Drinagh Rangers 2
(Skibbereen won 4-2 on penalties aet)
SKIBBEREEN caused a major upset in the Beamish Cup by knocking out last year’s runners-up, and 2017 and 2018 winners, Drinagh Rangers at Canon Crowley Park last Sunday.
A marvellous first-round cup clash took a while to get going before exploding into life midway through the second half.
Drinagh broke the deadlock courtesy of Gearoid White only for Skibb’s Jamie Hourihane to scorch home a free-kick five minutes from the end.
That meant extra-time, a period in which Rangers twice struck an upright and had penalty appeals waved away. Skibbereen held their ground and looked set for a famous win when JP Reen rounded Rob Oldham to make it 2-1 close to the final whistle.
Drinagh are not one of the most decorated clubs in West Cork history for nothing however and were level within 60 seconds when substitute Adrian O’Driscoll netted.
A penalty shootout was required to decide who would travel to Spartak Mossgrove in the last 16 and it was Skibbereen who held their nerve, winning 4-2 on spot-kicks.
This was an afternoon a full-strength Skibbereen underlined their ability to mix it with the best in the West Cork League. Despite playing a division below Drinagh, the Baltimore Road club were full value for their win thanks to Richie Fitzgerald, Brian Hodnett, Jamie Hourihane, Niall McCarthy and JP Reen’s work rate.
As for Rangers, an inability to build on their early lead and wastefulness in the final third means the Canon Crowley Park club will not be involved in a Beamish Cup final for the first time in four years. They could have little complaint having conceded possession and territory for long stretches of a tie Barry O’Driscoll (H), Mike Mennis, Rob O’Regan and Keith Jagoe impressed.
Skibbereen shaded a scoreless first half even though Drinagh came closest to netting through a disallowed Barry O’Driscoll (H) effort for offside. The visitor’s John O’Donovan missed the target when put clean through early in the second period before a superb O’Driscoll (H) pass found Gearoid White to edge Drinagh ahead after 65 minutes.
Cian Coughlan was denied an equaliser by a superb Barry O’Driscoll (T) sliding challenge and the Premier Division leaders looked set for victory until Jamie Hourihane curled in a magnificent free-kick after 85 minutes.
Extra-time produced an increased tempo and first half in which Drinagh hit a post. Rangers continued to look threatening when Barry O’Driscoll (H) struck another upright at the beginning of the second period.
Yet, Skibbereen remained a threat on the counter-attack and celebrated wildly when JP Reen handed the Baltimore Road side the lead shortly before the end. Aidan O’Driscoll levelled within a minute but Skibb secured victory via a penalty shootout and ended Drinagh’s interest in this season’s competition.
Drinagh Rangers: Rob Oldham, Darren Beamish, JJ Collins, Barry O’Driscoll (T), Donal O’Donovan, Gearoid White, Mike Mennis, Robert O’Regan, Keith Jagoe, Barry O’Driscoll (H), Tomás Connolly (captain). Subs: Gavin Beamish, Shane Connolly, Adrian O’Driscoll, Robbie McQueen, Jamie Walsh.
Skibbereen: Lee Miles, Jason O’Donovan, Richie Fitzgerald (captain), Rob Hegarty, Noel McCarthy, Brian Hodnett, Jamie Hourihane, Niall McCarthy, JP Reen, John O’Donovan, Jaaf Regragui. Subs: Kevin O’Regan, Chubba O’Mahony, Mark Keohane, Cian Coughlan, Cathal Carlos, John Allan.
Referee: Martin Coakley.