Castleisland AFC 3 – Listowel Celtic 1
Report by Mike Rice
Castleisland completed the League and Cup double in dramatic style at sun drenched Mounthawk Park on Sunday when they won the Greyhound Bar Cup final after a very impressive victory over Listowel Celtic in an epic encounter.
It was a game in which Castleisland striker Sean Brosnan showed his real class with two stunning goals – the second of which Argentinian striker Lionel Messi would be proud of while the third goal by veteran Pa O’Rourke showed that he still has the Midas Touch when it comes to finding the net.
This was an action packed game played at a fast pace that gave excellent entertainment for the big crowd present. The two late goals in the space of three minutes clinched the game for Castleisland.
The final scoreline does not do justice to Listowel Celtic who dominated the game in stages but just lacked the finishing power up front.
Castleisland clearly showed that they can perfect their game plan and in striker Sean Brosnan they have a lethal finisher who has been scoring great goals all season.
There was a number of changes in both sides from the teams that played in the Premier A final with Aidan Carey taking over in goals from Darragh O’Shea for Listowel Celtic while Craig Sheehy replaced Kevin Murphy.
There were two changes in the Castleisland side with Sean Og O Ciardubháin starting at midfield replacing Pierce Brosnan while Mike Hanifin replaced Maurice Hickey.
“Cutting in he sized up his options and delivered a deliciously curling shot from 30 yards out on the wing which went in at the far post for a goal of sheer class.”
Played in very hot conditions on an excellent pitch the game got off to an explosive start with Castleisland scoring after 16 seconds.
After the kick off Castleisland moved the ball forward and a bit of hesitancy at the back by Seamus Keane who was looking for offside proved costly for Celtic with Sean Brosnan racing in to win the ball and gave Aidan Carey no chance from close range.
Celtic responded very well to this early setback and with the excellent Paudie Quinn pulling the strings they began to put a considerable amount of pressure on the Castleisland defence. They were winning the fight in the middle of park and were putting a lot of threatening attacks together.
After a period of sustained pressure Celtic got back on level terms with a goal of tremendous quality.
Good work by Bryan Murphy won the ball and he laid it off Paudie Quinn. His fantastic spin and turn left Aidan O’Callaghan stranded and he unleashed a ferocious shot from 10 yards which flew past a helpless Castleisland goalie.
“Castleisland were now playing their traditional route one game and were looking dangerous”
After this Castleisland can thank their goalkeeper Kevin Moran for staying on level terms as he made two fantastic saves to deny Paudie Quinn.
The first came in the 26th minute after a Bryan Murphy free kick. Quinn got on the end of it but Moran went full length to get fingertips to it and steer it around the post. Then Quinn struck again in a lightening attack but Moran showed great agility to push away his powerful shot.
Castleisland were now playing their traditional route one game and were looking dangerous in any type of set piece situations and also on the counter attack.
Sean Og Ó Ciardubháin was almost in for Castleisland on the half hour mark but he was denied by a superb last ditch tackle by Seamus Keane.
Then Sean Brosnan floated in a free kick from the sideline but Dean Poolman’s header was wide of the target. Celtic had the majority of the possession in the first half but the game was delicately poised at half time.
Celtic continued to set the pace in the second half but they were getting no change from a Castleisland rearguard which was excellently marshaled by Barry Lynch and Aidan O’Callaghan.
Celtic had an early chance but Ian Murphy could not finish it while Eddie Joe Walsh got to the end of a Bryan Murphy free kick but his header was wide.
Bryan Murphy tried a long range effort without success and Martin Loughnane headed over a Jamie Barry free kick. Then Castleisland began to get a grip on the game and carve out a few openings. As the game approached the final 12 minutes all indications were that a replay was on the cards.
“Once again Castleisland showed themselves to be the masters of getting ahead and staying there”
However this all changed in the 79th minute when Ian Murphy lost possession cheaply out on the wing and Sean Brosnan took advantage.
Cutting in he sized up his options and delivered a deliciously curling shot from 30 yards out on the wing which went in at the far post for a goal of sheer class.
Celtic had no time to recover from this set back as Castleisland struck again three minutes later after a defensive error by Seamus Keane who left his back pass to his goalie short and sub Pa O’ Rourke was on to it in a flash and using all his experience to good effect jinxed past the defender rounded the goalie and rolled the ball into an unprotected net.
There was no chance of salvation now for a shell shocked Celtic side who did not know what hit them and Castleisland slowed down the game and ran out deserving winners. Once again Castleisland showed themselves to be the masters of getting ahead and staying there.
The difference between the sides at the end of the day was that Castleisland took their chances and Listowel didn’t score when they had a lot of possession and they were made pay dearly for three defensive mistakes.
Castleisland have been denied titles in more recent years by very strong Killarney Celtic, Lisselton Rovers and The Park sides but they kept coming back and this year they attained the double which is a phenomenal achievement for the club.
At the end of the day Castleisland were very worthy champions and captain Aidan O’Callaghan was given a great reception as he was presented with the cup by the secretary of the KDL John O’ Regan.
Afterwards the man of the match award, which was sponsored by the Greyhound Bar, was presented to Sean Brosnan of Castleisland.
Neutrals had to feel very sorry for Listowel Celtic who had played so well and went down at such a late stage but they will be back again and a major title can’t be too far away for the Fealesiders.
Teams: Castleisland, Kevin Moran, Barry Lynch, Aidan O’Callaghan, Paul Carmody, Mike Hanifin, Dean Poolman, (Jonathan Downey, 54), Shane O Loughlin, Sean Og Ó Ciardubháin, (Pa O’Rourke, 75), Timothy Walsh, Sean Brosnan, Stan Divane, (Tim O’Donoghue 88).
Listowel Celtic: Aidan Carey, Martin Loughnane, (Kevin Bambury 83), Micheál Lynch, Seamus Keane, Craig Sheehy, (Ricky Halpin 86), Eddie Joe Walsh, Kevin Mc Carthy, Paudie Quinn, Jamie Barry, Bryan Murphy, Ian Murphy.
Referee: Derek O Shea.
McCARTHY OVER THE MOON WITH DOUBLE WIN
Winning the league and cup double is only a dream for most team managers but it has become a reality for Castleisland a reality for Castleisland boss Mike McCarthy and coming on his first year as team manager it is something very special.
Naturally he was over the moon with Sundays result after the game.
“My aim when I took over the reins was to try and win Premier A and we done that and winning the Greyhound Bar Cup put the icing on the cake.
“We knew it was going to be tough battle to overcome Listowel Celtic but we had a game plan
and it worked. The early goal gave us a great boost but Celtic struck back and the game was wide open at half time.
“We took control in the last 20 minutes of the game and got the two goals in a 3 minute spell which was fantastic.”
“Sean Brosnan’s goal was a wonder strike while Pa O Rourke showed he has still plenty of oil in the tank coming on and scoring a crucial goal.
“He has been a great servant of the club over the years and is a great man to spring from the bench as he has a habit of scoring goals.
“We never got over excited when Listowel were attacking frequently we just defended well and waited for the chances to come.
“We have excellent strikers in Sean Brosnan and Stan Divane who score a lot of goals. Sean has netted 26 goals this season while Stan Divan has scored 18 and they are impressive statistics.
“Every player on the panel contributed to winning this double as they gave tremendous
commitment all season and had great self-belief going into every game”
“We kept grinding out the results and got our reward at the end of the season”
“We look forward to a few free weeks now to take in what we have achieved and recharge the batteries for the new season,” said the delighted manager.
The Men Who Built The Team
While Mike McCarthy rightly takes the plaudits for this great double there are a few lads behind the scenes that have nurtured this team in recent years.
The first man that springs to mind is Edmond Harnett who won several cup competitions with the side but just came up short on winning the league title.
Of course Mike Mc Carthy was part and parcel of the team for many years but decided to step down this year and concentrate on winning the league as team manager.
Last year he teamed up with Jason Mc Carthy to manage the team and this season with Jason Mc Carthy taking up duty as a referee he was chosen to do the job on his own.
His namesake Mike K McCarthy also manned their defence for several years and hung up the boots this season.
Then of course there is the maestro himself Georgie O’Callaghan (Chicken to his friends) who has done tremendous work at underage level in Castleisland for the past three decades and has brought many of this present team up through the underage ranks.
A fanatical Manchester United fan, Georgie does all this behind the scenes and never seeks the limelight for the great work he does.
He was a delighted man of Sunday and he should be as he has played a key role in bringing the double to fruition.
I have been told tom Tom Mc Carthy’s Bar was heaving again on Sunday night and by all accounts the celebrating will go on for the rest of the week.
Congratulations to all the players and mentors who achieved this unbelievable double they have done their club proud and more trophies will follow in the years ahead.
My sincere thanks to manager,Mike McCarthy for all his co-operation and assistance during the season. Also to club PRO their excellent custodian Kevin Moran who sent in all the results and scorers during the season.
Speaking after the game veteran Castleisland striker Pa O Rourke who came on late and scored said he was delighted with the win.
“I have been playing for the club for 22 years and it is great to win a title in the twilight of my playing years. Nowadays I only get called from the bench but it is still wonderful to come on and score and win a fantastic double.
We knew it was going to be a close game after the battles we had in the league final and replay.
We got ahead and became cautious and sat back on our lead which gave Celtic the opportunity to attack. When they equalized we came out of our shell more and began creating chances. We were happy enough at half time as we knew we had the legs and desire to go on and win the game.
We were on top for the final 20 minutes and got the goals that mattered at the end.
Sean Brosnan is a great young player and when he gets a chance he usually puts them away. He is only 20 so there are many more titles ahead for him.
It has been a fantastic year for the club winning the double is very special since it was 36 years since the club done it last.
The lads gave great commitment all year and it is great to have a lot of show for all the effort and sacrifice they put in all season,” said Pa.