The John Delaney cup final will be an all Clonmel affair following Clonmel Celtic’s 3-2 win at St Michael’s and Clonmel Town’s win on penalties at Nenagh Celtic in the semi-finals.
Clonmel Celtic’s better teamwork was ultimately the deciding factor in win at Cooke Park.
Three goals from set pieces proved Saints undoing as they failed to cope with Graham Doyle’s accuracy from dead balls. The game had a blistering start with three goals within the opening quarter hour. Celtic took the lead on 10 minutes when a defensive header from a Graham Doyle inswinging corner fell to Andrew Cosgrave whose volley found the net from 18 yards. It was 1-1 on 13 minutes when Richie Ryan beat the offside trap to round Brian Sweeney and tap home. Two minutes later Celtic regained the lead when a free-kick on the edge of the box was played to Andrew Cosgrave and he shot low and hard to the corner of the net. Saints levelled just on half time when John O’Brien was upended in the box and James Walsh made it 2-2 from the penalty spot.
The second-half saw St. Michaels gain the upper hand but opportunities continually broke down due to poor understanding by the home side and confident Celtic defending by Craig Condon and Simon Scully, who once again proved to be an impregnable duo. When it appeared penalties would be necessary another needless free-kick in the 82nd minute gave Celtic the opportunity to perform another party piece and the well-floated inswinger saw Saints rearguard in disarray as Aaron Moroney outfoxed everyone to score. Saints almost equalised in the last minute but Colin Bargary struck the upright as Celtic held out for a deserved win. Clonmel Town qualified to meet Clonmel Celtic in the decider next week-end following their penalty shoot-out victory over Nenagh Celtic.
Town started in confident mood and dominated the opening twenty minutes. Richie Crowe had a long range effort saved in the 17th minute. Three minutes later, following an excellent move, Emmet Johnson’s shot was brilliantly saved by the Nenagh keeper. Midway through the half Town should have scored, a well-placed cross was headed into the six yard box but somehow both Johnson and Flynn could not get the vital touch. The remainder of the half saw the host’s gained control but the half ended scoreless.
Nenagh started the second half in a very positive fashion and took the lead in the 47th minute when Mark Walsh finished off a swift passing move. Town did not afford the home side a chance to build on this lead and were level five minutes later. A half-cleared corner landed at the feet of Shane Murphy who shot home from an acute angle. Town suffered a major set-back when the influential Adrian Cleere had to leave the field through injury on the hour. They re-organised and took the lead in the 65th minute when Emmet Johnson finished from close range. However, Nenagh responded and Davy Walsh took advantage of some sloppy defending to level the tie in the 73rd minute. Both teams pressed forward for the remainder of the game but could not find the winner. Town advanced by winning the penalty shoot-out 5-4.