West Cork League 1
Limerick District 2
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
THE width of a post denied the West Cork League a point at home to Limerick District in the Oscar Traynor Cup at Canon Crowley Park last Sunday.
Down 2-0 after a disappointing start, the home side played their way back into contention and pulled a goal back through Barry O’Driscoll (H) shortly before the interval.
West Cork were superb in the second half, dominating possession and territory before coming within inches of an equaliser when Alan Dromey struck an upright.
Yet, despite a heroic effort the WCL couldn’t find a second as ten-man Limerick defended competently and held on for a 2-1 win.
West Cork set a brisk pace from the opening whistle and gave their opposing defence early issues with John Sheehan and Sean Ryan forcing visiting goalkeeper Aaron Savage into action. The home side’s work rate ensured a high tempo and a 4-5-1 formation restricted Limerick’s attacking options during much of an entertaining first quarter.
Chances were few but Jonathan Grant’s ability to hold up the ball and bring Kieran O’Connell and John Mullane into the game gave District a solid midfield base. A period of sustained pressure saw the visitors dominate possession and open the scoring courtesy of a well-crafted goal. A move that began deep in Limerick territory saw Dara Rainsford gain control of the ball wide on the left wing. Rainsford’s low cross was allowed drift across the six-yard box from where Shane Clarke took advantage of hesitant West Cork defending to flick the ball past a stranded Liam Corbett.
The West Cork League were indebted to their central defensive pairing of JJ Collins and Stephen Keohane for some important interventions during a difficult spell. Goalkeeper Liam Corbett’s competence helped steady the home side’s nerves before the WCL created their best opening of the first half. Barry O’Driscoll (T) delivered a superb free-kick towards the far post where John Sheehan directed a header into the side-netting.
That scare saw Limerick District move up through the gears and quickly reassume control. Anchored by the excellent John Mullane in central midfield plus flying wingers Dara Rainsford and Alex Purcell, Limerick forced West Cork on the back foot before doubling their advantage. Rainsford’s perfectly delivered corner was met by Dermot Fitzgerald and the central defender’s bullet header gave Liam Corbett no chance to make it 2-0.
The game looked to be drifting away from West Cork until the home side pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time. Limerick failed to deal with a routine Barry O’Driscoll (T) corner and his fellow Drinagh club mate Barry O’Driscoll (H) forced the ball home to halve the deficit.
That strike reinvigorated the home side and saw West Cork enjoy a positive spell immediately after the restart. A succession of corners forced Limerick District into some hurried clearances before Barry O’Driscoll (T) chipped a free-kick inches over the crossbar after 55 minutes.
In the final 20 minutes the WCL committed additional numbers forward in search of an equaliser. A swift counter-attack that emanated from JJ Collins bringing the ball out defence ended with Kilmichael Rovers’ Alan Dromey rattling a post before a relieved Limerick defence managed to clear the ball away from danger.
Despite a much-improved West Cork second-half performance, only a flying one-handed Liam Corbett save denied Shane Clarke but that would be the visitors’ only clear-cut chance in the second half.
West Cork’s chances of grabbing a point were increased with Pat Mullins’ dismissal (second yellow card) 15 minutes from the end.
The WCL emptied their substitute’s bench but were almost caught out by a late sucker-punch when Adrian Power was presented with a straightforward chance. Once again, Liam Corbett produced a magnificent stop to keep the score at 2-1.
West Cork League: Liam Corbett (Clonakilty AFC), Finbarr Butler (Clonakilty Town), Barry O’Driscoll (T) (Drinagh Rangers), JJ Collins (Drinagh Rangers), Stephen Keohane (Riverside Athletic), John Sheehan (Clonakilty Town), Sean Ryan (Spartak Mossgrove), Barry O’Driscoll (H) (Drinagh Rangers), Paul Hickey (Drinagh Rangers), Billy O’Brien (Castletown Celtic), Jamie Walsh (Drinagh Rangers).
Subs: Tim Healy (Dunmanway Town), Liam Cahalane (Drinagh Rangers), Alan Dromey (Kilmichael Rovers), Colm Dromey (Kilmichael Rovers), Daniel McCarthy (Drinagh Rangers) and Stephen O’Donovan (Dunmanway Town).
Limerick District League: Aaron Savage, Danny O’Neill, Jonathan Hanafin, Pat Mullins, Dermot Fitzgerald, John Mullane, Alex Purcell, Kieran O’Connell, Shane Clarke, Jonathan Grant, Dara Rainsford.
Subs: Eddie O’Donovan, Mike Guerin, Adrian Power, Jack Barry, Peter Healy and Danny Butler.
Referee: Patrick Hurley.