Denny Premier A League Final 2013/14
By Tommy Naughton
The Denny Premier A title decider was played in front off one of the biggest crowds to be seen in Mounthawk Park in many years and they all will have to return in a few weeks to see who will be crowned champions after the game ended in a scoreless draw.Both sides in the end will be happy with the draw as they both could have won and lost it at stages during the match but in the end a draw as the fairest result with both sides having periods of domination.
Castleisland started the better and the experience of being in cup finals in recent years stood out as Listowel Celtic looked very nervous for the opening fifteen minutes. Castleisland were dominant for the opening period but never really threatened Darragh O’Shea in the Listowel goal thanks to some excellent defending from Seamus Keane and Kevin McCarthy.
The first real chance however fell to Listowel after a Paudie Quinn free from the left wing landed at the feet of Bryan Murphy outside the penalty area and his snap shot just shaved the top of the bar. Kevin Moran had to be alert to save a header from Kevin McCarthy from a Jamie Barry long throw after fifteen minutes as Listowel now started to find their feet in the game.
The first booking of the game came a minute later when Timmy Walsh was shown a yellow for a poor tackle on Bryan Murphy. And Walsh might feel fortunate not to have received a second yellow on the half hour mark when he gave away to silly free kicks in a matter of minutes. Castleisland Manager Mike McCarthy immediately made the right decision and substituted Walsh who was certain would not have gotten away with another foul Sean Og Kirwan coming in to replace him.
Ten minutes to the break and Castleisland were soaking up the Listowel pressure and hitting them quickly on the counter attack. Stan Divane broke with Sean Brosnan into the Listowel half with a four versus three situation but when the ball should have been released to the extra player on the left wing their were dispossessed and Listowel quickly feed the ball to Bryan Murphy and again Kevin Moran save this effort.
Both sides had a chance each in the last minutes of the first half. First Castleisland had a corner by Sean Brosnan that dropped to Barry Lynch inside the six yard box but his shot was somehow deflected passed the far post. A minute later Listowel had their own corner from Paudie Quinn and it was Kevin McCarthy who rose highest at the back post but saw his header hit the bar and go wide for the half time whistle to go and maybe at a bad time for Listowel who seemed to be getting on top of the game.
Again Castleisland started the better in the second half with Listowel slow to come out at the restart. Sean Og Kirwan found space on the right wing and delivered a low cross which flashed across the face of the goal to where Mike Hannafin pulled the ball back to Stan Divane, Stan’s first time shot was tipped over the bar by Darragh O’Shea who was quickly out to put pressure on the striker.
Listowel Celtics manager Aiden O’Connor introduced Eddie Joe Walsh ten minutes into the second half to try give his team a boost and get them going again and it nearly worked straight away when Eddie set up Jamie Barry whose low shot was held by Kevin Moran at his right post. A minute later and Eddie again was in the thick of the action when he played in Martin Loughnane whose shot was tipped away for a corner and from this corner Eddie rose highest but saw his effort go wide of the far post.
Listowel now had found the form from the end of the first half as Castleisland got deeper and deeper into their own half looking for the long ball out of the defence on the counter attack. This tactic nearly paid of with 19 minutes remaining when Sean Brosnan got on the end of clearance by Paul Carmody, Brosnan cut inside from the left wing but his attempted curler to the far corner was saved by O’Shea.
As the game entered the remaining minutes neither side wanted to make any mistakes and cost them a chance of being crowned league champions. The best chances in the dying minutes fell to Castleisland with Sean Brosnan having the best chance after to dispossessed a Listowel defender on the left wing, Brosnan beat the next defender and after getting into the penalty area he drilled a shot that looked like it was going to raise the roof of the net but for a terrific save by Darragh O’Shea who touched the ball onto the crossbar and out for a corner which O’Shea came to claim and end the drama for the huge crowd.
Listowel Celtic: Darragh o Shea , Martin Loughnane , Seamus Keane, Micheal Lynch , Kevin McCarthy, Jamie Barry, Paudie Quinn, Kevin Murphy, Ian Murphy, Bryan Murphy, Kevin Bambury . Subs; Eddie Joe Walsh for Ian Murphy (55 mins) , Craig Sheehy for Jamie Barry ( 79 mins) .
Castleisland AFC: Kevin Moran , Barry Lynch, Aidan o Callaghan , Maurice Hickey, Paul Carmody, Mike Hannafin, Timmy Walsh, Shane o Loughlin, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Brosnan, Stan Divane . Subs ; Sean Og Kirwan for Timmy Walsh (33 mins) .
Referee; Stuart Templeman
Assistants; Kevin Cunningham and Antony Morrison