West Cork soccer league had to adapt cup format to get season completed

West Cork soccer league had to adapt cup format to get season completed

Bantry Bay Rebels who competed in the SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U12 Premier League Group A.

THE SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League completed all 2020 Cup competitions thanks to a restructuring of their tournament formats.

Covid-19’s outbreak forced the WCSL Committee into a rethink about the best way to complete their cup competitions at the conclusion of the first nationwide lockdown and the start of the second.

Instead of the traditional round by round (knockout) route, a new preliminary group format preceded quarter-final, semi-final and finals across the U11, U12, U13, U14, U15 and U16 age-grades. A decision to host each preliminary cup group at a single venue and run off all those games in one-day mini-blitz format (with reduced playing times) proved hugely successful.

Following that, each of the remaining WCSL Cup knockout ties were completed at a designated venue, again, on one day, which resulted in all six tournaments being run off during the month of August.

Bantry Bay Rovers claimed the SuperValu U11 Cup trophy at Canon Crowley Park. The Kealkill side defeated Bunratty United 2-1 in the semi-finals thanks to Shane O’Brien and Dominik Plazcek efforts. Dunmanway Town were Bay’s opponents in the decider following the Mohona club’s exciting 4-3 defeat of hosts Drinagh Rangers. One goal decided a tight U11 Cup final with Dominik Plazcek finding the net for a delighted Bantry team.

This year’s SuperValu U12 Cup proved just as exciting with 4 preliminary groups made of up 15 teams producing 8 quarter-finalists. The Baltimore Road complex in Skibbereen played host to the quarter, semi and final ties in which Bantry Bay Rebels, Skibbereen A, Dunmanway and Drinagh reached the penultimate round.

Colin Cronin’s solitary strike was enough to earn the Rebels a cup final berth at the expense of Skibbereen. In the second semi-final, Padraic Hegarty scored for Rangers before an Alex Bramoulle brace sent Dunmanway through to the decider. A tense cup final looked to be heading to heading towards a penalty shootout until John Mulhall found the net and earned Bay Rebels a 1-0 victory.

10 clubs contested this season’s U13 Cup with Dunmanway Town, Bay Rovers, Lyre Rovers and Skibbereen Phoenix emerging from the preliminary group stage. All four clubs were in Lyre on cup semi-finals and finals day with the hosts earning a place in the decider courtesy of a 3-0 win over Skibbereen. Jerry O’Leary (2) and Jason Murray netted Lyre’s goals.

Lyre Rovers who defeated Castlelack 2-1 in group B of the SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U13 Premier League last season.
Lyre Rovers who defeated Castlelack 2-1 in group B of the SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys U13 Premier League last season.

The second U13 Cup semi-final was one of the games of the season as Dunmanway Town fought back from 2-0 down to force a penalty shootout against Bay Rovers. The Kealkill side squeezed through 7-6 on spot-kicks after Timmy Mulhall had twice found the net in normal time.

As expected, there was little to choose between Lyre and Bay Rovers in the cup final. The latter were looking to add to their U11 and U12 trophies until goals in either half from Jerry O’Leary and Jack Hennigan saw Lyre crowned champions.

Canon Crowley Park hosted the final rounds of the 2020 U14 Cup in which the hosts, Drinagh, were joined by Skibbereen, Bay Rovers and Kilmichael Rovers in the last four. Rangers edged Kilmichael 1-0 courtesy of an Eoin Hurley strike while Cian O’Brien’s brace earned Skibb a 2-1 win over Bantry.

A superb U14 final was level 1-1 at the end of normal time after Frank Hurley scored for Skibb and Luke Shorten netted for Drinagh. The home side held their nerve in the ensuing penalty shootout (5-3) to keep the U14 Cup trophy in Drinagh.

Rangers’ U15’s emulated their U14 counterparts by claiming the U15 Cup. Tom McQueen (2), James Russell and Adam Lordan got their names on the scoresheet in a 4-0 cup final triumph over Bunratty United at Canon Crowley Park.

Six clubs contested the SuperValu U16 Cup competition with Bunratty United, Togher Celtic, Riverside Athletic and Drinagh Rangers qualifying for the semi-finals following the opening group stage.

Town Park in Schull was the venue for the last four and deciding encounters. Bunratty edged Togher 1-0 thanks to James McKnight’s lone strike while Evan O’Shea and William Hennigan efforts saw Riverside overcome Drinagh 2-0. A cracking cup final was scoreless until the second half when Evan O’Shea found the net for Athletic. That effort was enough to see off a gallant Bunratty and Riverside deservedly claimed the U16 Cup.

2020 SuperValu WCSL Cup Roll of Honour 

U11 Cup: Bantry Bay Rovers

U12 Cup: Bantry Bay Rebels

U13 Cup: Lyre Rovers

U14 Cup: Drinagh Rangers

U15 Cup: Drinagh Rangers

U16 Cup: Riverside Athletic.

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