DRINAGH Rangers brought the curtain down on a marvellous year by adding the SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U16 Cup to their Premier League trophy won earlier in the season.
Lyre was the venue for the rcent U16 Cup decider between Drinagh and Ardfield. The former had overcome Bunratty United (walkover) and Sullane (7-2) to reach the decider and kicked off as favourites. Ardfield came through a tough examination from Kilmichael Rovers in the semi-finals, winning 4-1, but were under pressure from the opening whistle.
Rangers got off to the perfect start with Tom McQueen finding the net inside three minutes. Drinagh didn’t sit on that early advantage and attacked at the earliest opportunity, stretching their opposing defence. Eoin Hurley made it 2-0 prior to Oran McCarthy getting his name on the scoresheet with eight minutes gone.
Ardfield steadied the ship and gained a temporary foothold but Drinagh’s ability to move the ball quickly from defence saw the Canon Crowley Park change ends 5-0 ahead. Tom McQueen and Eoin Hurley's efforts rounded off a terrific first-half performance.
The pattern of the U16 Cup final dominated by Drinagh changed little in the second period. Ardfield were unable to prevent Luke Shorten from twice finding the net in a half Eoin Hurley completed a superb individual display with his third and fourth strikes of the afternoon to make it 9-0.
So, there was doubting the winners of a one-sided cup final with Tom McQueen, Evan Fitzpatrick, Ryan O’Donovan, Eoin Hurley, Oran McCarthy and Cillian Collins playing superbly. A word too for Eloi Cos who was Ardfield’s best player on a disappointing day for the runners-up. Saturday’s cup final success came on the back of a commanding U16 Premier League title-winning campaign for the Canon Crowley Park club. Drinagh finished ahead of Bunratty United, Ardfield, Sullane and Kilmichael Rovers to win the U16 Premier trophy losing only once en route to the title. Goals were never an issue for a Rangers squad in which Oran McCarthy (16) and Eoin Hurley (15) combined for a marvellous 31 league and cup strikes. Tom McQueen, James Russell, Cormac O’Shanahan and Cillian Collins also weighed in with important strikes during a season Rangers lost only one of their eight league outings. There is every reason to expect this Drinagh Rangers squad to continue their winning ways at both U16 and possibly West Cork League U17 level in 2022, such is the depth and quality of their squad. 2021 was a difficult year due to Covid but the Canon Crowley Park side ends the season with two trophies and plenty of optimism.
Drinagh Rangers: Jack McSweeney, Ryan O’Donovan, Ryan Kelly, Adam Lordan, Caolan O’Donovan, Ben O’Donovan, Cormac O’Shanahan, Tom McQueen, Oran McCarthy, Cillian Collins, James Russell, Eoin Hurley, Cillian Whelton, Evan Fitzpatrick and Ben Coughlan.
Ardfield: Conor Whelton, George Cannon, Eloi Cos, Olan Murphy, James O’Donovan, Cillian O’Donovan, Ben Linehan, Colm Hayes, Cian O’Regan, Sam Mikulka, Ryan Hooton, Cillian White, Luca Aerts, Padraig Twomey, Eoin Farrell, Callum O’Sullivan, Aleksei Binzar, Sam Coffey, Pranav Prakash and Olan O’Donovan.