Cork Business League Champions Super Cup Quarter-Final: Saturday, February 27th 2021 –ESB Grounds @ 3pm

Fords 1 – 2 Youghal Yarns

Old rivals of a bygone era, Fords and Youghal Carpet Yarns lit up the ESB Grounds, producing another pulsating Cork Business League Champions Super Cup quarter-final encounter which went right to the wire, writes Finbarr Buckley.

Both teams were resplendent in replica colours, sponsored by Sports Gear Direct, of their famous strips, Fords, in blue and white strip jerseys, blue shorts, blue socks and Carpets’ in their famous orange shirts, black shorts and orange stockings. Referee Robbie Gregan would have relished a tie of this magnitude when the teams met in their glory days of the seventies and early eighties. And who better to take into battle now than the experienced Denis Morley and one of the most decorated referees of all time, Damien O’Mahony along with a shining light of the last decade, Denis Cronin as the fourth official.

The unusual sight of goalkeepers leading out the teams, Billy Noonan for Fords and Dave ‘Badger’ Barrett for Carpets received appreciative applause from the sizeable attendance and after the exchange of pennants and shake of hands, Gregan’s opening shrill of his whistle set the tie in motion.

From the tip-off Fords’ Bobby Humphries quickly pumped a long ball to the feet of John Good who was unceremoniously upended by ‘Bones’ O’Sullivan on the edge of the area. As both players exchanged wry smiles, referee Gregan was in quickly to defuse any potential flare-up but even he at this early juncture was aware from the off that the battle lines were drawn and that every blade of grass was going to be keenly contested. Tony Herrick’s resultant free-kick skimmed off the top of the crossbar with Dave Barrett flying across goal.

As both teams settled on the fine, manicured surface, Youghal full-backs, Davie O’Mahony and Connie Hosford began to exert their influence on proceedings by getting forward to assist the promptings of the mid-field trio of Tommy Searls, Denis Crowley and Jim Atkins. In the 15th minute, Searls swung a pass wide to O’Mahony on the right and he cut inside Denis Lyne to flash a shot across Billy Noonan wide of the far post. Fords middle three of Humphries, Johnny Clifford and Tony O’Leary were inventive whenever they broke from the shackles of Youghal’s trio and were constantly trying to bring the threatening pair of Good and his striking partner Brendie O’Keeffe into the action to keep their opponents on the back-foot.

From one such foray in the 26th minute, Humphries’ neat footwork took him past Crowley and on a run straight down the centre. With O’Sullivan and Gerry Ryan forced to leave their centre back berths he slipped a pass inside to O’Keeffe who drilled a low shot past Barrett and in off the post for the opening goal.

A jubilant O’Keeffe raised a fist in celebration as Barrett berated his back-four who were pulled out of shape by the delicacy of Humphries’ beautifully weighted pass.

From the kick-off, Youghal forced a corner at the far goal after Paddy O’Mahony’s well-timed tackle dispossessed Alex O’Regan who was quick to anticipate Jim Atkins’ ball over the top. Hosford’s flag-kick to the back post was powerfully headed by Greg Cooney across the face of the goal for Jimmy Byrne to get in ahead of Pat Quirke only see his header to the top corner acrobatically turned over by Billy Noonan. The second corner in a minute was only partially headed clear by O’Mahony and Atkins following upshot over a crowded goalmouth.

Both teams had chances before the half ended with Searls going close for Youghal with a rising shot from an O’Mahony cross which Noonan tipped over and at the other end, O’Keeffe brought a fine diving save from Barrett at his near post.

On the resumption, Carpets, playing into the pavilion end went on the offensive, enjoying a purple patch in the opening ten minutes and created a number of chances. First, Denis Crowley combined with Greg Cooney to turn Michael Connolly and fire wide of the far post. Within a minute, Tommy Searls broke through the middle and played a one-two with Jimmy Byrne which took him to the edge of the area. His crisp shot cannoned off the determined lunge of Pat Quirke and with and Davie O’Mahony following up, the full-back won the race to the end-line before crossing for sub Pat Saville to head over.

The pressure finally told on the hour when from a free of the left, sub-Cyril O’Mahony passed to Connie Hosford who floated the ball to the far post for Cooney to out jump Connolly and loop a header over Noonan for one-one. Fords’ boss Frank McCarthy reacted by taking off John Good for Barry Terry and almost immediately the sub was in for the lead only for the alertness of Dave Barrett in diving at the striker’s feet and clawing the ball away for a corner.

With the tie delicately balanced on a knife-edge with chances still being created at both ends, whoever got their noses in front now could see out the tie. In a dramatic finale and ref Robbie Gregan looking at both assistants Damien O’Mahony and Denis Morley for confirmation that time was up, Barrett’s long clearance looked to be going out of play on the city side-line. O’Mahony’s flag was about to be raised when Carpets’ sub Alan Costello somehow wrapped his leg around the ball on the line and proceeded to cross low first time.

Jimmy Byrne bearing down on goal with Connolly and sub Steve Heffernan in pursuit, met the ball on the meat to fire high past  Billy Noonan and into the roof of the net, to the joy of the sizeable Youghal following. Despite a call for the ball being out of play, Gregan gave a thumbs up to assistant O’Mahony and within a minute of the resumption of play, blew the final whistle to end another titanic encounter between the age-old rivals.

For Youghal, the prospect of meeting the winners of the CIE Athletic or MCM quarter in the last four would again be another contest to relish while for Fords, their contribution to another exhilarating tie will live long in the memory and justify their status as one of the best teams to have ever graced the Cork Business League.

Fords: Billy Noonan (capt.):  Denis Lyne, Paddy O’Mahony; Pat Quirke, Michael Connolly; Tony O’Leary (Steve Heffernan), Johnny Clifford,  Bobby Humphries; Tony Herrick, Brendan O’Keeffe, John Good (Barry Terry).

Youghal Yarns: Dave ‘Badger’ Barrett (capt.): Davie O’Mahony, Connie Hosford; Bernard ‘Bones’ O’Sullivan, Gerry Ryan (Cyril O’Mahony); Tommy Searls, Denis Crowley (Alan Costello), Jim Atkins (Pat Saville); Greg Cooney, Alex O’Regan, Jimmy Byrne.

Referee: Robbie Gregan. Assistant Referees: Damien O’Mahony, Denis Morley. Fourth Official: Denis Cronin.