Churchvilla v Dunbar. Nostalgia Match of the Week May 2006

Churchvilla 3 Dunbar Celtic 2

Three first half goals were enough to give Churchvilla a 3-2 triumph over Dunbar Celtic in the final of the Murphy’s Stout Saxone Cup at Turner’s Cross last evening. Just enough, as Dunbar powered back in the second half, scored a couple and hit the bar in injury time.

Both sides played attacking football and were a credit to the second division. Both missed some good chances in the opening twenty five minutes. Billy Donovan came close to putting Villa ahead with a header from an 8th minute corner and then Dunbar’s Ian Riordan was within inches of turning the ball in after a throw-in had been flicked on.

Churchvilla, with the strong wind behind them, took the lead in the 27th minute when a well hit free by Martin Curtin hit the ground before keeper Danny Daunt, with the setting sun in his eyes, could kill it off and it squirted through to the net.

Dunbar’s Gary Tobin tried his luck with a similar free in the next minute but excellent Cloyne keeper Martin Cremin saved well. Villa came close to making it 2-0 on the half-hour when skipper Dean Wilson robbed Daunt but, with Kevin Lomasney waiting for a cut-back, he rolled his shot wide.

Conor, Kevin's brother, had better luck three minutes later. His close control tempted a Dunbar defender in the box and referee Keith Callanan, who had his father Ted as assistant, pointed to the spot and Donovan obliged to put Villa two up.

The first half got even worse for Dunbar when they went three down in the 38th minute. Cremin’s long clearance fell for Kevin Lomasney and he outmuscled his marker before hooking the hopping ball over the advancing Daunt.

Dunbar manager Paul Walsh refused to panic and sent out the same eleven for the second half. The wind had died down but that didn't prevent a gallant comeback attempt, indicated by a corner count of 9-1 to the city side.

Cremin would have a busy period. In the 56th minute, he made a great save from Riordan, who had been played through by Walsh, and then watched with relief as Chris O’Sullivan's curler from the rebound sped just wide.

Then Cremin made a brave save at the feet of Walsh, who broke clear after a fine sweeping move, before being beaten in the 63rd minute by a Keith O’Neill free kick, again with the low sun behind it.

Churchvilla, who lost to Tramore Athletic in the 1995 final, were coming under increasing pressure and giving away free after free. They were largely confined to their half but did break away in the 66th minute. Sub Tony Barrett got free on the right and his quickly delivered cross was met by fellow sub Jason Browne but his 18 yarder was well over.

Dunbar though weren’t making that many clear chances themselves. They did come near in the 76th minute when O’Neill set up O'Leary for a shot that was well parried but Scott Crowley failed to find the net with the loose ball.

For all their possession, Dunbar’s second didn't come until the second minute of injury time when Walsh slipped Crowley in to slide the ball past Cremin. 

There would be six minutes of additional time in all and, in the 4th, Walsh headed on after a thrown-in on the right and sub Ross O’Callaghan let fly but his shot came back off the bar and that was the last chance for Celtic and Churchvilla held on to take the trophy for first time.

Churchvilla: Michael Cremin, Dean Wilson (captain), Martin Curtin, John Cotter, Billy Donovan, Dwayne Power, Emmett O'Brien, Shane O'Brien, Kevin Lomasney, Conor Lomasney and Kevin Eaton. Subs used: Jason Browne for Eaton (34th minute), Tony Barrett for C. Lomasney (62nd) and Barry Mulcahy for Donovan (72nd).
Dunbar Celtic: Danny Daunt, Gary Tobin, Ian Cotter (captain), Chris O’Sullivan, Wayne O’Donovan, Keith O’Neill, Ian Riordan, Jonathan Quinn, Paul Walsh, Scott Crowley and Craig O'Leary. Subs used: Michael O’Connor for Riordan (68th minute) and Ross O’Callaghan for Quinn (83rd).  

Referee: Keith Callanan. Assistants: Frank Murphy and Ted Callanan.