Riverside Athletic 3
Dunmanway Town 1
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
RIVERSIDE Athletic were crowned West Cork League PremierHiSpecCars.com Premier Division champions for the first time in the club’s history at Castletownkenneigh last Sunday.
Requiring a victory in their final league game at home to Dunmanway Town, Chris Daly converted two penalties and Peter Daly netted late on to secure the trophy for a delighted Riverside squad and their supporters.
‘This is an amazing achievement as it was not long ago we were down in Division 2,’ said Riverside captain Jason Collins.
‘The last six or seven years have been extraordinary as we gained promotions, won the Beamish Cup and now the Premier Division trophy as well. To be fair, it is all down to the squad and huge effort everyone has put in over the season.
‘To win the Premier League while staying undefeated is also a major achievement. Our managers, Gearoid Harrington and Stephen Keohane, deserve massive credit too. Niall Kelleher, Rory O’Connor and Gearoid are away in America at the minute and we won it for them!’
Neither side settled during a frantic opening quarter with both goalkeepers, Brian Corcoran and Tom Murphy, called into action.
Murphy was quickly off his line to deny Jack Hurley ahead of a terrific Dunmanway scoring opportunity after 12 minutes. Barry O’Donovan latched onto Patrick McCarthy’s through ball but chipped his effort wide with only Brian Corcoran to beat.
Riverside’s net-minder had to go full-length to prevent Brian McCarthy from opening the scoring a minute later as Town embarked on a dominant spell. Tim Healy, Cathal O’Donovan and Declan O’Dwyer kept Dunmanway on the offensive but an inability to find a way past central defenders Chris Daly and Stephen Keohane thwarted Town’s attempts to break the deadlock.
Athletic finished the opening half strongly with John Daly and Michael O’Driscoll firing inches wide before the hosts were awarded a penalty on 37 minutes. Jack Hurley was brought down en route to goal and Chris Daly converted the resulting spot-kick to hand Riverside a 1-0 lead.
The Castletownkenneigh-based club wasted a great chance to double their lead when Peter Daly shot wide from close range and were punished when Dunmanway netted a scrappy equaliser a minute after the restart. Barry O’Donovan won a free-kick on the edge of the box and his delivery was flicked into the back of the net by Tim Healy to make it 1-1.
That leveller kick-started a terrific period with opportunities created at either end. A draw was of little use to the league leaders and Tom Murphy had to be alert to deny Brian McCarthy and Peter Daly before Dunmanway inexplicably conceded their second penalty of the afternoon.
An unnecessary foul in a crowded penalty area presented Chris Daly with an opportunity to restore Riverside’s lead and the defender stroked home his second penalty to push Athletic 2-1 in front with 25 minutes to go.
Admirably, Dunmanway pressed forward despite having nothing to play for, forcing Riverside to defend in numbers and counter-attack for the remainder of the fixture. One breakaway resulted in John Daly releasing Peter Daly to wrap up the Premier Division title for Riverside Athletic seven minutes from the end.
Riverside Athletic: Brian Corcoran, Billy O’Brien, Rory Baggott, Chris Daly, Stephen Keohane, John Daly, Michael O’Driscoll, Tiernan O’Driscoll, Brian McCarthy, Peter Daly, Jack Hurley.
Subs: Kevin O’Donovan, Cormac Lordan, Michael Murphy, Noel Lane, Neville Maybury, Mark O’Driscoll, Robbie Crowley, Jason Collins (captain).
Dunmanway Town: Tom Murphy, Ray Jennings, John Healy, Barry O’Neill, Declan O’Dwyer (captain), Aidan O’Donovan, Tim Healy, Cathal O’Donovan, Patrick McCarthy, Brian McCarthy, Barry O’Donovan.
Subs: Padraigh McCarthy, Ted Coakley.
Referee: Paul McDermott.