MIZEN AFC rounded off a memorable West Cork League season by edging Aultagh Celtic 1-0 for the Championship division’s cup in Schull.
‘It was a great performance by the lads because Aultagh really brought the game to us,’ Mizen AFC manager Daniel O’Callaghan told The Southern Star.
‘It was tight enough when we played Aultagh in the Championship this year. We managed to score an injury-time winner. This Championship Cup victory was just as tight so everyone is delighted with the victory.’
Amazingly, Mizen’s path to West Cork League cup glory began with a 5-3 preliminary round win at home to Kilbrittain Rovers back on December 29th, 2019. One mid-season break and global pandemic later, Mizen surprisingly received a walkover from promotion rivals Spartak Mossgrove before defeating Baltimore 4-3 in a cracking semi-final.
That set up a meeting with another rising star of the West Cork League, Aultagh Celtic, in the WCL Championship Cup decider at Town Park in Schull last Sunday afternoon. There was little to choose between the teams at the end of a scoreless opening half. That scenario remained unchanged until Darren O’Donovan popped with a priceless second-half strike. O’Donovan’s goal proved the difference as Mizen ran out 1-0 winners.
Already promoted back to the top flight, the importance of lifting silverware is not lost on Mizen’s manager. There will be little time to bask in the glow of this latest success but O’Callaghan understands the importance of winning a trophy as a timely boost for the local community.
‘This means a lot because, every year, we are there or thereabouts but have never been able to get our hands on any silverware,’ O’Callaghan admitted.
‘I think 2014 was the last time we enjoyed that kind of success by winning the old First Division. That’s why this Championship Cup trophy means a lot to us. Yes, we got promotion, something we badly wanted, but it is always nice to bring a trophy back to the club. We can’t wait to get up to the Premier and have a rattle off that.’
Next season will be one to relish for a Mizen squad that could have had 27 players togged out for Sunday’s WCL Championship success. The prospect of local derbies against Durrus and Ballydehob has O’Callaghan and his players itching to get going once again.
‘We were restricted to 20 players for last Sunday’s final but had 27 players willing to tog out,’ the Mizen AFC manager said.
‘That’s a big deal for a small parish like Goleen. There were a lot of young lads involved too which creates competition for places. That’s been a driving force in Mizen’s success this year because you end up having a different starting eleven each week. ‘As for the new season, it will all depend on how we start. I believe we should aim big, aim for the top and then take your season as it comes. Spartak have a great team and we ran them close for the title. They could challenge next year so why not us as well?
‘As for the rest of the Premier Division, bring them on! We can’t wait for the local derbies because you can’t beat them. If there were crowds allowed, what an atmosphere games with Durrus and Ballydehob would create. Either way Mizen cannot wait for the new season.’
Mizen AFC: Ronan Kennedy, David Farrell, Daniel O'Callaghan. Shane O'Sullivan, David O'Leary, Patrick Scully (captain), Daniel O'Driscoll, James Scully, Sean Sheehan, Gerald O'Callaghan, Darren O'Donovan, Chris Kennedy, Peter Sheehan, Michael O'Reilly, Patrick Sheehan, Jack O'Driscoll, Jimmy O'Regan, Michael Sheehan, Mark O'Reilly, John Supple, Shane O'Mahony, John Cullinane, Padraig Reidy, Ross O'Connell and Shane O'Leary. Management: Brian Clarke, Pat Moynihan, David Coughlan. Club sponsors: Goleen Developments ltd, Denny O'Mearas Bar.