Tipperary Cup Final
Nenagh AFC ‘A’ 1 – Nenagh Celtic ‘A’ 1 (AET)
Nenagh AFC ‘A’ and Nenagh Celtic ‘A’ will have to do it all again after the sides were deadlocked on a one all score line at the end of extra time in this lively encounter played at Thurles Greyhound Stadium last Sunday afternoon. Nenagh AFC came in to this game as Tipperary Cup holders and were installed as slight favourites having already pipped their neighbouring rivals for the Premier Division league title, however it was Nenagh Celtic that made the better start when Jimmy Hynes threatened after three minutes with an effort from close range which was blocked out at the expense of a corner. Arthur Mitchell followed up for Celtic two minutes later with a well struck shot that pulled wide of the upright. Stevie Ryan found Jimmy Hynes on the ten minute mark, however the Nenagh AFC defence closed in to avert the danger. The Premier Division champions were defending in numbers at this stage and Darren Scully let fly from inside the six yard box two minutes later, however the ball was cleared off the line. Nenagh AFC came in to the game as the half progressed and Martin Donnellan tried to find space on the left as Celtic closed in to concede a corner which was ably defended by the Cup holders. Michael O’Gorman’s well struck free was over the Nenagh Celtic crossbar in the twentieth minute. Michael O’Gorman was in the action again on the 26th minute mark with a cross from the right, John Mitchell got a vital touch and cleared away from the danger area. Nenagh AFC keeper Robbie Ryan had to be alert a minute later with a well timed punch that took the ball from the head of Mark Walsh. Nenagh AFC’s Robbie Ryan was the busier of the two keepers in the opening half and did well to catch cleanly from Mark McKenna eleven minutes before the break. An Arthur Mitchell delivery fell to Jimmy Hynes three minutes later, however the shot ricocheted out for a corner kick. Nenagh Celtic’s best chance of the opening half came on 40 minutes when Danny Ryan swung the ball in to Jimmy Hynes, however Robbie Ryan read the situation well and raced of his line to make the save. Nenagh AFC took the lead in the 42nd minute when Paul Kelly sent a teasing free kick behind the Celtic’s defence, Michael O’Gorman’s reacted swiftly and raced through to knock the ball to the net from close range.
Nenagh Celtic created the opening chance of the second half three minutes in when Stevie Ryan floated in a free kick with Mark McKenna’s headed effort veering to the left of the target. Nenagh AFC won a trio of frees, however Celtic defended sternly to keep the score line intact. John Donnellan fired wide the Nenagh AFC goal on 52 minutes as Celtic turned up the heat. A darting run from Noel Tucker saw Nenagh’s net minder Robbie Ryan doing well to get down and make the save. Paul Kelly’s free kick wasn’t far off on the hour mark. Mark McKenna put in a sweeping tackle three minutes later to deny Nenagh AFC’s Michael Hogan. Nenagh Celtic got back on par in the 79th minute when Arthur Mitchell was adjudged to have been taken down following a mazy run down the left flank, Arthur Mitchell then stepped up to bury the resulting penalty. It was tit for tat after this and Danny Ryan’s effort following a corner kick was left of the Nenagh AFC post. Jimmy Hynes picked out Mark Walsh who shot outside the upright three minutes from time.
The Cup holders nearly stole victory four minutes in to injury time when Michael Hogan was through on goal and it took a breathtaking reflex save from Aidan Herlihy to turn the ball around the upright.
Nenagh Celtic enjoyed the better of the exchanges during the first period of extra time, a Paul Kelly free was scrambled out for a corner kick after two minutes, John Donnellan drove wide of the Nenagh goal minutes later. Nenagh AFC’s Shane O’Gorman did well to clear from Danny Ryan just before the break. Nenagh Celtic were on top again at the start of the second period and an Arthur Mitchell corner was met by Danny Ryan with be header pulling away from the target. Stevie Ryan had been instrumental in many of the Nenagh Celtic moves throughout and shot over with a powerful effort in the 106th minute. Goalkeeper Robbie Ryan smothered Stevie Ryan’s free on the second attempt a minute later and in the final piece of action Craig Connolly’s effort was scrambled out over the Nenagh AFC end line for a corner kick. Both teams had given their all on the day in what was an entertaining spectacle and it will take another outing to determine the destination of the Tipperary Cup for the 2008/2009 season with Nenagh Celtic having a slight physiological advantage going in to the replay.
Man of the Match: Stevie Ryan
Nenagh AFC ‘A’: Robbie Ryan, David Chadwick, Paul Cullen (Capt), John O’Gorman, Shane O’Gorman, Andy Chadwick, Paul Kelly, Michael Hogan, Martin Donnellan, Stefan Olah
Subs: Trevor Morrissey for Stefan Olah (56th minute), Deáran O’Gorman for Paul Cullen (67th minute), John Mitchell for Martin Donnellan (88th minute)
Subs Not Used: Arron Savage, Sean Healy
Nenagh Celtic ‘A’: Aidan Herlihy, Derek McKenna, Noel Tucker, Mark McKenna, John Donnellan, Stevie Ryan, Danny Ryan, Mark Walsh, Darren Scully, Arthur Mitchell (Capt), Jimmy Hynes.
Subs: Craig Connolly for Darren Scully (70th minute), David Walsh for Mark Walsh (99th minute)
Subs Not Used: Neil O’Donnell, Brendan Sheahan, Mark Flannery
Referee: Liam Kelly
Assistant Referee’s: Jimmy McCarthy, Martin Goldsboro