Carrigaline United 1 Villa FC 0
CARRIGALINE United Youths created history by capturing the club’s first ever Munster Youths Cup title on Saturday in Ozier Park.
A superb finish from Dylan O’Flaherty just on the hour mark was enough to see the Cork side lift their second cup in a week.
A quick-paced game from start to finish saw both sides 100% committed in every tackle with the eventual man of the match Ronan Connolly been the main culprit for the winners.
His energy, tough tackling, and work rate were a joy to watch.
Partnered with him in midfield was Nathan O’Connell whose skill and ability to play the perfect pass forward helped push Carrigaline on, especially in the second half.
The sides were nil-all at the break, with both sides creating just two chances apiece in the opening half.
O’Connell had the first with a training-ground free kick which involved Connolly, Dylan Stansfield, and O’Connell whose shot just went inches wide of the post.
Another half chance for Carrigaline United was from another free kick. Stansfield’s diagonal ball found O’Flaherty unmarked just inside the 18-yard box — a good strike from him only to be denied by an excellent save from Josh Kelly.
One of Villa’s chances came from Conor Walshe who struck from eight yards and although it had beat the keeper on the far post, his effort went inches wide. Another came when Daniel Hannigan found himself inside the six-yard box — but he was denied by a superb last-ditch tackle from captain Tom O’Connell.
The sides went in level at the break, and the second half was a much more composed performance from Carrigaline United.
The backline of Brian Simpson, Tom O’Connell, Stansfield, and Adam O’Driscoll were solid which allowed wingers Eoin Ryan and Wayne O’Halloran to push on.
It always looked as if there would be only one goal in this game and, before it was scored, Carrigaline had come close to taking the lead. A great move which involved Connolly, Nathan O’Connell, and Michael Fahy saw the latter strike, but his shot was saved by Kelly.
A minute later, Connolly’s corner was headed across the box by Nathan O’Connell on to the head of Tom O’Connell. However, his effort went over the bar.
Just on the hour mark, Stansfield got on the ball inside his own half. A perfect diagonal ball over the top saw O’Flaherty control superbly before leaving his marker for dust and slotting home the winner, much to the delight of the huge Carrigaline United support.
Villa did pile the pressure on Carrigaline with keeper Callum Finnegan needing to pull off a superb save on the 73rd minute and huge credit to Derek McCarthy’s side who finished strong.
If it wasn’t for the linesman’s obsession with waving the offside flag more often than he should have, Carrigaline could have added another goal or two. They dug deep to see out the game for a well-deserved victory.
Carrigaline United now turn their attention back to the local league where they face a huge game on Wednesday night against Greenwood.
Should they win this, they complete the treble by winning the league. If they draw, they go to a play-off, so another night of drama is in store for the team and their supporters.
This is a game not to be missed.
CARRIGALINE UNITED: C Finnegan, B Simpson, A O’Driscoll, T O’Connell, D Stansfield, R Connolly, N O’Connell, M Fahy, D O’Flaherty, W O’Halloran, E Ryan.
Subs: D O’Connell for D Stansfield (77), J Boyle for W O’Halloran (77). Subs Not used: A Egan, C O’Leary, C Dungan, J Boyle, P Scully, S Allen.
VILLA FC: J Kelly, R Connolly, J Frederick Tamen, N McSweeney, L Barber, D Power, H Lawton, J Kavanagh, D Hannigan, C Stringer, C Walshe, S O’Neill.
Subs: S O’Neill for H Lawton (69).
Referee: M Duffy (Tipperary).