Drinagh Rangers 2
Lyre Rovers 0
DRINAGH Rangers claimed their fourth trophy of the season following victory over Lyre Rovers in Saturday’s West Cork League Beamish Cup final at the Baltimore Road.
Premier Division League, Premier Division and Michael Cronin Cup trophies already safely tucked away, Rangers used all their experience to overcame the loss of two influential midfielders and earn a deserved Beamish Cup success.
The Canon Crowley Park club got off to the worst possible start by losing both of their central midfielders to injury inside the first two minutes. Robert O’Regan and Don O’Driscoll were forced off, the latter after a lengthy delay, and replaced by Jamie Walsh and Gearoid White.
Playing in a more withdrawn role, Johnny Leahy helped Lyre dominate the opening period while his midfield partners Ricky O’Flynn and Gearoid Barry also got through a huge amount of work.
Rangers slowly played their way into the final following their bad start. Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Tomás Connolly’s work-rate kept Rovers back four busy and Barry O’Driscoll (T)’s free-kick delivery ensured the Canon Crowley Park side were always a threat from set pieces.
An engaging Cup decider’s opening goal arrived courtesy of a superb move with Gearoid White bursting down the left wing and crossing for Tomás Connolly to slot home from close range.
Worse was to follow for a Lyre Rovers side rattled by the concession of that first goal when Drinagh doubled their advantage shortly after hitting the front. Barry O’Driscoll (H) rose highest to plant a Gavin Beamish corner in the back of the net, leaving Lyre with a huge mountain to climb.
A succession of corners and crosses saw Rob Oldham called into action prior to the Rangers goalkeeper gathering a long-range Gearoid Barry attempt.
Two-nil down, Rovers enjoyed their most productive period but were susceptible to the counter-attack and it took a fine Brian Walsh save to deny Tomás Connolly from netting his second of the evening.
Chances were harder to come by during a sometimes tough-tackling second period until Barry O’Driscoll (H) crossed for Keith Jagoe to head narrowly wide and the former had another effort cleared off the line by Mark Shorten.
Frustrated with numerous refereeing decisions, Rovers threatened sporadically, unable to utilise Johnny Leahy and Shane O’Donovan’s pace, as Jamie Walsh and Keith Jagoe locked down the midfield area. Tomás Connolly fired a speculative attempt wide of the target for a Drinagh team happy to sit deep and get numbers behind the ball.
A combination of Rob Oldham and three Drinagh defenders prevented Gearoid Barry from pulling a goal back but in truth, Lyre lacked a killer instinct in the final third capable of troubling their opposing defence.
Rovers forced a series of corners during the closing stages, man-of-the-match Ricky O’Flynn heading inches wide from one delivery, but Drinagh never looked in danger of losing their two-goal advantage before captain Barry O’Mahony (H) lifted the famous Beamish Cup trophy.
• Special praise to Skibbereen AFC on the magnificent state of their pitch and facilities for Saturday’s final.
Drinagh Rangers: Rob Oldham, JJ Collins, Daniel McCarthy, Barry O’Driscoll (T), Don O’Driscoll, Rob O’Regan, Tomás Connolly, Gavin Beamish, Paul Hickey, Barry O’Driscoll (H) (captain), Keith Jagoe.
Subs: JJ Hurley, Gearoid White, Ian Jennings, Jamie Walsh, Shane Connolly.
Lyre Rovers: Brian Walsh, Ethan Draper, Jack Cowhig, Michael Keohane (captain), John Clancy, Gearoid Barry, Ricky O’Flynn, Cian O’Donovan, Shane O’Donovan, Jonathan Leahy, Kieran Fitzpatrick.
Subs: Mark Shorten, Kevin Cormican, Aidan Collins, Alan O’Sullivan, Paul Foley.
Referee: Shane O’Neill.