⚽ Cork Business League 2021-22 Season Review ⚽

? Finbarr Buckley

AFTER two enforced postponements due to the Covid pandemic outbreak, the beginning of the 2021-’22 season couldn’t come fast enough as the season got underway earlier than ever recorded on the weekend of July 17-19.

Who better to get the ball rolling in the shield competition than holders Doolan’s Cow. The reigning Premier Division champions had played the postponed 2020/21 final on Sunday, June 28, defeating Martin Harvey Solicitors 1-0 at Turner’s Cross. Their defence began with a 4-2 win over Marlboro Trust while in the same group Cork Hospitals had too much for debutants Lion’s Den, running out 4-1 winners at the Farm.

Other notable results on the opening weekend included impressive wins for Co Council, UCC Utd. and Harp Celtic while the only match which went to penalties involved another new club, Jay Bazz, who lost out 4-3 to MHS after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the ninety minutes. The shield culminated in Doolan’s defeating District 11 in one semi-final while a month later Jay Bazz eventually got to play their last-four tie against Satellite Taxi which they narrowly lost 3-2.

The final took place at Turner’s Cross on Sunday, November 7 and once again featured a victory for Doolan’s Cow who despite going behind inside two minutes to a penalty from Breff McCarthy, rallied to level through an Aaron Hennessy deflected header before James Cotter and Jamie Murphy wrapped up a fourth triumph in six seasons.

There were mixed fortunes for Business League teams in the Junior Cup competitions as Doolan’s Cow and UCC United successfully navigated their way past Carrigaline United A and Leeside respectfully while Derrow Rovers, Harp Celtic, District 11, Marlboro Trist and Martin Harvey Solicitors all acquitted themselves well in losing out narrowly to a variety of Cork AUL and MSL teams.

League action began in early September with wins in the Premier for Martin Harvey Solicitors over Jason O’Neill Electrical (4-1) and Healy O’Connor Solicitors over Crookstown United at Garryduff. Lion’s Den, who would go on to lead the division for most of the season, saw off Derrow 2-1, in the First Division.

The Weigh Inn shared the spoils with Longboats, 2-2, while Daz Barbers triumphed over Co Council 3-2. There was also an opening weekend win for Anthony Cody’s Brew Boys over VIP Barbers leaving Cork Hospitals and Telus International to wind up a high scoring weekend courtesy of a 1-1 draw at The Farm.

The season moved into the New Year on track with the Mooney Cup competition reaching its climax with the first final meeting between Doolan’s and Crookstown United scheduled for Turner’s Cross on Easter Sunday. However, torrential rain in the morning forced the final to be postponed until the following Monday.

The shield and champions-elect, Doolan’s Cow, were given the fright of their lives by the West Cork underdogs who raced into a 2-0 lead inside the opening twenty minutes courtesy of Patrick O’Sullivan and Kevin Barrett. The well oiled Doolan’s machine eventually clicked into gear when a brace from Jamie Murphy, the second a penalty, with less than twenty minutes remaining set up a dramatic final quarter. With virtually the last kick of the game, captain Tony O’Reilly popped up with the winner to break the hearts of a gallant Crookstown and secure his team’s third silverware of the season.

Business League treasurer Ray Anthony and registrar Joe Murphy present the Fred Hickey First Division trophy to Brew Boys following the 4-1 win over Lion’s Den at Mayfield Park. Picture: Finbarr Buckley.
Business League treasurer Ray Anthony and registrar Joe Murphy present the Fred Hickey First Division trophy to Brew Boys following the 4-1 win over Lion’s Den at Mayfield Park. Picture: Finbarr Buckley.
The Fred Hickey First Division title race went down to the wire with the top two, Brew Boys and Lion’s Den squaring up in the final fixture of the campaign. At the finish, Anthony Cody’s Brew Boys triumphed 4-1 at Mayfield Park with top scorer Gavin Quirke bagging a hat-trick. Another new club, Jay Bazz squeezed past Daz Barbers to claim the third promotion place.

Their season didn’t end there for Jay Bazz as a brace of penalty shoot-out wins in the quarter and semi-finals in the Frank Linehan First Division Cup set up an intriguing final duel with another first-time finalist Co Council. With both the divisional finals taking place in St Colman’s Park for the first time on Sunday, May 15, the season finished on a high.

A sizeable attendance witnessed a 2-1 victory for Jay Bazz who celebrated in style afterwards while Doolan’s Cow made sure a second quadruple of domestic honours by toppling Martin Harvey Solicitors two-nil in the afternoon fixture.

Behind the scenes, the management committee of secretary and MFA representative Peter Travers, fixture secretary Ashley Todd, treasurer Ray Anthony, registrar Joe Murphy and disciplinary officer Anto Golden have worked diligently to make sure the season progressed smoothly and plans are afoot already to prepare for the league’s 70th anniversary next season.

The management committee wishes to thank all our clubs, panel of referees and main sponsor Adrian Ryan for their encouragement and assistance during the season. Special to thanks to The Echo sports editor John McHale for providing excellent coverage throughout the season.

Best wishes to all and looking forward to gathering again in August for another momentous campaign.