Clon hope one of the top two slip up
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.