61st Mick Mooney Cup Final ( by Finbarr Buckley )

 Tanner Celtic 1; Aesseal 0

FIRST DIVISION opponents Aesseal & Tanner Celtic produced a pulsating Mick Mooney Cup Final, the showpiece match of the league’s calendar, at sun-drenched Turner’s Cross yesterday morning. Only one goal separated the teams at the finish but when it did come it was well worth the wait & was fully deserved for a Tanner outfit who took the match to their lofty opponents for three quarters of the dramatic encounter.

The match marked the first occasion two teams outside the top flight met in a final since Liebert locked horns with AIB 1990. Aesseal, who are also on the brink of winning the title for the first time in their first season, enjoyed the early exchanges with Shane Myers’s  low cross just eluding Ciarán Speight at the near post, with Myers again in the thick of the action minutes later, having his shot from the edge of the area deflected for a corner. As the half progressed Tanner got to grips with the game with Cillian McDonnell patrolling Aesseal  danger man & the league’s top marksman Markus Gustavvson with good effect & the Sadik brothers Kevin & Michael harassing their opponents at the back at every opportunity.

In the 22nd minutes Kevin Sadik latched onto mix-up at the back to fire into Barry O’Shea’s hands before Shane O’Donoghue’s free-kick was deflected for a corner three minutes later. Michael Sadik was next to harry Sean Kelly into a rushed clearance to obtain possession & hammer in a low hard cross which Aesseal captain Damien Whelton did well to hack clear. Gustavvson, for once got away form Joyce & fellow centre-back & captain Trevor Morrissey, only to see his spectacular bicycle-kick go over at the Shed end. Celtic finished the half on the ascendancy with O’Shea tipping Michael Burke’s free-kick over the top & Joyce shooting over after getting a rare opportunity to venture into the opposition’s half.

The second-half began with the Michael Sadik carving out a shot for himselt which flew past O’Shea near post before Ciaran Speight & Eoin Sheehy went close for Aesseal all within the opening ten minutes. Sadik once again twisted sharply in the box to shoot over before the same player got on the end of another ball to volley over as the Aesseal defence hesitated. After Shane O’Donoghue’s attempted overhead kick went off a defender for a corner, sub Martin O’Rourke was sent scampering clear by the bigger Sadik, Kevin with ten minutes remaining. The burly striker, on for the injured Michael Grace & the hero of another Mooney Cup victory for Bru Centre back in 2008, held his nerve to coolly slot the ball past the committed O’Shea & into the far corner of the net.

Aesseal threw everything at their opponents for the final ten minutes but were repelled time & time again by a resolute in which Morrissey, McDonnell & fellow defenders Joyce & Michael Burke excelled along with the competent Paul O’Rourke in goal. The final whistle heralded unbridled joy for Tanner & their huge support who turned out to support their heroes.

Victorious captain Trevor Morrissey was overjoyed at the finish, commenting, ‘We worked hard out their in the sun but never gave up & at last we fulfilled our potential on the big stage.’ Rival captain Damien Whelton was downbeat but full of praise for the winners. ‘ We gave it everything out there but were beaten by a better team on the day.’ At least we have the league title to concentrate on now & finish our season on a high.For the record, Celtic became the 29th winner of the coveted trophy.  

Referee Pat Buckley had an excellent match in the centre, allowing advantage to flow freely with good effect while assistants Grahame Duffy & John Sweeney were alert throughout.

Tanner Celtic (4-3-3):Paul O’Rourke : Cillian McDonnell, Michael Burke; Dan Joyce, Trevor Morrissey ( capt.); Gary Wade ( Alan Doyle ), Michael Grace ( Martin O’Rourke ), Ross Kiely; Kevin Sadik, Michael Sadik, Shane O’Donoghue.

Aesseal ( 4-4-2): Barry O’Shea : Karl Scanlon, Sean Kelly; ( Keith Murphy )  Paul Lynch, Damien Whelton ( Mark Riordan ); Padhric Speight ( Eoin Weaver ), Shane Myers, Mike Murphy, Ciaran Speight; Markus Gustavvson, Eoin Sheehy.

Referee: Pat Buckley.  Assistants: Grahame Duffy & John Sweeney.