Joe Delaney Cup Final
Nenagh Celtic Youths 1 - St Michael’s Youths 2
A Darren Lowry headed goal two minutes from time gave St Michaels victory by the narrowest of margins over Nenagh Celtic in the final of the Joe Delaney Cup played at Brickfields Nenagh last Saturday evening. This game involving the top flight winners of Youths football from both the North Tipperary & District League and the Tipperary Southern District league was played at a lively pace throughout and the concession of the winning goal at such a late stage was surely less than Nenagh Celtic side deserved after turning in a gallant performance throughout the ninety minutes. The Tipperary Town side made the first incision when Jamie Morrissey raided down the left flank inside the first minute, the resulting cross flew across the goal mouth and over the end line. Donagh Leahy followed up on three minutes with a delivery from the right as the ball rolled across the Celtic goalmouth when a touch was all that was needed. Nenagh Celtic’s first effort came from a David Walsh free kick in the 8th minute. St Michaels were enjoying the better of the early exchanges and a well struck free kick from the boot of Jamie Morrissey in the 7th minute rebounded off the Nenagh Celtic wall, Morrissey’s second attempt pulled wide of the target. Nenagh Celtic responded minutes later when Craig Connolly’s pile driver was deflected out for a corner kick.
St Michael’s Niall Hanley combined with James Power in the 14th minute, however the show flew over the crossbar. Donagh Leahy’s cheeky overhead kick in the 26th minute pulled to the right of the Nenagh upright. St Michael’s Paddy Finnan had to be quick off his line seconds later to thwart a promising Nenagh Celtic move as Nenagh became more prominent as the half wore on. Danny Ryan was controlling affairs in midfield and was well supported by David Walsh and Mark Walsh, the NT&DL side went ahead in the 33rd minute when a flowing move on the left flank saw Craig Connolly send a low pass to Danny Ryan who let fly with a powerful thirty yard drive that finished in the corner of the net. The lead was short lived however as St Michaels were back on par within three minutes when Niall O’Donovan’s long delivery from a free kick well inside his own half seem to deceive the Nenagh rearguard, however Darren Lowry read the situation to perfection before nodding the ball between the posts from close range. Donagh Leahy’s well struck shot from out on the right five minutes before the break came back of the Nenagh Celtic upright, however play was called back for an offside infringement. Nenagh finished the half strongly and Craig Connolly linked up with Adam Mitchell on 44 minutes who swung in the cross, however the ball drifted away from the danger area. This was followed seconds later with a good effort from Joseph Danagher that saw the Michaels custodian stretching to palm the ball away for a corner.
Nenagh Celtic were first in to the action at the start of the second half and Joseph Danagher pulled the ball across the goal line after two minutes of play, however the Tipperary Town side somehow managed to keep the ball out. St Michael’s Niall O’Donovan was proving to be a threat with long range deliveries and the Nenagh Celtic custodian had to be alert to gather on the hour mark. The game was being evenly contested and Craig Connolly wasn’t far off for the Nenagh side minutes later. A well struck left legged effort from Jamie Morrissey finished in the Nenagh Celtic side netting with 22 minutes remaining. Danny Ryan was the most influential player on the field as the Nenagh side pushed forward in search of the lead, and the Nenagh Celtic number seven was unlucky with a headed effort in the 77th minute. St Michael’s were also creating chances and Nenagh Celtic were let off the hook on 81 minutes when a Darren Lowry header was wide of the target. St Michael’s Paddy Finnan came to the rescue for St Michaels with four minutes remaining when Danny Ryan’s sweetly struck free kick from just outside the box was goal bound, however the net minder made a fine save. A hectic finish to the tie saw St Michael’s claims for a handball in the 87th minute going unheard. This was followed seconds later with a Brian Lowry quickly taken corner kick to Niall O’Donovan who was St Michael’s best player on show, the resulting cross was pin point and Darren Lowry was clinical with a headed effort that planted the ball in the top corner with time almost up. The NT&DL side rallied in the remaining minutes despite this cruel blow and were denied a deserved equaliser three minutes in to injury time when Adam Mitchell’s shot from an acute angle was saved at point blank range by St Michael’s Paddy Finnan. This was a disappointing defeat for a Nenagh Celtic side that turned in an all round performance, however the Nenagh Club can take heart that the vast majority of their side are underage again next season. St Michael’s stuck to their task throughout and were worthy winners on the day.
Man of the Match: Danny Ryan
Nenagh Celtic Youths: David Cleary, Christopher Ryan, Adam Mitchell, Brendan Sheehan(Capt.), Paddy Flynn, Mark Walsh, Danny Ryan, David Walsh, Craig Connolly, Cliff Moloney, Joseph Danagher.
Subs: Enrico Casey for David Walsh (59th minute), Tommy Heffernan for Paddy Flynn(89th minute)
Subs Not Used: Jamie Spain, Mark Flannery
St Michael’s Youths: Paddy Finnan(Capt.), Eoin Farrell, Bryan Lowry, Niall O’Donovan, Michael Frawley, Niall Hanley, Danny Whyte, James Power, Darren Lowry, Donagh Leahy, Jamie Morrissey
Subs: Alan Hayes for Danny Whyte (45th minute), Declan Ryan for Donagh Leahy (89th minute)
Subs Not Used: Brian Nuggent, Jon Breheny, Eoin McCarthy
Referee: Liam Kelly
Assistant Referee’s: Jimmy McCarthy, Toddy Sweeney