Denny Premier ‘A’ League Final Replay: Castleisland AFC 1 Listowel Celtic 0.
Report by: Mike Rice
Castleisland have been knocking on the door of Premier A league title success for a few years now. They reached the promised land at Mounthawk Park on Sunday when they were crowned Premier A Champions with a hard fought win over Listowel Celtic in this replay.
The last encounter failed to produce a goal and a solitary goal two minutes from half time from the penalty spot was enough to take the spoils for Castleisland on this occasion..
The Islanders used their experience to great effect defending very resolutely at the back, were ready to hit on the counter attack at every opportunity and were always a threat from dead ball situations.
Their brand of football may not be too attractive to watch but it is a winning recipe which has stood them well over the past five or six years.
In winning the title they bridged a 36 year gap since they last won a league final back in 1978.
The neutral fan had to feel sympathy for Listowel Celtic as they were unbeaten in the league and now end up with nothing for all the effort they put in during the season.
Celtic enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in this game but despite this their free kicks and corner kicks were not effective enough and they were not able to get any decent shot on target over the 90 minutes.
This was a tough robust game at times which was well handled by referee Stuart Templeman.
Celtic was well in top in the first half with Eddie Joe Walsh and Paudie Quinn working hard at midfield they kept the ball on the deck and were on the offensive on a regular basis.
They got a good chance in the 10th minute with a free kick about 10 yards outside the box but Paudie Quinn’s effort was well over the top.
They were back on the attack straight away again and after great build up play Eddie Joe Walsh stole in at the back post but his header was too weak to test Castleisland keeper Kevin Moran.
Gradually Castleisland began to be more influential at midfield and Celtic goalie Darragh O Shea had to be smartly off his line to deny Mike Hanifin after he was put through on goals by Sean Brosnan.
Celtic then got two free kicks in promising positions but Paudie Quinn was unable to test the keeper with either of them.
In the 23rd minute Castleisland got a free kick just outside the box after a foul on Sean Brosnan.
After dusting himself off, he took the free kick and it was only a whisker away and just over the crossbar.
Then Celtic went close after a great run by Kevin Bambury he fed Eddie Joe Walsh coming in at an angle but he shot into the side netting.
Celtic put a good move together in the 30th minute with Ian Murphy using his pace to get past the cover but he fired his shot wide.
Their best chance came in the 39th minute but a Bryan Murphy volley from the verge of the box went over the top.
However, Celtic were caught stone cold two minutes from the break when a great over the top ball from Timothy Walsh fell in the path of Sean Brosnan. He used his speed to catch up and get past a defender and as he entered the box he was taken down by Celtic goalie Darragh O’Shea and Stuart Templemen pointed straight to the spot and issued a yellow card to the offender.
Sean Brosnan gave the Celtic goalie no chance with a sweet low shot to the bottom corner.
Celtic must have felt awful at half time to be going in a goal down after having enjoyed so much possession.
Castleisland closed down the shop at the back in the second half allowing Celtic possession but they rarely looked like getting the equalizer.
As the half progressed Celtic manager Aiden O’Connor used his three substitutions to try and get that much needed goal.
They got a number of free kicks and corner kicks but they could get past a Castleisland defense which was superbly marshalled by Aidan O’Callaghan.
They won everything in the air and cleared their lines whenever danger was imminent.
Castleisland could have put wrapped up the game two minutes from time when Sean Brosnan and Stan Divane combined to put Pierce Brosnan through on goals but with an unprotected gaping goals in front of him he volleyed the ball over the top.
Celtic kept fighting right up to the very end but they never looked like getting the equalizer.
On the day Castleisland’s game plan worked and they were worthy winners at the end.
There was a huge reception for the captain of the Castleisland side Aidan O’Callaghan as he was presented with the cup by the chairman of the Kerry District League, Sean O’Keeffe.
In his acceptance speech he commended his colleagues for the great team performance they produced.
He said they had been waiting a long time for this league win and that it was well worth waiting for it.
While it was the Castleisland team that were the heroes on the day the platform for this success was set up many years ago with the likes of Georgie O’Callaghan promoting underage football and bringing young players up through the ranks. Edmond Harnett also did a great job with the team for seven years until he stepped down two years ago.
Jason McCarthy then stepped into the breach for a year and this season Mike Mc Carthy, after starring for the side as a player, in recent years took over as manager and now it has been a dream season for him.
Castleisland has won a good few cup competitions with Edmond Harnett at the helm but now their ultimate dream has come true by winning the Premier A and the celebrations are likely to continue all week.
By all accounts the team and their supporters celebrated in real style at Tom Mc Carthy’s Bar after the game.
While winning the league was their ultimate aim they are still in the Greyhound Bar Cup and it looks as if they might be meeting Listowel Celtic in the final if everything goes according to plan.
Teams. Castleisland: Kevin Moran, Barry Lynch, Paul Carmody, Maurice Hickey, Aidan O’ Callaghan, Shane O’Loughlin, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Walsh, Stan Divane, Sean Brosnan, Mike Hanifin, (Pa O’Rourke, 80)
Listowel Celtic: Darragh O’Shea, Martin Loughnane, Kevin Mc Carthy, Micheál Lynch, Seamus Keane, Kevin Murphy, Eddie Joe Walsh, (Craig Sheehy 61) Paudie Quinn, Kevin Bambury, (Jamie Barry 61) Bryan Murphy, Ian Murphy, (Ricky Halpin 75). Referee: Stuart Templeman.
CASTLEISLAND MANAGER THRILLED
The manager of the Castleisland team Mike McCarthy said that winning the final was absolutely massive for the club.
“It is only my first year as manager but Edmund Hartnett built up this team over the past six or seven years and Jason McCarthy brought it further last year”
“The foundations was set for me and I carried on the work and it has yielded the ultimate reward
We knew this was going to be a dogged game in which there would not be too many chances.
We didn’t panic at any stage just kept doing the simple things well and waiting for a chance to pounce.
It was a clear penalty when Sean Brosnan was taken down and we had full confidence that he would score it”
It was a great team performance all the lads were prepared to put their bodies on to the line to protect our lead once it was established we were determined not to relinquish it,” said McCarthy.
The chairman of the Castleisland club, Mike Brosnan was reduced to tears of joy at the end of the game and said he was overwhelmed with the victory.
“When you have to wait 36 years for a league triumph it is very special and it means the world to the club,” he said.