TIPPERARY CUP SEMI-FINALS
St.Michaels 1, Clonmel Celtic 2.
Peake Villa 1, Wilderness Rovers 1. (AET)
(Peake Villa won 5-4 on penalties)
The 2013 Tipperary Cup final will be contested between Peake Villa and Clonmel Celtic as both had narrow victories last Sunday.
Peake Villa, who have won this competition just once (2001), were almost out but a goal in the last minute of extra time and then winning the penalty shootout saw them break Wilderness Rovers hearts. Fair dues to Peake for perservering to the last seconds but spare a thought for Wilderness. Not having the best of seasons they were within a whisker of their first final but it was not to be. In a titanic struggle both sides must be commended for a great battle in difficult conditions. A strong wind dominated proceedings and with the aid of the elements Wilderness dictated matters in the first-half. They had several good chances, the best falling to the impressive Ian Barnes near half-time but his excellent effort just shaved the post.
Following the changover it was Peake Villa’s turn to take control, with Ted O’Connor and Jody O’Mahoney creating several opportunities. At the end of ninety minutes it was scoreless so extra time was needed. Wilderness took the lead when an excellent thirty yard drive from Brendan Dempsey went all the way to the net. It looked enough to give the Wildies their big day in the final but with time almost up an Alan Leahy free-kick was bundled over the line by Davy Maguire. It was then down to the penalty shoot out with Stephen Ryan in the Peake Villa goal making the vital save which saw the Thurles side through.
The Clonmel Celtic bandwagon just keeps rolling along and at Cooke Park last Sunday they got the better of St.Michael’s by the odd goal in three. Celtic won this competition twice, 2009 and 2010, and with Saints then winning it in 2011 and 2012 these sides have dominated it in recent times. Both teams had quite a few changes from their usual selections due to injuries. St. Michael’s played their usual attractive football in the early stages without threatening. In the 12th minute Celtic broke up a Saints onslaught and a swift counter attack down the right flank saw David Joyce square to Sean O’Hara and he made no mistake from the edge of the box. The same trend continued, Saints having lots of possession but Celtic playing more direct football and looking dangerous with every attack. On the half-hour the visitors were 2-0 ahead with another well-worked goal, this time Ian Fahey crossing from the left and there was that man again, Seanie O’Hara to score his and Celtic’s second goal. Celtic almost went 3-0 ahead when a Graham Doyle free-kick hit the crossbar. Just before the break Saints had their best chance when Richie Ryan broke clear on goal but his namesake saved with ease.
Ten minutes into the second half St.Michaels reduced the deficit when Alan Hayes scored via a deflection. Saints were now having their best spell and an equaliser looked on. A well taken corner by Trevor Cosgrave was headed just wide by the hard-working Cooper Fahey. The last quarter saw play deteriorate as Celtic ran out winners ensuring their ticket to the final.