REIGNING league champions Doolan’s Cow edged out Youghal Yarns in an enthralling third-place play-off in the CBL Champions Super Cup at Turner’s Cross, writes Finbarr Buckley.
In a tie billed as two of the best from different eras, Doolan’s were quicker out of the traps with their right-winger Aaron Hennessy giving Youghal full-back Connie Hosford a torrid time with his electrifying pace. He set up the opening goal in the 11th minute with a mazy run and high cross to Jamie Murphy on the right touchline. Murphy instantly looped the ball into Carpets’ box where Tony O’Reilly hooked it in with a high volley. The Turner’s Cross crowd were stirred into life, chanting ‘Doolan’s, Doolan’s!’
But having grasped the whip hand early on, over-confidence crept in, giving Youghal a rare counter-attacking opportunity with Greg Cooney given a free run at goal. Neither left-back nor center-half was anywhere to be seen as Cooney lined up his shot. Luckily for Doolan’s, the Youghal spearhead pushed the ball just wide of James Murphy’s right-hand post. Cooney soon had another shot that struck the woodwork and the Cow knew they needed to tighten up. However, they reached the interval with their narrow lead intact.
Doolan’s recovered their early momentum upon the resumption with captain Darren Geraghty, back from injury, James O’Shea, and Liam Horgan having the upper hand in midfield. Jamie Murphy was once again the instigator as he stood up a high cross for center-forward Tony O’Reilly to head emphatically past Dave Barrett for his second of the night. Youghal has forty minutes left to mount an improbable comeback, but to their great credit that is what they did.
Their inspiration was playmaker Tommy Searls who suddenly sprung into life, pulling the strings in central midfield. It was his one-two that set up adventurous full-back Davie O’Mahony for a thumping shot on goal which Murphy could not stop. Demonstrating admirable sporting spirit, Doolan’s’ following warmly applauded his magnificent goal.
Youghal were back in the match with twenty-four minutes left and just two minutes later, Jimmy Byrne crossed for Cooney to produce a twisting header that flashed into the roof of the net at the near post. With Searls continuing to boss the center with his nifty twists and turns and probing passes, Carpets seemed to come out likely winners. Searls combined with re-invigorated left-winger Jim Atkins to set up a gilt-edged chance for the on-rushing Byrne. With the whole goal at his mercy, Byrnes hammered a high shot on target. Somehow, James Murphy, at full stretch, managed to flick the stinging drive onto the crossbar and over.
Searls then wriggled to the end line and cut back an inviting opportunity for sub Pat Saville , but his resulting shot was blocked. Laurence Murphy then went close, blasting the ball over the bar under pressure from Alan Monaher.
With only two minutes remaining, and Youghal again on the attack, Sean Hosford on a burst through the middle allowed the ball to get away from him. Doolan’s’ sub Keith McCarthy nipped in to break away at speed. His diagonal pass was seized upon by Liam Horgan who set up James Cotter, on for the injured Aaron Hennessy, to drive home Doolan’s’ winner from eighteen yards. Undeterred, Carpets immediately went on the attack but a team-mate blocked sub Denis Crowley’s powerful shot on goal. Youghal were left to rue their luck having raised their game so impressively and deservedly left the field to huge applause from both sets of supporters.
Referee Damien O’Mahony had a superb match, confidently dealing with anything that came his way. He only issued two yellow cards in the duration of the ninety minutes in what was a physical encounter at times. His assistants, Denis Morley and Bertie Stark communicated well with O’Mahony and could be heard encouraging their colleague in the centre whenever possible.
Doolan’s Cow (4-3-3) : James Murphy: Alan Monaher, Ian McCarthy ; Craig Keegan, Stephen McCarthy; Darren Geraghty (capt.) (Sean O’Sullivan), James O’Shea (Keith McCarthy), Liam Horgan; Tony O’Reilly, Aaron Hennessy ( James Cotter) , Jamie Murphy.
Youghal Carpet Yarns: Dave ‘Badger’ Barrett (capt.): Davie O’Mahony, Connie Hosford; Bernard ‘Bones’ O’Sullivan, Gerry Ryan (Cyril O’Mahony); Sean Hosford, Tommy Searls ( Denis Crowley), Jim Atkins (Pat Saville); Greg Cooney, Laurence Murphy, Jimmy Byrne.
Referee: Damien O’Mahony. Assistants Referees : Denis Morley and Bertie Stark. Fourth Official : Connie Long.