TOGHER Celtic claimed their fourth West Cork League trophy in as many years following victory in the 2020 Gareth O’Driscoll Premier Cup final.
Celtic ended a 22-year wait for the Beamish Cup and added the Micheál Cronin Cup in 2019 having claimed the Gareth O’Driscoll Cup a year before.
Recognised as one of the most consistent clubs in the WCL, Togher made up for a disappointing end to their 2020 campaign by overcoming Drinagh Rangers in the Gareth O’Driscoll Premier Cup decider a fortnight ago. Celtic defeated their rivals 2-1 after extra-time thanks to Garret Crowley and Darren Kelly efforts.
A fourth trophy in four years represented a positive end to an unprecedented season.
‘It has been a very strange year and Togher’s form up to when the pandemic started was mixed,’ Celtic’s Niall Hurley said.
‘That’s why it was great to finish off with a trophy. We had a very consistent team last year and ended up winning the Beamish Cup. Maybe we lacked that bit of consistency this past season, especially when you consider Ian Crowley broke his leg in our first game.
‘I think we restarted well after the lockdown ended. That helped us in the build-up to the (Gareth O’Driscoll) cup final where we faced Drinagh. It was a great finish to the year to get a result like that against the Premier Division champions.’
Mark Shanahan echoed his team-mate’s sentiments and pointed to the Celtic squad’s growing hunger for success as a primary reason in overcoming Drinagh.
‘Rangers are the most consistent team in the West Cork League and that’s where we (Togher) are trying to get to,’ Shanahan said. ‘It was important to win the Gareth O’Driscoll Premier Cup but we need to start producing that kind of performance week in and week out. We really need to kick on in the Premier Division.’
Four trophies in as many years underlines Togher Celtic’s progress. That consistency will be vital heading into a new West Cork League campaign with the Premier Division bolstered by Spartak Mossgrove, Mizen AFC and Riverside Athletic’s promotion.
‘The quality of the new Premier Division is something we have been discussing for a while now,’ admitted Niall Hurley.
‘We don’t know what format the new league will take but there will be no easy games anyway. Look at Spartak, one of our bogey teams, who beat us in this year’s Beamish Cup. Mizen just won a trophy and we have had some good battles with Riverside over the years. It is great to see them back as well.
‘The competitiveness in the Premier Division is going to be something else this season. Your stomach would nearly turn with the thought of it!’
Mark Shanahan added: ‘We know how important it is to get off to a good start and especially this season. We struggled with injuries a bit this past year but are focussed on hitting the ground running right from the start after winning the Gareth O’Driscoll Premier Cup trophy. Hopefully, the local GAA season will be more or less finished and we can get a strong Togher squad rolling once again.’