Seaview Celtic 2; Park Rangers 0
A stunning second extra-time period from Seaview Celtic was good enough for the Annestown club to add another piece of silverware to their impressive clubhouse on the Copper Coast.
For the past decade or so, Seaview have come accustomed to winning trophies at different grades and they fully deserved their latest triumph last Wednesday night in Ozier Park.
During the weeks leading up to the final they had been scoring lots of goals in the league, but nevertheless they had to settle for a top-three place, as Park Rangers had landed the title a few weeks previously.
It was clear from the opening whistle that Seaview were determined to win the cup. They created plenty of chances during normal time, especially in the first half, but failed to take their opportunities. It all came right for them however during the extra 20 minutes that were required to decide the champions and as a result Park Rangers’ dreams of a double were ruined.
This final proved to be yet another red-letter day for the legendary Paddy Halley. The man who has entered local soccer folklore watched his charges from the dug-out in his familiar long brown coat and black woolly hat, and once again he watched a team of his win with class and style. Just like Sir Alex Ferguson, his desire to win trophies shows no sign for fading, and long may that fact continue.
Seaview Celtic took up the running from the opening whistle and Mark Dowdall tested Rangers goalkeeper Colin Hanrahan in the first minute. Dowdall was back in the action once again seven minutes later, meeting a right-wing cross from Mark Fitzgerald but he directed his header wide of the target.
Rangers eventually got to grips with the game and when Damien Tiernan flicked the ball on for John Whitty after 18 minutes a goal looked on when he raced into the penalty area, but Celtic defender Jason Burns got in a fine sliding tackle and came away with the ball.
John Whitty popped up inside the Seaview penalty area on 26 minutes but after meeting a corner kick taken by Eddie Phelan he headed over the bar.
Seaview wasted a good chance on 35 minutes. Jamie Douglas played the ball forward to Mark Dowdall who went past two defenders before getting around Hanrahan but he ran out of space and shot wide with the goal gaping.
Celtic had another great chance on 44 minutes. Deckie Walsh was put in the clear by Jonathan Butler but he shot straight at the ‘keeper from close range. In first-half stoppage time Seaview goalkeeper Shane Flynn produced a stunning save from Rory Walsh after a cross from Robert Daniels was not properly cleared.
The pace of the game dropped somewhat in the second period and chances were few. Rangers’ John Whitty dragged a shot across goal. Ten minutes later the same player picked out Damien Tiernan from the right but the RTE southeast correspondent glanced his header wide of Shane Flynn’s right upright.
Seaview took control in the extra period and they went in front on 102 minutes. Rangers defender Eddie Phelan handled the ball just outside the penalty area. Jacko Kiely, who had replaced the injured Conor Rush, took the free kick with his right foot and brilliantly found the left hand corner of the net.
Six minutes later the game was over when Jonathan Butler split the Rangers defence and when Mark Dowdall found himself in a one-on-one with Hanrahan he sealed the game superbly.
Seaview Celtic: Shane Flynn, Jason Burns, Jamie Douglas, Conor Rush, Tommy Hennessy, Mark Fitzgerald, Jonathan Butler, Daithi Walsh, Alan Drohan, Mark Dowdall, Deckie Walsh. Subs: Jacko Kiely for Rush (48 mins), Ben Gallagher for Drohan (86 mins), Neil O’Sullivan for Walsh (108 mins).
Park Rangers: Colin Hanrahan, Declan Thomas, Eddie Phelan, Joey Upton, John Treacy, Rory Walsh, Robert Daniels, David Pepper, Damien Tiernan, John Whitty, Patrick Walsh. Sub: Conor Carey for Tiernan (73 mins).
Referee: Paul Butler.