Playing a match in rain, hail or shine, to use a common phrase but Sunday afternoon was certainly one that fits the description of absolutely outrageous weather conditions which yet failed to put a dent on the quality of soccer on display between Colemanstown U12’s and Corrib Celtic. At numerous stages, the snow, hail and wind was so strong around the ground, that seeing from one side of the field to the other became virtually impossible as play was obscured by the conditions. Similar to the U18 game which preceded it, the ref rightly called play aside at one stage for quite a long spell until conditions brightened a bit.
This game itself was a classic, full of intensity, with the bare minimum between the sides all through and some very brave souls from both teams and on the sideline. Corrib Celtic scored the winner in the first period of extra time to secure a 3-2 win, and so they progress to the next stage of this Cup competition. Corrib Celtic were first to score on 11mins after a hand ball and the ref quickly pointed to the spot. Up stepped Kyle Concannon who dispatched the peno to the right of Fionn Flattery. The ref adjudged Fionn to have moved off his line and so Kyle had to re-take and dispatched an exact replica of his first take to put the visitors 1-nil up. Colemanstown had a good chance from Paddy Flynn which was originated by David Walsh & Killian Hughes but his effort was drowned out by the vigilant Corrib Celtic defence. Killy then was fouled and Jonah Donnellan wasn’t too far off with the resultant free kick which failed to dip into the top corner. On 19mins Hughes again had another effort which the keeper failed to hold on the first attempt but he did well after he regained his composure. Diarmuid Ryan did his best to toe poke home a Davy Walsh corner after some hesitancy in the Corrib Celtic defence but his efforts were eventually snuffed out by the visitors. Killy had another effort 4mins before half time as David Walsh did well to keep the ball in play out near the corner flag, whipped into the box but Killy’s snap shot went agonisingly wide. Just before the break after a period of sustained Colemanstown pressure Cathal Kennedy, Paddy Flynn & Killy Hughes all lined up for shots at goal but the Annaghdown’s defence was resolute and there was no way through leaving Corrib Celtic 1-0 up at the break.
The 2nd half was only a minute old when Hughes was rewarded for his hard work with the equaliser which he slotted calmly under the keeper’s body. Corrib Celtic went close from a header which originated from a corner 10mins after the restart and then midway through the half they restored the advantage when their striker ran onto a long delivery and as Fionn Flattery came out to meet the ball, the pace of it was always going to favour the striker and he coolly finished into an empty net. Soon after, Killy Hughes worked hard to win a corner which was whipped into the box by David Walsh and as a bit of panic unfolded, Corrib Celtic finished into their own net. It was no more than Colemanstown deserved given there was little or nothing between the teams. With 5 mins remaining as Colemanstown pressurised to seek the winner, Dylan Murphy’s strike was just wide. At this stage everyone was willing for either side to score to prevent extra time and put an end to the cold and the misery endured by the onlookers who were blowing through their clutched hands in an effort to keep warm. Even the ref could have done with toasting his hands. Corrib Celtic had a good chance before the final whistle but their striker blasted wide. Jonah Donnellan had a free kick right at the death but he scooped his effort over the crossbar to leave the score at 2-2 and so to extra time.
5 mins into extra time, Corrib Celtic restored their advantage when our defence slipped up and the striker nipped in to score what proved to be the winner. In the 2nd period of extra time Corrib Celtic were shrouded in pressure. David Walsh had a powerful left footed effort which was well saved by the keeper while Donnellan had an effort from a good distance out which the keeper was equal to. David Walsh had another left footer saved while Ross Lally got on the end of Donnellan’s delivery but also drove wide. Try as they might, Colemanstown just couldn’t find the net and in the end it was Corrib Celtic who advance to the semi final of the Divisional Cup. The ref’s whistle was like sweet music to everyone’s ears in the end as it took a while to actually thaw out. With 4 league games left to play, a win is required in all 4 for Jayo Finn & Gareth Lally’s squad to be in with a chance of league glory.
Squad: Fionn Flattery, Cian Burke, Diarmuid Ryan, Ross Lally, Cathal Kennedy, Jonah Donnellan, David Walsh, Patrick Flynn, Killian Hughes, Shane Kenny, Dylan Murphy, Cathal Hynes, Niamh Kennedy, Sean Connolly.