Park United 3 Fermoy 0
PARK UNITED are this year’s Pop Keller Cup champions after they beat fellow north Cork side Fermoy in the final at O’Shea Park over the weekend.
Two first-half goals and another in injury-time secured the Mitchelstown side’s second MSL trophy in two seasons, having won the senior second division title last year.
It was a disappointing end to the season for Fermoy, who saw their promotion bid from the second division come up short and they were also forced to play second fiddle here.
Park couldn’t have asked for a better start as they took the lead inside the opening minute when David Murphy hit a cracking shot from outside the penalty area which beat Liam Coleman in the Fermoy goal.
Fermoy were rocked by such an early setback, and they went about trying to get back in the game.
They had a half chance to draw level three minutes later when John Hurley tried his luck from the angle of the penalty area, but his effort lacked enough power to trouble Cathal O’Sullivan in the Park United goal.
Just after the quarter hour mark Fermoy had a better chance to level the contest when Gavin Quirke escaped his marker inside the penalty area, but he pushed his shot wide of the post.
Despite those scares, Park held the upper hand in the first half. They were strong right down the middle — from centre-backs Lawrence O’Flynn and Michael Barrett to Michael Walsh and Ger O’Neill in midfield, to Shane Cahill up top.
Goalscorer, captain, and man of the match Murphy was full of energy through the 90 minutes and he drove his team on.
Indeed, he had a hand in Park’s second goal when O’Neill headed home Murphy’s corner from the left to give Park a foothold in the contest.
Four minutes later, Park came close to stretching their lead when James Sheehan broke on to a long ball over the top on the right side of the area, but he pulled his shot wide at the far post.
Fermoy’s best chance of the half arrived 10 minutes before the interval when Quirke’s shot inside the penalty area was saved by Coleman, but fell into the path of Kurt Wheeler whose effort looked goalbound but for O’Flynn’s excellent block.
It was Park, though, who still looked the more impressive of the two sides and moments later a William O’Brien corner was met by Barrett who climbed highest in the box, but his header was deflected wide off a team-mate.
A minute later Cahill got a good shot in a difficult position, but Coleman was equal to it.
That was quickly followed by another Park effort from Murphy whose well-struck volley looked like it was heading to the net, only to be blocked en route.
There were 10 minutes added time played in the first half after injuries to John Hurley and Darren Scott, both of whom had to be replaced.
Park’s high tempo dropped a little after the break and chances were less frequent.
Indeed Fermoy came more into the game and had a couple of half chances.
In the 67th minute good work by Kevin Dolan saw him win possession and put Coleman under pressure and when the ball came to Quirke his effort from close range cleared off the line.
Fermoy couldn’t find a way past a strong Park defence, though, and it was the Mitchelstown side who would score again, sub Dylan Considine firing home from close range after some loose defending.
PARK UNITED: Cathal O’Sullivan, Liam McGrath, William O’Brien, Lawrence O’Flynn, Michael Barrett, Gerard O’Neill, David Murphy, Michael Walsh, Shane Cahill, James Sheehan, Dara Cronin-Jenks.
Subs: Eamonn O’Sullivan for Cronin-Jenks (65); Rafael Komonski for Walsh (73), Colin Stack for O’Neill (81), Dylan Considine for Sheehan (85), Jake Robinson for McGrath (injury-time).
FERMOY: Liam Coleman, Adrian Clancy, Alan Bargary, Adam Ronan, Darrent Scott, Sean McCarthy, Owen O’Neill, Kevin Dolan, Kurt Wheeler, Gavin Quirke, John Hurley.
Subs: Hurley for Sean Desmond (31 inj), Alan Deegan for Scott (41 inj); JJ Murphy for O’Neill (57), Manu Borgis for Ronan (75)
Referee: David Coleman, assistants Mark O’Connell, Paul Braganza.