Clon hope one of the top two slip up

Irish Examiner - County - - Sport - Ger McCarthy

The Su­perValu West Cork Mas­ters League play-off semi­fi­nal­ists should be de­cided at the con­clu­sion of to­mor­row evening’s fix­tures.

Clough­duv Celtic and Ban­don Mas­ters can con­firm their play-off qual­i­fi­ca­tion with Su­perValu Group A vic­to­ries over Castle­town Celtic and Castlelack re­spec­tively. Celtic and Ban­don are level on 17 points each at the sum­mit of the ta­ble with the lat­ter en­joy­ing a game in hand on their ti­tle ri­vals and ex­pected to progress at the con­clu­sion of the group phase.

Third placed Clon­akilty Town will be hop­ing one of the top two clubs slips up ahead of their fi­nal Group A fix­ture at home to lo­cal ri­vals Ard­field. It is a must-win game for the Dar­rara-based club whose play-off aspi­ra­tions suf­fered a blow fol­low­ing a 2-1 loss at Castlelack a week ago.

Dri­nagh Rangers and Dun­man­way Town have al­ready se­cured safe pas­sage through to the Mas­ters League post­sea­son ahead of their Su­perValu Group B clash in Canon Crow­ley Park. The sides drew 0-0 ear­lier in the sea­son and head into an­other lo­cal derby sit­ting joint-top of the ta­ble on 20 points apiece. Rangers need a vic­tory from this en­counter as Town has a game in hand. It should be a lively en­counter as first place in the group guar­an­tees home ad­van­tage in the last four of the play-offs.

Dur­rus were sched­uled to take on Bantry Bay Se­niors in a re­ar­ranged game in Dur­rus last night. To­mor­row, Dur­rus face their sec­ond game in three days with Bantry Bay Mas­ters the vis­i­tors to the Com­mu­nity Field. The Kealkil team’s hopes of mak­ing the play-offs were dashed fol­low­ing a 3-2 de­feat to Dri­nagh last week but Bay will be anxious to end their Group B cam­paign with a vic­tory.

Bantry Bay Se­niors and Bun­ratty United meet in Kealkil with the for­mer also set to com­plete their sec­ond Group B match of the week. Both sides look cer­tain to take part in the Mas­ters Shield (for the bot­tom two placed clubs in each group) but Bantry Se­niors will be des­per­ate to reg­is­ter their first points of the sum­mer.

Yet, a full-strength Bun­ratty side should edge this re­sult and the Town Park club is ca­pa­ble of pick­ing up the Mas­ters Shield tro­phy be­fore the sum­mer sea­son ends. THE West Cork School­boys Emerg­ing Tal­ent Pro­gramme U13 squad en­joyed a pro­duc­tive Gal­way Cup cam­paign fol­low­ing a string of im­pres­sive dis­plays against qual­ity op­po­si­tion. Drawn in a tough open­ing phase 2004 Elite Group, the WCSL be­lied their un­der­dog sta­tus by bounc­ing back from de­feat to Done­gal by push­ing North Tip­per­ary and Sligo-Leitrim to the limit and pick­ing up a notable vic­tory over Roscom­mon.

Fol­low­ing that, West Cork lost out to late Mayo win­ner at the end of a five­goal thriller be­fore de­servedly over­com­ing the North Eastern Coun­ties in the fi­nal out­ing of a mem­o­rable week in Gal­way.

As a pre­cur­sor to next year’s (U14) Kennedy Cup, coaches Johnny Law­less and Lorne Ed­meade can be pleased with their squad’s ef­forts who im­proved steadily de­spite go­ing up against phys­i­cally stronger op­po­nents and hav­ing to deal with some­times aw­ful weather con­di­tions.

“Speak­ing to the lads im­me­di­ately af­ter the tour­na­ment had ended, it was clear that they re­ally en­joyed their week at the Gal­way Cup,” Johnny Law­less com­mented.

“From a coach­ing point of view, we en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence as much as the play­ers. It would have been nice to have won a few more games but that is in­cred­i­bly hard to do at such a com­pet­i­tive tour­na­ment in­volv­ing some of the best U13 teams in the coun­try and from other parts of the world.

“We have seen bril­liant im­prove­ment in all of our play­ers from the open­ing game un­til the last and, go­ing for­ward, that’s hugely sig­nif­i­cant for their in­di­vid­ual devel­op­ment. I thought our lads got bet­ter as the week pro­gressed so from that point of view Lorne, the other coaches and I were re­ally happy.” Day one of the tour­na­ment proved chas­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as West Cork were faced with a daunt­ing dou­ble-header against Done­gal and North Tip­per­ary. The for­mer’s im- prove­ment across all age grades over the past num­ber of years meant the WCSL were up against it from the open­ing whis­tle and lost 4-0 de­spite a gutsy ef­fort.

Next up was a Mun­ster derby against North Tip­per­ary where West Cork con­ceded twice in three min­utes be­fore Bun­ratty United’s Finian Ho­gan got his side off the mark cour­tesy of a marvel­lous goal. North Tipp re­sponded by go­ing 3-1 in front and an­other Ho­gan strike made for a fran­tic end­ing but it proved too lit­tle, too late.

Johnny Law­less and Lorne Ed­meade’s squad en­joyed a bet­ter sec­ond day at the tour­na­ment, earn­ing their first vic­tory fol­low­ing a 1-0 tri­umph over Roscom­mon Lions. Ard­field’s John O’Dono­van net­ted the win­ner ahead of West Cork’s hard­est game of WEST Cork School­boys League Emerg­ing Tal­ent Pro­gramme coach Zo­ran Teodor­ovic was de­lighted with the squad’s ef­forts at this year’s Gal­way Cup.

“Our over­all per­for­mance at the Gal­way Cup can be only de­scribed as an ex­cel­lent learn­ing curve for the play­ers and coaches,” com­mented Teodor­ovic who ac­com­pa­nied U13 coaches Johnny Law­less and Lorne Ed­meade in Gal­way.

“There was a mix­ture of re­sults bring­ing both vic­to­ries and de­feats but ev­ery game pro­vided a new chal­lenge and a new dis­play of pos­i­tive things.

“The game that stood out to me the most per­son­ally was the fi­nal game of the tour­na­ment against North East Coun­ties. Hav­ing al­ready given their all in the pre­vi­ous five games, the play­ers came out with as much will and ea­ger­ness to per­form and get a re­sult as they did in a first game of the tour­na­ment.

“Go­ing up 1-0 and im­me­di­ately con­ced­ing an equaliser posed no prob­lem to the play­ers who the week on day four.

Sligo-Leitrim would go on to con­test the 2004 Elite Group fi­nal, los­ing on penal­ties to Colorado Rapids, and built an early 2-0 lead only for Bantry Bay Rovers’ Eoghan O’Sul­li­van to pull one back. A late Sligo-Leitrim goal com­pleted the scor­ing in a game played out amid ter­ri­ble weather con­di­tions and meant West Cork would have to face Mayo in a 13th place play-off.

A crack­ing five-goal en­counter saw Mayo hit the front be­fore River­side Ath­letic’s Olan Cor­co­ran lev­elled mat­ters. The Con­nacht side re­gained the lead once again but West Cork con­tin­ued to match their op­po­nents and went in tied 2-2 when Eoghan O’Sul­li­van scored his sec­ond goal of the tour­na­ment. Un­for­tu­nately for the WCSL, Mayo edged the re­sult 3-2 fol­low­ing the com­posed them­selves and con­tin­ued to play their game to even­tu­ally snatch a win­ner and see the game out. The most im­pres­sive thing of all was see­ing the play­ers deal­ing with prob­lems and fix­ing them out on the pitch, dis­play­ing to­geth­er­ness in an at­tempt to not make the same mis­takes that cost us in pre­vi­ous games.” This year’s Gal­way Cup was the big­gest yet in the tour­na­ment’s his­tory, at­tract­ing some of the best U13 foot­ball tal­ent from across the coun­try and be­yond. Zo­ran Teodor­ovic was im­pressed with the fa­cil­i­ties and qual­ity of player on dis­play.

“The over­all qual­ity of the tour­na­ment was noth­ing short of spec­tac­u­lar, said the WCSL Emerg­ing Tal­ent Pro­gramme coach. “It was played out at the con­ces­sion of a late penalty.

West Cork made sure their fi­nal day of the tour­na­ment would be a pos­i­tive one by de­feat­ing the North Eastern Coun­ties 2-1 with River­side’s Wil­liam Hen­ni­gan and Ard­field’s John O’Dono­van find­ing the net. breath­tak­ing Salthill Devon FC fa­cil­ity and on four top class pitches. Play­ers and teams came from all over the coun­try and abroad ea­ger to prove them­selves all while dis­play­ing and putting on show game af­ter game filled with en­ter­tain­ment and ex­cite­ment.

“With the qual­ity of ev­ery team and player on show who had to worry about noth­ing but play­ing and en­joy­ing their foot­ball for a week, then there is no doubt in my mind that the Gal­way Cup should now be con­sid­ered as one of the best un­der age foot­ball tour­na­ments in the coun­try.”

Lyre Rovers’ Joe Bai­ley, Oisin O’Sul­li­van, Rory Phyayer and Cian Ja­cob who rep­re­sented the West Cork School­boys League at the 2017 Gal­way Cup held in Gal­way last week.

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