GREENWOOD lifted the FAI New Balance U17 Challenge Cup after they defeated Corduff United 8-3 in a never-to-be forgotton final at Turner’s Cross on Saturday afternoon.
A hat-trick apiece from Darragh O’Connor and Ethan Varian was enough to see Greenwood secure the U17 National Cup thanks to a scintillating attacking display.
The aforementioned duo, along with Aaron Walsh, Adam Bruton and Jamie Linehan, worked tirelessly throughout the game and were a joy to watch and I’m sure the watching Roy Keane would have been impressed with the Togher boy’s display.
Although Varian got the nod for Player of the Match, any of the above could have received the accolade as all put in a tremendous display of football and all had had a remarkable work rate throughout.
Varian, scorer of the hat-trick in the National Cup final, is a star of the future. He was Cork Schoolboys Player of the Year last season and is a highly rated GAA ace to boot.
He is good in the air and even better on the ground. He was a member of the 2016/17 Cork Schoolboys treble-winning team. He represented the Cork Youth Interleague team who recently won the All-Ireland. He also gained his first International cap against Wales in November.
“It’s a great feeling being National Cup champions and although we didn’t get off to the greatest start, I knew we are all such great friends that we would settle down, work hard and get into the game and that is exactly what we did and grew stronger and stronger as the game went on,” Varian said.
“Going in at the break we were a bit down having conceded a bad goal so late in the half, (to make it 3-3) however, we still had huge belief in one another. We showed in the second half just how good a unit we are and how much we wanted it really.
“For whatever reason we always do better in the second half, maybe you could put it down to the lack of games the team has had due to the bad weather etc.
“The entire team were fabulous today when we needed it the most.
“To get Player of the Match in a National Cup final and to be presented with it by Roy Keane is just something you dream about really.
“It’s an absolute honour for me and one I won’t forget in a hurry.”
Darragh O’Connor was also superb and was another candidate for Man of the Match. He is a versatile player. He is great with both feet and knows how to finish. He proved that in the National Cup final as he netted a hat-trick when his side’s need was greatest in the first 60 minutes.
He also was a member of the Cork Schoolboys treble winning team last season. For me. Darragh was excellent throughout. He impressed when needed the most especially in the first half.
“It’s an unreal feeling as this was the goal since last year and after disappointed last season, we are absolutely thrilled to have won today,” O’Connor said.
“To win in Turner’s Cross in front of so many home supporters makes it even better.
“Although we won by such a large margin in the end, it wasn’t until we got the fifth goal that I believed we would win as at that point, I knew Corduff had dropped their heads.
“I knew then we could relax, enjoy and I knew there would be more goals.
“To score a hat-trick in a National Cup final is the best feeling ever to be honest, and to do it with my friends whom all couldn’t have played any better, makes it an unbelievable experience really.
“Although today is the big one, we want to push on from now and try to complete the treble by winning the league and local cup.”
Aaron Walsh was also super on the day.
He is a very skillful player and is lightning quick.
He can play left, right or straight up the middle. He was a member of the Cork Schoolboys winning treble team last season.
“It’s my first time winning a National Cup final and it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Walsh said.
“In the first half it was a tough half as Corduff seemed hungry however in the second half I felt we upped our game and we seemed the hungrier of the two sides and that showed early on and gave us all a boost.
“The whole team had an excellent game today, they all worked so hard and we were no doubt deservingly winners.
“We just want to drive on now and complete the treble to finish off a fantastic season.”