Sean Woods Memorial Cup
Killylough 3-2 Donagh Celtic
The return of the Monaghan Cavan League First Division’s Sean Woods Cup is a timely boost for many teams in the lower tier. Ballyhaise Celtic won the first of the preliminary round games, overcoming the boys from Woods’ homestead, Cootehill Harps. This left just one more tie to complete the quarter final delegates and the last two winners of the cup met at the AstroPark on Sunday afternoon to decide who would progress in the competition.
With entertainment guaranteed, the game kicked off on a surface which had suffered the effects of the weekend’s dampenings. Defending champions Donagh were pushing hard in the opening salvo as several balls were directed at the Killylough goal but were unmet by finishers. At the other end, the Tydavnet men were growing in stature and Matthew McCague came closest in the early range-findng. Cutting in from the right wing for Donagh, David Kerr flashed one wide soon after. About halfway through the half, the ball came down to Killylough’s right where Barry ‘Sally’ McKenna was locked in a tit-for-tat battle with opposite number Christopher Todd. This time however it was the old stager who came out on top as Sally read his own deft flick best to square for Stephen McKenna who drove home the opener to the bottom of the net. 1-0 to the Villagers, and although action aplenty remained throughout, this was the only telling contribution of the half.
Donagh rang the changes at half time to try and get back into the game, and with the team strengthened, looked dangerous and enjoyed their best spell of the match. The scoring resumed when Killylough failed to clear a corner kick and the alert Christopher Curran was on hand to smash his side level. 1-1 early in the second half and the balance of play was shifting in the direction of the visitors. The fresh legs of predatory marksman Nicholas Corrigan was proving a thorn in the hosts’ side and when he read an arced ball in best, the money was on Donagh taking the lead but unfortunately for them the Scotstown man couldn’t keep his header down. The Emyvale side didn’t have to wait long though, as a free-kick was won just left of centre was drilled home low to the opposite corner of the net by one of Donagh’s brightest performers on the day, big defender Aiden Kerr. 2-1 to the cup holders and in a game where both sides had given it all, it was the reserve side of Killylough who had to dig deeper once more. That they did five minutes later as Stephen McKenna picked up the ball and drove at the defence once more. With still it all to and the angles growing more difficult against, McKenna unleashed an effort across the keeper and in off the post for the equalizer. 2-2, and the clock counting down on a thriller.
Killylough Reserves were looking at their solitary victory this season being over their neighbours and league challengers Donagh were looking towards last year’s tense semi-final in the competition. Both games could have went either way but with one victory apiece in the last calendar year of the derby, this one had to have a winner too. An audacious effort from an advanced left-back Mickey Rooney looped on to Gerard McCaffrey’s crossbar and it looked like substitute Darren McKenna, quickest to react, would head the Tydavnet men forward in the cup but for a brilliant recovery from the Donagh net-minder to deny him point blank. With seven minutes left on the clock, the other substitute for the men in black Wojciech Gil found time on the left to play through a perfect ball into the run of tireless midfielder McCague, who despite McCaffrey’s best efforts clipped home with his left foot the winner. 3-2 and this late body blow would be the one to see off Donagh as the final whistle blew and the side bottom of the Fist Division had won the day.
Both teams are to be complimented for an entertaining game played at an excellent standard but it is 2011 winners Killylough Reserves who march on to meet a side who outclassed them twice thus far this season, Blaney Rovers, in the quarter final.
Killylough Reserves: Gerard McCrudden; Darren Kiely, Peter Kaminski, Dermot McCarron, Mickey Rooney; Barry McKenna, Matthew McCague, Barry McKenna, Francy Dolan; Stephen McKenna, David Adamczyk; Darren McKenna, Wojciech Gil
Donagh Celtic Reserves: Gerard McCaffrey; Stephen Smith, Shane McGeough, Aidan Kerr, Christopher Todd; David Kerr, Paul O’Donoghue, Barney McKenna, Daniel McMahon; Christopher Curran, Niall Mohan; Nicholas Corrigan, Liam McKenna, Barry Mohan
Killylough Reserves 2-1 (AET) Cootehill Harps Reserves
The return to grass that many had long awaited beckoned on Sunday, and a memorable encounter would befit the occasion. Cootehill Harps, home to the commemoration of Sean Woods, came through a fiery preliminary round to advance to the quarter final. The trophy currently dwells in Tydavnet though as 2011 winners Killylough Reserves played host to the Cavan men in the early game.
The pace was fast and furious from the outset and it was the team in red who drew first blood, when the ball was poked through for a one-on-one with the keeper and a cool finish would put the visitors ahead. The battle raged on as Killylough tried to equal matters but in vain as first Stephen ‘Pat’ McKenna and then Mariusz Wojciechowski would be denied. At the other end it was Maju to the rescue, as Daniel Maj’s fingertips prevented a fierce left wing drive from putting Harps two-nil ahead. There was time for one more chance before the break and it fell to early injury victim Shane Meehan whose effort flashed over the bar.
The second half saw the introduction of Michéal McCarville, a youngster emerging and promising but still awaiting his first goal in black, and he was up to the pace of the game straight away with a chance ten minutes in. He rounded the keeper in splendid fashion but was to be denied by a last ditch tackle to prolong the wait. The next chance would fall to the boot of Wojciechowski but unfortunately he couldn’t get the laces on it with only the keeper to beat. The pressure was now unrepentant and with Darren McKenna and Andrew Stelmach triumphing in midfield, McKenna’s brother Gerard was introduced to beef up the attack and became a nuisance of tremendous effect. Stephen Pat was next to test the keeper and the visiting net-minder responded in spectacular fashion with a smart reflex save down low to his right. Then in a rare break, the Harps no. 10, a constant threat, found space down the left and galloped into it until he produced the cross of the match, which angled despairingly past two lunging bodies at the back post for what could have been the cruellest of finishes. Referee Paul Oliphant showed his control and mediated tremendously through the drama the one flare up incident of a game without so much as a bad tackle. The climax was approaching, and the villagers’ grip on the trophy slipping when finally in the 88th minute, their breakthrough arrived. As more pressure confounded the away goal, Stephen Pat was the most alert and he sidestepped a despairing final lunge to knock home the equalizer. One all, ninety minutes played, drama unfinished.
The extra time saw 22 drained bodies empty their depths to find a winner, and the one thing that did not suffer was the standard of football. The first ten minutes saw defences unblemished and the second saw both eager to hold the distance. Cootehill sought to break on the counter time after time and the tackling of David Cassidy and Barry “Sally” as full backs remained in their way. Gerard McKenna’s shot on the turn was smart but wasn’t enough and the 109th minute would find the ball lodged deep in the Cootehill attack. Stelmach’s quick throw found McCarville, and the endless energy needed to carry the ball from inside his own half clear of danger. As the first tackle was evaded and the second was withheld, McCarville saw the sticks and angled towards until the penalty area. The yardage grew and the power of ball-carrying remained as Michéal’s turn was good and finish was better and as if picking the time himself, his first goal drew raptures and a black swarm embraced for what they knew was the final attack of the game.
2-1 it finished and divisions aside, as entertaining a game of football as likely to be found in the area, a true testament to the prosperity of the Monaghan Cavan league. Hard luck to Cootehill for their part in the encounter, but it is cup holders Killylough Reserves who await the winners of this weekend’s battle between Blaney Academy and Donagh Celtic Reserves in the semi-finals.
Killylough Reserves: Daniel Maj, Barry McKenna, Peter Kaminski, Dermot McCarron, David Cassidy, Shane Meehan, Darren McKenna, Andrew Stelmach, Kieran Treanor, Stephen McKenna, Mariusz Wojciechowski, Michéal McCarville, Gerard McKenna.
Sean Woods Cup Final
Killylough Reserves 2-0 Monaghan Town Reserves
Sean Woods Cup Semi-Final
Donagh Celtic 1-2 Killylough Reserves
With First Division league standings settled at the business end, the penultimate round of the Sean Woods Cup took centre stage for the weekend as neighbours Donagh Celtic and Killylough Reserves squared off for a place in the final in Emyvale on Friday evening. With Celtic having four of the six league points from previous meetings to show, the form guide was shining in their favour but the away side would not be rolling over despite a Capaldi Cup exit the week before.
The visitors started the brighter and a Paul McQuaid free kick found Piotr Kaminski who laid on Ronan Stirrat to prod the Tydavnet men ahead in the third minute. Chances continued as the pace of the game soared but the home side were to suffer a further blow around the half hour mark with Ronan Treanor shown a red card for a careless tackle. This seemed to spur on the favourites who were determined to inflict a semi-final double over Killylough having come from behind to earn a League Cup final place at home recently. The hosts looked to talisman Nicholas Corrigan to inspire and found an answer as he pounced on a rebound to equalize. Levelled matters wouldn’t remain the case for long though as Matthew McCague turned smartly in the area down the other end and crossed for John Hamill to nod the Villagers back into the lead within three minutes. 2-1 and a well-earned half time break.
With a rethink needed, Donagh introduced Lesley Stevenson to midfield at the break, with the big man seeking to gain control in the middle and help turn the tide. The second half saw action aplenty once more as the 10 men of Donagh Celtic pushed hard for another equalizer but in their way stood a Killylough defence determined not to budge. On the other side of the field, gaps were beginning to show with home ‘keeper Gerard McCaffrey having to fill in for defenders on occasion. His opposite number Daniel Maj pulled off a fantastic reflex save to deny Daniel McMahon but as Stevenson drove over the bar and the final whistle sounded it was Killylough Reserves who would emerge as victors.
Credit to all who participated in a great contest as this exciting battle ended. Donagh will now be concentrating on the League Cup final and having narrowly missed out on the First Division honours, the boys in blue will have done many proud in their first season back in the Cavan/Monaghan League. For Killylough Reserves a cup final now beckons also, as they travel once more to Cootehill. Having lost in last year’s fixture to FC Suvytrus and come the hard way this time through Clones Town and Donagh Celtic, the Tydavnet side will know nothing’s over yet as the Sean Woods Cup lays in wait.
Sean Woods Cup Quarter Final
Killylough Reserves 2-0 Clones Town
The first round of the Sean Woods Cup paired last year’s runners up Killylough Reserves and runaway league leaders Clones Town in arguably the draw of the round. The 4pm kick off was a first outing of 2011 for both sides on the AstroPark, with the two squads eager to progress to meet Donagh Celtic in the semis.
The first half was a fairly nip and tuck affair with Clones arguably creating the more penetrative moves when seeking gaps in the Villagers backline, whilst at the other end the shot tally may have been greater but was largely limited to distanced attempts. With stubborn resistance on show from both defences a shut-out was the outcome of the first 45.
With a Half-time change up front, the Tydavnet side introduced David McGettigan to great effect as Killylough Reserves stepped up a gear and insisted on a breakthrough. It came 10 minutes into the half when pressure paid off up front for Matty McCague to latch on to a bouncing ball with the outside of his right boot and bend past the despairing keeper. 1-0 Hoops! Clones were never out of the game though and with Noel McConnon continuing to pick out the telling passes from midfield, the danger of a lengthier cup tie always remained. It was only with 12 minutes remaining on the clock that the insurance goal came, as McGettigan squared for the impressive John Hammill to neatly tuck away the final goal of the game. 2-0 it finished to Killylough Reserves.
Killylough Reserves: Francis Dolan; Mark Corrigan, Dermot McCarron, Paddy Kelly, Paul McQuaid; Barry McKenna, Piotr Kaminski, Matty McCague, Kieran Treanor; Matthew McCrudden, John Hamill
Sean Woods Cup Semi-Final
Killylough Reserves 1-0 Monaghan Town Reserves
With Cootehill Harps finishing strongly in the Monaghan Cavan League First Division, the only silverware for the reserve sides of Killylough and Monaghan Town to aim for was the Sean Woods Cup which ensured a frantic, competitive and exciting battle in Tydavnet on Sunday. The division’s basement side entertained their neighbouring visitors for a noon kick off in a match where the scoreline might not reflect the action on the pitch.
The county town team started brightly and created the first opening of the match when George Bolton struck the upright with a fierce drive in the opening ten minutes. Shortly after, Eamon McGlone’s long ball over the top found Bolton again but after a sublime first touch he couldn’t keep his effort down. The Villagers responded with Matthew McCague running clear of the defense only to be denied by Gabriel Treanor in the Town goal. Then Darragh Stirrat slipped Francis Dolan through only for his drive to come back off the crossbar. With around half an hour on the clock Bolton and David Treanor got into a tangle in the Killylough box and the referee awarded the away side a penalty. Sean McCrudden stepped up confidently and his fierce shot was met by a great save from Hoops net-minder Sean McKenna. At the other end Stirrat tested the defense with a blistering run only to fire narrowly wide and both sides went into the break having failed to make a telling breakthrough.
The second half saw fewer clear cut chances as both defenses grew stronger and the breakthrough seemed to become more distant. An unfortunate collision between Cormac Loughran and Gabriel Treanor saw the Monaghan Town Reserves defender injured and unable to continue, reducing them to ten men, through lack of substitutes, for the remainder of the game. Without a goal in the second half, the sides remained scoreless and extra time beckoned for the tiring teams.
The first half of extra time and the Tydavnet men sought to make the venue and numbers advantages count to eliminate the lottery decider of a penalty shootout deciding the match. The opening goal finally arrived as Fergal Murray found Kieran Treanor wide on the left whose cross was inadvertently turned past his own keeper by a visiting defender. 1-0 Hoops! Town Reserves pushed hard to find the leveller and when Sean McCrudden beat the offside trap it looked like they would do it but his effort hit the post and went wide. It was then James Greenan’s turn for a strike on goal and as he cut inside on to his favoured left and beat the keeper the underside of the bar denied him.
The referee restarted the game for the final time and when David Ballantine headed inches wide at one end and Francis Dolan was denied by the keeper at the other, a further goal was not going to come. 1-0 it remained to Killylough Reserves and after a topsy-turvy season, the lads are now in with a real chance of lifting a cup in their first year.
The Killylough management would like to wish Cormac Loughran a speedy recovery and thank their counterparts from Monaghan Town Reserves who wished the club the best of luck for Sunday’s cup final.
Killylough Reserves: Sean McKenna; David Treanor, Paul McQuaid, Aiden McCormack, Fergal Murray; James Greenan, Matthew McCague, Peter Campbell, Kieran Treanor; Darragh Stirrat, Francis Dolan; John Harrison, Bryan Dunne.
Monaghan Town Reserves: Gabriel Treanor; David Cassidy, Cormac Loughran, Eamon McGlone, Kevin Smith; Sean McCrudden, Martin Burke, Adam Askin, Krystof Jedrezjeczak; David Ballantine, George Bolton.
Sean Woods Cup Quarter Final
Killylough Reserves 3-0 Cootehill Harps
The Sean Woods Memorial Cup got up and running on Sunday as the teams from either end of the first division met in Cootehill for a 3pm kick off.
The first half kicked off with both sides eager to book a place in the semi-final, and attacking play was to prove the order of the day from the outset. There were several through balls from the Harps which had proved deadly in the two previous meetings but on this occasion they were all intercepted by the alert Rory McKenna in the Villagers goal. At the other end, there was plenty of probing build up play without testing the Harps keeper who seemed equally determined to ensure a shut out for his men.
With 25 minutes on the clock Mark Mulligan sought to gain control of the ball in the box but was met with a high boot challenge which lead to a penalty being awarded. The Cavan men could be forgiven for contesting the generous decision but nothing could be debated about Gerard McCrudden’s strike as the keeper guessed the right way but the powerful placement beat him. 1-0 Killylough Reserves, and this remained the score for the rest of the first half.
The Hoops started the second half as they finished the first and early in they doubled their advantage. With Darragh Stirrat and Barry McKenna linking up well wide on the right, an opening was created and as a dangerous ball swung it’s way across the Harps goal it was met by Mulligan at the far post who snuck in to make the telling connection to grab his first goal in the green and white.
Cootehill made a couple of changes to try and force their way back into the game and with the industrious Keith Fanning moved to a more familiar role of striker, the Harps started to test the villagers defence on a regular basis. But with Niall McCarville and Paul McQuaid coping easily with what little got by Gary Murray in midfield, the Hoops had several chances of their own on the break with McKenna, McCrudden, Stirrat and Francis Dolan all going close.
When Mulligan’s header ran narrowly by the post it looked like the scoring had finished for the day but Stirrat had other ideas. On 81 minutes, a mix up in the Harps defence saw a bouncing back-pass fall short and Stirrat showed his class by intercepting and lobbing the keeper from just outside the box. At 3-0 the result was wrapped up and as Fanning soared to head narrowly over in the dying seconds, the full-time whistle was blown.
With the first division title comprehensively out of the question for Killylough Reserves, the Tydavnet side will take heart from overcoming the only side in their league they had previously failed to get a result against, and look to carry their form of 14 goals in 4 games on for the rest of the cup.
Killylough Reserves: Rory McKenna; Pauric McKenna, Aiden McCormack, Niall McCarville, Fergal Murray; Barry McKenna, Gary Murray, Gerard McCrudden, Francis Dolan; Darragh Stirrat, Mark Mulligan; Paul McQuaid, John Harrison, Sean Corr.