DRINAGH Rangers clinched their second West Cork League trophy of the season following an incredible 7-4 victory over Clonakilty Soccer Club in the recent Premier Division Gareth O’Driscoll Cup final.
Two-one down at the interval, Rangers hit back during a wild second period that concluded 4-4 in Brinny.
Extra-time was needed to decide the outcome where the depth of Drinagh’s squad proved critical. The Canon Crowley Park club scored three times without reply to add the Gareth O’Driscoll Cup to the Premier Division title won a few weeks before.
Drinagh are not finished yet as they face Bunratty United in this weekend’s Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup decider. An opportunity to win a third trophy would wrap up another magnificent season for a club that has integrated plenty of raw talent over the past 12 months.
One of those youngsters, Eoin Hurley, netted a hat-trick in last Sunday’s cup final. The evergreen Barry O’Driscoll (H) did likewise. Gearoid White also got his name on the Rangers scoresheet. Iain O’Driscoll (2) and Aidan Pendlebury (2) were Clonakilty’s scorers.
‘It was a good game even though we started poorly and there were a few defensive mix-ups,’ Drinagh co-manager Don Hurley commented.
‘We were 2-0 down and 4-2 up but Clonakilty kept going and took it to extra-time. Thankfully, we were able to score a couple of goals and seal the win. A lot of mistakes but a lot of good goals scored as well.
‘Eoin Hurley scored a hat-trick in a cup final for us and he has just turned 16. Liam McCarthy (19) also started for us. It is great to have been able to bring in a lot of young fellas this year.
‘We honestly didn’t expect to win the league at the start of the year with so many changes in the squad. Thankfully, things worked out great for us.”
A season that promised so much has ended in disappointment for a Clonakilty side that finished third in the Premier Division, and runners-up in both the Beamish Cup and Gareth O’Driscoll Cup competitions. Manager John ‘Mousey’ Leahy was proud of his squad’s efforts especially in last Sunday’s final in Brinny.
‘We were missing nine players including two substitutes who came on in the Beamish Cup final against Drinagh last Sunday,’ Leahy said.
‘The 12 available players we had went out against Drinagh and really put it up to them. We just ran out of legs in extra-time. It was a great game, a brilliant, brilliant advert for the West Cork League.
‘Looking back over our season, maybe our runs in the Munster Junior and Beamish Cups caught up with us when it came to challenging for the league. Injuries caught us the last day. It is hard to cope with nine players absent from your Beamish Cup squad in a final but the lads that togged out were absolutely brilliant.
‘Fair play to Drinagh, they won it but Clonakilty Soccer Club’s time is coming!’
Drinagh Rangers: Robert Oldham, Gearoid White, JJ Collins, Daniel McCarthy, Robbie McQueen, Tom McQueen, Sean Calnan, Eoin Hurley, Barry O’Driscoll (H), Barry O’Driscoll (T), Keith Jagoe. Subs: Shane Connolly, Liam McCarthy, Tomás Connolly, Jack Payne-Murphy.
Clonakilty Soccer Club: Seamus O’Brien, Reuben Henry, Eoin Hartnett, Ferdia McCarthy, Chris Collins, Chris O’Donovan, Fiachra O’Connell, Aidan Pendlebury, Iain O’Driscoll, Gearoid Calnan, James Horan. Sub: Alan Ward.
Referee: Tim McDermott.