Ringmahon Rangers 3
Everton United 2
RINGMAHON RANGERS are the Beamish Stout Junior League Cup champions thanks to their 3-2 win over Everton United at Rockenham Park.
It was a battling effort from first division Everton who levelled twice after falling behind and almost forced extra-time with a late chance, but there can be no disputing that Ringmahon were deserving winners.
Everton keeper Shane Kearney had a mixed performance; he will be disappointed with Ringmahon’s opening goal, but it could have been worse for his side were it not for a string of top-class saves from the netminder.
On a weekend when Everton’s premier side stretched their lead to five points in the table, Ringmahon, who had an uneven start to the league, served notice that they could well be in the mix for league honours; they sit eight points behind the pacesetters with a game in hand.
They have a young, energetic, and talented side, skippered by the experienced former senior team captain Derek O’Sullivan.
Everton earned their place in the final with victory over their premier team in the semi-final and they would have felt that they could repeat the trick here, but they just came up short.
Ringmahon started the game with energy and pace and they had the Everton goal under pressure early on.
Stephen Morrissey was a threat on the left and he had a couple of chances in the first 15 minutes, the first a low shot that went wide. His second effort, after he did well to make space on the edge of the penalty area to get his shot away, saw Kearney get a touch on the ball to take the sting out of the strike and Patrick Bulman got back to clear as the ball headed towards goal.
Three minutes later a Jordan Delurey free-kick was tipped over for a corner by Kearney and after another two minutes passed, Ringmahon took the lead.
Jordan O’Regan had an excellent game for Ringmahon, picking up the man of the match award, and he opened the scoring in the 21st minute when his shot was spilled into the net by Kearney.
Everton had been struggling to make inroads up to that point, but they responded well to the goal and within five minutes they were level.
Aaron Kelleher did well to put pressure on Ringmahon’s defence on the edge of the penalty area and Callum Donoghue muscled his man out of possession and got a shot away which keeper Cian O’Connor got a good hand to, but the ball trickled over the line.
Everton were back in the game, but it was Ringmahon who were still asking most of the questions in front of goal.
Just before the half-hour mark Morrissey broke on the left following an Everton corner; he skipped past his marker and got a shot in which went narrowly wide at the far post.
Inside the final 10 minutes of the half Ringmahon re-took the lead when a forward pass wasn’t dealt with properly by the Everton defence and the ball broke for Iain Aherne whose shot inside the box found the net.
Ringmahon were well worth their half-time lead and Everton needed to up their game in the second period.
However, it was Ringmahon who looked like they would score next. Five minutes in O’Regan had a shot straight at Kearney easily saved after an Everton turnover, while Aherne had another effort tipped over for a corner by Kearney.
Then, Morrissey had a header go over following a cross from the right, and shortly afterward the same player brought another fine save out of Kearney after a break on the left.
The Everton keeper was quickly into action again when brilliantly stopping a Dylan O’Regan-Forde shot for a corner.
Jordan O’Regan did have the ball in the net again for Ringmahon, only for it to be rightly ruled offside, but with 74 minutes gone, Everton were back in the game when O’Connor failed to control the ball on the ground inside the box, allowing Luke Forde to nip in and score.
The goal lifted Everton, but it also fired up Ringmahon and a minute later they jumped in front again when O’Regan got his second of the night following a swift attack through the middle.
Everton almost coughed up a fourth when Kearney had to make another top save, this time from his own defender, Gavin Smith, whose clearance for a corner almost flew into the net.
Everton pushed hard late on for an equaliser and they almost pulled it out of the fire in injury-time when Joe O’Mahony’s goal-bound shot in the box was blocked, with O’Connor out of position.
In the end, though, it was a deserved win for the Mahon outfit, while Everton can be proud of a fine campaign and will turn their attention towards a first division league race that they are sure to figure in.
RINGMAHON RANGERS: Cian O’Connor, Robbie White, Jordan Delurey, Craig Collins, Derek O’Sullivan, James Morrissey, Dean McCarthy, Dylan O’Regan-Forde, Jordan O’Regan, Ian Aherne, Stephen Morrissey.
Subs: Adam O’Callaghan for Aherne (63), Ryan Keating for Stephen Morrissey (69), Aaron Collins and Ray Delaney for White and James Morrissey (82), Dion Hennessy for O’Reagan (88).
EVERTON UNITED: Shane Kearney, Patrick Bulman, Joe O’Mahony, Alan Horgan, Gavin Smith, Jason Tully, David Murphy, Luke Cotter, Callum Donoghue, Aaron Kelleher, Kieran Winnng.
Subs: Luke Forde for Kelleher (h/t), Josh O’Sullivan for Wynning and Michael Cotter for Luke Cotter (both 62), Willa Karuru for Tully (77).
Referee: Mark O’Connell.