Sport

Motivation not an issue for Clonakilty

April 30th, 2022 11:09 AM

By Ger McCarthy

Clonakilty’s Gearoid Calnan battling with Dunmanway Town’s Cullan Barry

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JOHN Leahy hopes it will be third time lucky for Clonakilty Soccer Club in this Sunday’s West Cork League Beamish Cup final.

This is the third season in a row that Clonakilty have reached this stage of the competition, but Dunmanway Town broke Clon hearts in both 2020 and 2021.

An opportunity to atone for those losses as well as annexing the most famous trophy in West Cork League soccer means motivation will not be an issue against local rivals Lyre Rovers in Skibbereen this Sunday (2pm kick-off).

‘No, motivation will most certainly not be an issue in this year’s Beamish Cup final,’ Leahy says.

‘Had we lost to Dunmanway in the cup for the third year running, it would have been awful for us. Beating Dunmanway in the semi-final was a great result but facing Lyre is going to be a lot harder. That’s because everyone knows one each other so well. A lot of the lads are friends with fellas on the Lyre team so it is going to be a tough game.

‘It was great to get that monkey off our backs by beating Dunmanway. It was a savage semi-final as well so that should stand to us in the final.’

An amalgamation of two of Clonakilty’s soccer clubs, Clon AFC and Clon Town, it is 14 years since the Beamish Cup last resided in the Brewery Town. Clonakilty AFC defeated Bunratty United 2-0 on that occasion in 2008.

Fast forward to the 2022 season and Leahy’s side are also in the hunt for a first-ever Premier Division league title.

The Beamish Cup finalists currently trail Drinagh Rangers (leaders) by 13 points but with five games in hand.

‘We have one eye on the league, definitely this year, but the only problem with that is that every game is a three-pointer, a must-win for us,’ Leahy admits.

‘We won’t give up on the league until it is mathematically impossible for us not to win it. Everyone is ignoring Dunmanway Town who are very much in the title-race along with ourselves and Drinagh. They are very much still involved.’

Clonakilty’s path to this season’s Beamish Cup decider involved four consecutive away ties. Skibbereen were edged 2-1 before a 5-0 thumping of Castletown Celtic on February 7th. WCL Championship pacesetters Bunratty United’s were defeated 4-1 in early March.

Leahy’s side saved their best performance of the season at the neutral Baltimore Road venue on April 10th. The nemesis of their previous two Beamish Cup finals, Dunmanway, were knocked out following a five-goal thriller.

Liam Anthony White, Conor McKahey and Iain O’Driscoll scored to cement a cup final berth against Lyre.

‘It would be great for the lads (players), the club, the underage section and for the town of Clonakilty to win a Beamish Cup,’ Leahy says.

‘A few of us in the group have won trophies in other years but this group of players has really matured. We have a good squad now. We have a few injury worries, including my son Jonathan who is out with a leg injury, so that makes Lyre favourites in my eyes heading into Sunday.’

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