Two images from Sunday’s Denny Premier B League Final at Mounthawk Park will stay with me.
One is of goalscorer, Steven McCarthy being hugged at full time by his childhood and lifelong friend and team attendant, Gary O’Sullivan.
The other is of Steven, with the league cup in hand in the car-park, taking a selfie.
The teams were still only getting the feel of the occasion when Steven struck after little more than nine minutes in. His goal gave the Island boys the cushion – nerve-wracking it may be but a cushion nonetheless.
An Own Goal
The nerves were soothed with only minutes to go in the game when an error in the Mastergeeha defence caused an own goal. Steven’s dreams were realised.
Dreams fade but memories linger and selfies have their place on a day like this – Steven’s Day.
Injured Captain Shane
Manager Dan Maunsell confirmed that his team captain, Shane O’Loughlin is out of hospital but he sustained a broken collarbone and a damaged eye socket early in Sunday’s game. We wish him well in his recovery.
Here, soccer writer, Mike Rice reports on the game.
Another Title in the Bag for Castleisland. Denny Premier B League Final Castleisland B 2 – Mastergeeha 0
Castleisland teams make a habit of winning titles and their B team added another piece of silverware to their already overladen mantle-piece.
At Mounthawk Park on Sunday they were crowned Premier B Champions after a hard earned win over Mastergeeha.
The game was played in sweltering heat but both sides rose to the challenge and provided an entertaining game that was delicately balanced right up to the final whistle.
Referee Seamus O’Mahony did the sensible thing and allowed the players a water break midway through both halves.
Plenty of the Ball
Mastergeeha will be disappointed they did not score in this game as they had plenty of the ball but they were badly lacking in finishing power up front.
Great credit is due to Castleisland who had a game plan in place and stuck to it right to the very end.
Castleisland carried the biggest threat in the first half as they edged exchanges at midfield and Jonathan Downey and Steven Mc Carthy were a constant threat up front.
They took their chances when they got them and defended resolutely throughout the game while their goalie Martin Hewitt made a couple of fine saves at vital stages of the game.
Castleisland started strongly and forced a few early corners which yielded nothing.
Superbly Engineered Goal.
However they went ahead in the 10th minute with a superbly engineered goal.
A long ball out of defence was not dealt with by the Mastergeeha defenders who allowed the ball to bounce in the goalmouth and, as it bobbled about a bit, Steven McCarthy won possession rounded the last defender and drilled the ball low to the bottom corner.
They struck again shortly afterwards after a corner and a Danny Feehan effort was taken off the line.
An accidental clash of heads between Colm Lenihan and Shane O’Loughlin led to a hold up as both players were attended to and Shane O Loughlin had to retire and was replaced by Eamon Mc Loughlin while Colm Lenihan returned to play after getting some treatment.
Good Chance to Equalise
Mastergeeha had a good chance to equalise shortly afterwards but Noel Moynihan was denied by a fine save by the Castleisland keeper, Martin Hewitt.
Another counter attack created a chance for Mastergeeha when Noel Moynihan put in Padraig Doyle and with the Castleisland keeper off his line he tried to chip him and his effort was only fractionally too high.
Coming up to half time Mastergeeha had two more chances but Thomas Templeman was denied by a fine save by the Castleisland goalie while Chris Egan put a free kick over the top.
Mastergeeha dominated play in the second half as Castleisland sat back and defended their lead.
They had to rely on shots from distance to try and get a score and that became frustrating as the game progressed
As the half wore on Castleisland used their subs bench to good effect and slowed down the pace of the game.
When any bit of danger existed at the back Castleisland cleared their lines immediately and were not too particular where the ball went once it was out of play.
Mastergeeha tried their utmost to etch out an equaliser at the conclusion of the game but they just could not penetrate a rock solid Castleisland defence where Mike Cahill, Ger Byrne and Daniel Downey were in sparkling form while while Barry Lynch turned in an outstanding performance in front of the back four.
Out the Window
Any chance Mastergeeha had of getting an equaliser went out the window as disaster struck in the third minute of added time when they conceded a bizarre own goal.
Aidan Kerins was put under pressure at the back by sub, Pa O’Rourke and he passed the ball back to his goalkeeper but it was overhit and the advancing keeper tried to head it out but the ball went over his head and into the back of the net to seal the game for the Islanders.
It was a great all round display by Castleisland who were tight at the back creative at midfield and dangerous up front.
Although Castleisland are champions and promoted they can’t go up to Premier A next season as their A team are there already and a club can’t have two teams in the same division.
Teams: Castleisland B: Martin Hewitt, Evan O’Brien, (Stephen Divane 65 mins); Daniel Downey, Ger Byrne, Mike Cahill, Barry Lynch, Martin Mazza Moriarty, Shane O’Loughlin, (Eamon Mc Loughlin 20 mins); Danny Feehan, (Sean O’Connell 88 mins); Steven McCarthy, Jonathan Downey (Pa O’Rourke 88 mins).
Mastergeeha, Mike Gustaf, Paudie O’Connor, Aidan Kerins, Danny Wren, Jerh Sheehan, Colm Lenihan, Chris Egan, Padraig Doyle, Noel Moynihan, Paul Moroney, (James Nagle 70 mins); Tom Templeman. Referee, Seamus O’Mahony.
Manager of the Castleisland side, Dan Maunsell speaking after the game said he was delighted to win the title.
“The lads worked hard all season and it is great now to have something to show for it. Before the game we set a target to try and get an early goal and we got that and made sure we would hold on to it and we done that.”
“We defend Italian style and are very hard to break down. We were contented going in 1-0 ahead at half time but we knew Mastergeeha would come at us in the second half and we knew we had to be razor sharp to keep them at bay.”
“We were very tight at the back and restricted them to long range efforts on goal. The second goal was a bit out of the ordinary but they all count at the end and it clinched the game for us,” he said.
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