Joe Delaney Youth Cup Final
CAHIR PARK 3
NENAGH AFC 2
Two goals in a three-minute spell right at the death saw Cahir Park become the latest side to add their name to soccer’s Joe Delaney County Youth Cup when they beat Nenagh AFC by the odd goal in five at Rearcross AFC’s top class facilities last Sunday.
In what was an excellent game between two sides committed to all-out attack, Nenagh AFC, hoping to become the first North Tipperary and District League side to lift this coveted trophy, applied the early pressure without really testing the Cahir ‘keeper. The first threat of a goal came at the other end when a Keelan Hickey free kick ended with the Nenagh ‘keeper Enrico Casey pushing the ball onto the crossbar and clear after 10 minutes.
Nenagh missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock on the half hour mark and were to pay for it just three minutes later when a sublime, defence-splitting pass from John O’Donnell set up the inrushing Cormac Crowe, who slid the ball into the corner of the net to give Cahir the lead.
The second half was only six minutes old when Nenagh were deservedly back on level terms. Adam Mitchell beat a defender on the end line before laying the ball back to the unmarked Jamie Lee-Finn, who rattled the roof of the net. Before Cahir had a chance to recover Nenagh turned this tie on its head after 56 minutes. Again Adam Mitchell did well to hold off the challenge of a Cahir defender before firing low and hard across the six yard area, and Cahir’s Mark Shortt inadvertently turned the ball into his own net as he attempted to clear the danger.
With the very warm conditions taking their toll, the pace began to ease over the final half hour. Nenagh threw Cahir a lifeline after 84 minutes when Aaron Cowan was brought down in the area, but Evan O’Dwyer’s penalty was saved by Enrico Casey. With Nenagh failing to shut up shop there was yet another twist before the final whistle sounded. With the stopwatch showing 90 minutes Cahir, who flung everybody forward in a do-or-die effort, saw Aaron Cowan send in an inch-perfect cross and John O’Donnell pounced to slip the ball past the ‘keeper from close range to equalise.
Then two minutes into stoppage time Cahir attacked up their right flank and Mark Shortt, who had earlier scored an own goal, turned from villain to hero when he scored to snatch a dramatic victory from the jaws of defeat.
To the delight of the Cahir Park players and supporters Munster Football Association Hon President Joe Delaney presented the cup named in his honour to winning captain Evan O’Dwyer, while the Man of the Match award sponsored by Darren Ward Jewellers of Cahir went to Nenagh’s Adam Mitchell.
Cahir Park: Evan O’Dwyer, Keelan Hickey, Tommy Sweeney, Mark Shortt, Sean Kiernan, Ian Flannery, John O’Connell, Seamus Reid, Cormac Crowe, Aaron Cowan, Craig Condon. Sub: Liam Casey for Crowe.
Nenagh AFC: Enrico Casey, Lee Tappendon, Roy Creagh, Daryl McGee, Cathal Coonan, Bryan McGee, Adam Hannon, Nathan Kelly, Adam Mitchell, Kevin Nevin, Jamie Lee-Finn. Subs: Graham Curtin for Nevin, Paul O’Leary for Hannon.
Officials: T. Sweeney, P. Horgan, M. Goldsboro (all North Tipp).