There was a reduced weekend of games, with many teams across the Divisions now complete. There was, however, a significant evening on Saturday evening with the long-running Weekly Observer Desmond Cup final down for decision. Elsewhere, the third League title, Division Two, was decided last Thursday. In the Premier, more of the meaningful affairs were sorted, but we are still uncertain as to the destination of the biggest one of the lot – the Premier Division title – which will go right to the wire next weekend.
Weekly Observer Desmond Cup Final
Glin Rovers 0-0 Dromore Utd – Dromore Win 4-2 on penalties AET
Dromore United made history for themselves as they sealed a Desmond Cup crown, with a penalty shootout victory over Glin Rovers in Mick Hanley Park on Saturday evening. A downpour just prior to kick-off as well as constant rain for all of the 90 minutes meant that it was a difficult evening for good football. Neither side did themselves justice, especially in an attacking sense with neither goalkeeper overly worked throughout the regulation time. The closest we did come to a breakthrough was a fine Ryan Kelly effort from the edge of the area which rebounded off the base of the post. Glin did have more possession and territory throughout, but they were unable to break down a organised United defence. Captain Barry Walsh sat deep at the heart of the defence, while the Dromore front three pressed well at different times.
Glin piled on the pressure in the second-period of extra-time, with chances for brothers Ajay and Zak Behan. James Ranahan made a find save from Tommy Culhane. Right at the last, an lofted effort was headed off the line by Tiernan Meaney ensuring penalties were required.
The shootout, which Glin went first in, saw Paul Sheehan and Gary Culhane the first two for Rovers. In reply, Ryan Kelly and Shaun Barry. Teenager James Ranahan saved from James Wallace before another teenager, Ben Higgins gave Dromore the advantage. Jack Sheehan was denied by another Ranahan save. This gave another youngster, Tiernan Meaney, the honour of scoring the winning penalty. The rain mattered little as the Kildimo-Pallaskenry celebrations began.
Billy O’Sullivan and Damien Neville’s side have now won both the Division One League Cup and the Desmond Cup, in their maiden season since merging Division One clubs Kildimo United and Pallaskenry.
Dromore United: James Ranahan; Ben Higgins, Shaun Barry, Barry Walsh (C), Ciaran Barry; Darren Walsh, Mossy Sheehan, Oran Kelly; Ryan Kelly, Tiernan Meaney, Ciaran Galvin.
Subs Used: Cian O’Neill, Eoin Mulvihill.
Glin Rovers: Mike Stack; Marty McSweeney (C) Tadhg Culhane, Gary Culhane, Brian Donovan; Garry Kelly, Tommy Culhane, Jack Sheehan, Zack Behan; Shane Culhane, Paul Sheehan.
Subs Used: James Wallace, Ajay Behan.
Officials: Pat O’Connor, Eugene Noonan, Pat King, Pat O’Donnell.
Weekly Observer Premier Division
Rathkeale AFC 1-1 Creeves Celtic
It took a second-half own goal to rescue a point for Rathkeale, which ensures that the league title race will go to the very final day. Eoin McEnery opened the scoring inside 20 minutes, with Creeves looking to seal their spot in the Division. The same plater went closest to doubling the advantage in the third quarter, hitting the post. But Rathkeale dug deep and found an equaliser. Sean O’Shea was involved as the ball ended up in the net via a Creeves player, but Rathkeale couldn’t find a winner which would have made the final day much more manageable.
A trip to Clarina to face Breska Rovers who have nothing to play for, will be a game that you’d feel Rathkeale will have to win. On the assumption that they win, and Broadford defeat both Glin Rovers (at home) and Ballingarry (away), the League title will be decided with a play-off. That said, given the number of twists and turns to date, who would rule out one more to decide this within the regulation 18 games. Goal difference will not be used
Rathkeale P17 Pts 39
Broadford P16 Pts 36
Abbeyfeale Utd 3-2 Ballingarry
In a must win game for Ballingarry, they came up short and as a result, drop to the second tier. A win would have dragged Abbeyfeale into the mix but John Kelliher’s side battled back to win. They have long since relinquished their league title with a decimated squad making things very challenging for the Fealsiders.
Ballingarry led this game early on, Eoin Lynch on target. But United took control, Oisin Woulfe and Cillian Cotter putting them ahead at half-time. The clincher, from Barry Sheehy made it 3-1. Tiernan Fitzgerald netted late on for the away side but it was too little, too late.
Failing to significantly build on their Youths successes over the last few season, ultimately with three sides going down, someone had to bite the bullet. Ballingarry will be aiming to bounce back immediately. But they will know that a competitive second-tier awaits them.
Kilcornan 0-6 Newcastle West Town
A Noel Callanan hat-trick, as well as strikes from Aaron Mullane, Shane Stack and Jake Power keeps Newcastle West Town in Division. Given the tightness of the midtable, they will still possibly finish in the top half. This tie was settled from a long-way out, against already relegated Kilcornan. Three goals in either-half gave Town a seventh victory of an inconsistent season. A final day clash with Abbeyfeale will conclude a long season. Kilcornan are set to face Creeves Celtic.
Weekly Observer Division 2
Glin Rovers B 2-1 Knockaderry
There was some joy for Glin Rovers earlier in the week, when, on Thursday evening, their ‘B’ team sealed a richly deserved Division Two League title. Goals from Johnie O’Sullivan and Cian Culhane had them well on their way before Knockaderry replied, but it finished 2-1 to the hosts.
Leaders for much of the season, a narrow victory over Knockaderry means they will make the jump to the second tier. They may be the only club with two sides in the top two tiers, and they’ll hope the B side can provide some additional arsenal for their A team in the coming seasons.
The Division is now concluded, with Glin promoted, Glantine relegated. Ballysteen will join Division Two, as well as Newcastle West Town Reserves and Shountrade. One of St. Ita’s and Rathkeale B will also be relegated from Division One to Two.