Durrus FC 2 Drinagh Rangers 0
DURRUS overcame the odds to defeat defending champions, Drinagh Rangers, in the final of the Parkway Hotel/Maybury Coaches Cup.
The winners, having recently captured the Tier 1 Championship title, will be up with the big boys next season, and this final showed that promotion will hold no fears for them. Drinagh are one of the most consistent teams in the Premier League.
Durrus’ win was even more laudable because they had a player sent off after 25 minutes. They competed gamely regardless, until a Daniel Murray goal, 11 minutes before the end, made the dream a reality.
What also made it happen was a superb defence, behind which ’keeper Donal Casey gave a magnificent display, beginning with a penalty save. This was after Kieran Hourihane had handled the ball on the line and been sent off. Hourihane, Durrus’ spiritual leader, departed, leaving Barry O’Driscoll to take the penalty, which Casey saved, diving to his right.
The Durrus ’keeper then denied the Rangers’ captain as he tried to fire the rebound into the net.
Durrus manager, Tadhg O’Sullivan, had to reshuffle his charges and play 65-plus minutes at a numerical disadvantage.
They had to endure some tense moments, despite some herculean defending: James O’Donovan was superb; Dan Murray found time to get upfield and put them ahead; Jamie Coughlan switched positions to perform magnificently; and Eoghan O’Dwyer did some good work before his departure. Peter Thornton and Kevin Casey held their own in midfield.
On the right flank, Sean Stokes showed some nice touches, while Shane McSweeney and Shane Shannon kept the Rangers defence on their toes.
With Darren Beamish filling the left-back slot admirably, and JJ Collins and Barry O’Driscoll (T) faultless, the Rangers defence (Daniel McCarthy was also adept at free-kicks) ensured ’keeper Robert Oldham was mostly well-protected.
Long before substitute Brian O’Regan, assisted by Jason O’Sullivan, hit Rangers on the break to score an injury-time second goal for Durrus, they had lived dangerously.
Although injuries to central defenders, Robert O’Regan and Derek Crowley, upset their rhythm, Rangers continued to battle on, only to see a delightfully struck Gearóid White effort rebound off the upright, with Casey beaten for once.
With the game still delicately balanced, a Tomas Connolly header was somehow kept out by Donal Casey.
They were the loser’s best chances. For Drinagh Rangers, Barry O’Driscoll (H) and his teammates, including exciting young prospect, substitute Robbie McQueen, battled gamely until the mortal blow was delivered by Brian O’Regan, just before the final whistle, after which enthralled Durrus supporters swamped their all-conquering heroes.
DURRUS: D Casey, J Coughlan, D Murray, E O’Dwyer, K Hourihane, J O’Donovan, S Stoke, S Shannon, P Thornton, K Casey, S McSweeney.
Subs: B O’Regan, J O’Sullivan, S O’Driscoll, D Whooley, G O’Sullivan.
DRINAGH: R Oldham, D McCarthy, JJ Collins, B O’Driscoll (T), D Beamish, G White, D Crowley, R O’Regan, K Jagoe, B O’Driscoll (H), T Connolly.
Subs: R McQueen, A O’Driscoll, K Fitzpatrick.
Referee: S O’Neill