President’s Cup Final
Ballincollig 1 Passage 0
Ian Kenneally’s second half strike was enough to give Ballincollig a just about deserved 1-0 win over Passage in the final of the Murphy’s Stout President’s Cup at Turner’s Cross last night.
Kenneally had a promising first half and delivered on it in the second. Passage had an edge in the opening half, particular in midfield where Kevin O’Rourke and Aidan Butler combined well at times, but the pair didn’t enjoy the same freedom in the second period.
The game was evenly contested throughout. The pattern was set in the first half with the goal chances arriving regularly enough but sporadically, not the result of any great build-up; neither side could build a sustained spell of dominance.
Daly had a terrific chance for Passage in the 8th minute. Then he raced onto a neat ball over the top by defender Gary Murphy. He lobbed it over the advancing keeper but the ball hopped wide.
Ballincollig created a fine opportunity four minutes later, the work done on the right by Evan Mohally. He passed infield to Rob Quinn but his 25-yard blast was just over.
Butler then saw his close range header from an O’Rourke free go just over before going quite close in the 20th minute with a speculative overhead effort from outside the box which shaved the far post, though keeper Alan O’Mahony may well have had it covered.
Passage keeper, and skipper, Raymond Allan was called into action in the 27th minute and he made a splendid save after Kenneally had been played in by Mohally.
Ballincollig lost regular marksman Darren Forde to injury in the 32nd minute and came under pressure as the half closed. Ballincollig keeper O'Mahony, under severe pressure from Butler, did well to get a punch to an inswinging David Daly corner.
Passage almost found a way through in the first minute of the second half. Butler and Aidan Carrol combined and the latter’s pass looked good for the incoming Kieran McGarry until veteran Sullivan powered in to make a superbly timed penalty box tackle.
The goal came in the 49th minute, quite a simple one. Mullane’s pass from the centre circle cut through the high Passage defence and found Kenneally breaking through. He coolly outfoxed his marker and slotted his low shot neatly into the corner. The goal may have been simple but the celebrations were quite complicated: somersault, high fives, even time to shine the boot.
Passage had more than enough time to get back into it and threatened an equaliser several times in the following minutes. Impressive full back Gavin Flaherty, with the aid of a return ball from John Cronin, advanced to the edge of the box but his shot sped just over the back pedalling keeper.
That was in the 55th minute and, in the next, McGarry headed a free into the box but Graham Power was muscled out of it by Quinn and Ballincollig survived.
Indeed, they came close to a second goal five minutes later as Kenneally let fly after a pass by Mohally but keeper Allan again made a top drawer save to keep the game alive.
There was no decent Passage chance until the 80th minute. It was a great opportunity, created by the short corner of O’Rourke and the subsequent cross by sub Steve Carroll. Eventually the ball broke to the well-placed Aidan Carroll but his close range header was too high.
Late on, a Flaherty corner was well headed away by Conor Farrell and then keeper O'Mahony got down at the feet of the incoming Butler to help Ballincollig take the third division knockout trophy for the first time.
Ballincollig: Alan O’Mahony, Conor Farrell, Colm Healy, Philip Sullivan, Rob Quinn, George Mullane (captain), Evan Mohally, Noel Hogan, Ian Kenneally, Greg Hallissey and Darren Forde. Subs used: Alan Flynn for Forde (32nd minute, injured), Diam Herlihy for Kenneally (74th, injured) and Gary Foulkes for Mullane (87th)
Passage: Raymond Allan (captain), Gavin Flaherty, John Cronin, Alan McCarthy, Gary Murphy, Kevin O’Rourke, Aidan Butler, David Daly, Kieran McGarry, Graham Power and Aidan Carroll. Subs used: Eric Burke and Stephen Carroll for Daly and Power (both 74th).
Referee: Sean Barry. Assistants: Ted Callanan and Con Long.