Harvey effort from hitting the net inside five minutes. Christos Delis had his side’s first sight of goal shortly after but the Ardfield player’s effort was saved by Midlands goalkeeper Zac Mullaly.

Alex Bramoulle twice tested Mullaly with speculative efforts in subsequent attacks. Despite plenty of endeavour at both ends, an even game remained scoreless at the first water break.

Bobby Lenihan curled a 20-yard free-kick over the West Cork crossbar as the Midlands began to press higher up the pitch.

The West Cork team went close to exploiting extra space created in the final third when Zac Mulally raced from his line to prevent Tom Whooley from shooting after 23 minutes.

Conrad Murphy and Alex Bramoulle were prominent as West Cork finished the half on the attack. Tom Whooley walloped a volley inches over to conclude an even first half.

The Ardfield striker was a threat whenever in possession and burst clear five minutes after the resumption. Whooley’s goal-bound effort was superbly saved by Zac Mullaly.

West Cork couldn’t find the net from the resulting corner prior to Matthew Buttimer flicking a header wide from another set piece.

The Midlands reminded their opponents of their attacking quality after 43 minutes. Daire Hurley had to go full length to prevent a Rhuon Sousa header from nestling in the back of the net.

West Cork’s failure to score was cruelly punished after 48 minutes. Bobby Linehan lined up a shot from 25 yards out and his marvellous looping effort found the back of the net.

Deep into injury-time, a West Cork corner was headed against the crossbar by Matthew Buttimer and Sean Platt headed the rebound inches wide.

Though they toiled hard, West Cork could not conjure up a late equaliser and tasted defeat for the first time at the University of Limerick.

Tomorrow’s third and fourth placed play-off with Wexford offers hope of a highest-ever SFAI Kennedy Cup finish.

West Cork Academy: D Hurley, M Buttimer, L Holland, A Murphy, L Ryan, J O’Donovan (captain), C Delis, S Platt, A Bramoulle, N O’Sullivan, T Whooley.

Subs: K Duffy, P O’Sullivan, E O’Donovan, S McCarthy, M Kinsella, A O’Leary, C Murphy, E Hurley.

Midlands: Z Mulally, S Murrihy, J Zalewski, D Timmons, E Nelson, J Harvey, D Waldron, R Sousa, R Guinan, M Monaghan, B Linehan (captain).

Subs: M McAndrew, A Malone, P Spain, S Conka, D Corboy, P Duggan, D Rowan, D O’Reilly.

Referee: Mark Kennedy.


Share this article