Rangers capture Parkway Cup for the very first time
Drinagh Rangers 1
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
GEAROID White’s second-half strike saw Drinagh Rangers defeat Skibbereen 1-0 and claim the Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup at Mohona on Easter Sunday.
The Premier Division side warmed up for their Beamish Cup decider against Bantry Bay Rovers with a workman-like performance to see off a dogged Skibbereen. Despite playing a division below their opponents, the Baltimore Road outfit proved more than a match throughout an engaging 90 minutes but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal.
‘We are delighted to win it and especially delighted with the effort the lads put in,’ said Drinagh Rangers co-manager Declan Deasy.
‘It wasn’t an easy day to play football and Skibbereen battled for everything. At the end of the day, we got the winning goal but they missed a great chance near the end so luck was with us and we are just absolutely thrilled.’
Drinagh co-manager Don Hurley added: ‘We are delighted to win the Parkway Cup as it is a trophy Drinagh has never won before. We have four weeks until the Beamish Cup final and a lot of preparation to do.’
Skibbereen enjoyed a positive start, affording their opposing back four little time on the ball thanks to Cian Coughlan and Chubo O’Mahony’s combined efforts. It was Drinagh who created the final’s first goalscoring opportunity with Gearoid White’s goal-bound attempt blocked by a Skibbereen defender.
Apart from that effort, clear-cut chances were limited and there was little to choose between the sides.
Liam Cahalane was called upon to make saves from consecutive Skibbereen free-kicks before the Canon Crowley Park side upped the tempo, Barry O’Driscoll (H), Gearoid White and Robert O’Regan’s neat passing threatening to open up the Division 1 side’s defence.
Yet, despite both team’s best attacking endeavours, effective offside traps ensured a tight final remained 0-0 even though Rangers had a penalty appeal waved away and an effort ruled out for an infringement.
The goal a cup final had been crying out for arrived four minutes into the second period. Gearoid White was fouled wide on the left wing but dusted himself down before racing into the box and connecting with Robert O’Regan’s delivery to break the deadlock.
Skibbereen required a brilliant Lee Miles save to prevent Barry O’Driscoll (H) from making it 2-0 shortly after and were even more fortunate when Barry O’Driscoll (T)’s free-kick came back off the crossbar.
But Rangers’ inability to kill off Skibbereen’s challenge saw the Division 1 side see out a torrid spell before JP Reen brought the best out of Liam Cahalane. Unfortunately, the Drinagh goalkeeper suffered an injury requiring the cup final to be halted for a time before a medical response unit arrived to tend to the stricken player.
Rob Oldham took over between the sticks once play resumed and Rangers immediately pressed forward in search of second. Keith Jagoe fired an effort inches wide before Lee Miles hacked a Paul Hickey attempt clear but Skibbereen continued to defend doggedly and had the ball in the net only for the referee to disallow the effort after 72 minutes.
A frantic final quarter saw Skibbereen commit additional numbers forward but repeatedly fall foul of Drinagh’s well-drilled offside trap. In response, Rangers created multiple chances on the counter-attack but Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Gearoid White were both guilty of wasting opportunities they’d normally expect to convert.
Skibb had one final chance to force extra time but John Hodnett’s snap-shot was gathered by Rob Oldham and Drinagh Rangers ran out 1-0 winners before accepting the Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup from main sponsor Martin Maybury.
Drinagh Rangers: Liam Cahalane, JJ Collins, Barry O’Driscoll (T), Darren Beamish, Robert O’Regan, Barry O’Driscoll (H), Gavin Beamish, Gearoid White, Tomás Connolly, Keith Jagoe (captain), Paul Hickey.
Subs: JJ Hurley, Adrian O’Driscoll, Shane Connolly, Paraic White, Rob Oldham.
Skibbereen: Lee Miles, Rob Hegarty, Richie Fitzgerald, James Reen (captain), Stephen O’Brien, John O’Donovan, John Hodnett, JP Reen, Brian Hodnett, Cian Coughlan, Chubo O’Mahony.
Subs: Jason O’Donovan, Aidan Walsh, Ramunas Shiplac, Niall O’Regan.
Referee: John Corcoran.