A wonderful glancing header from Enda Ravenhill was all that separated these two fine sides after ninety minutes in Clara last Saturday as Tullamore added The Dolan Cup to their Division 1 title.
CCFL Dolan Cup Final
Tullamore Town 1
Boro Celtic 0
With both teams champions of their respective leagues this was always going to be a fascinating encounter, and they certainly did not disappoint.
From the outset it was obvious that Boro’s two speedy wingers, David Harrison and David Rooney, had the capacity to create problems for the Town defence while James Hanley and Barry Clarke in midfield were also impressive performers. But it was Tullamore’s young full backs, Mark Hayes and Ross Kinnarney, who produced performances full of guile and maturity that contributed enormously to their team’s success.
The Lanesboro side were first out of the traps with Mike Morrissey heading a Hanley corner narrowly wide and then a great run on the left by Rooney had the Town defence struggling to clear their lines. As they settled into their stride Kevin Minnock fired in a dangerous cross, but Mark Tarmey was quickly off his line to gather and then Stephen Francis and Minnock combined to pick out Trevor Francis, but his effort was charged down by Barry Clarke.
As they continued to press, Niall Lynch and Patrick Gorman created an opportunity for Minnock, but he was denied by a great relieving tackle from Clem McCormack. With fifteen minutes on the clock referee Adrian Martin played a great advantage when he waved play on after Enda Ravenhill was tackled late when playing the ball down the line to Trevor Francis, but his pin point cross somehow got caught between Patrick Gorman’s feet with the goal at his mercy and the danger was cleared.
As Boro hit back James Hanley played a lovely ball through to David Rooney on the left but Ciaran Carragher gathered his cross safely. As the play continued to ebb and flow Ken Doyle and Patrick Gorman combined to pick out Trevor Francis but his well struck volley was too high. With Stephen Francis’ intelligent distribution from the back acting as a launching pad for most of Tullamore’s attacks they went in search of the all important opening score and it duly arrived on twenty five minutes.
Enda Ravenhill won possession in midfield and swept the ball out to the left wing and then timed his run perfectly to meet Kevin Minnock’s fine cross and send his header just inside the right post to put his side in front. Boro’s response was almost immediate when David Harrison latched onto a weak clearance but his effort was brilliantly kept out by Ciaran Carragher and minutes later Mike Morrissey headed wide following a corner.
Town again went close when Trevor Francis was fouled and Niall Lynch’s free kick picked out Patrick Gorman, but his looping header just cleared the crossbar. With Mark Hayes doing great work in containing the dangerous David Harrison, they nearly doubled their advantage following a lovely flowing move involving Minnock, Gorman and Keith O’Connor but, when the ball was pulled back, Niall Lynch fired past the right post.
It was far from one way traffic and Tullamore got the mother and father of all frights when Mike Morrisey picked the ball up forty yards from goal and unleashed a rocket that flew inches outside the left post. Niall Lynch’s ability to find colleagues in crowded areas from dead ball situations was again in evidence when he picked out Enda Ravenhill following a free kick, but his header was too high as the referee brought a wonderfully entertaining first half to a conclusion.
Tullamore were first to threaten on the resumption when Patrick Gorman headed on to Trevor Francis and his sweetly struck half volley flew narrowly over and he again went close when Keith O’Connor picked him out on the right but his shot was well saved by Mark Tarmey. With fifty five minutes on the clock they nearly increased their lead in spectacular fashion. Francis chased the ball down on the left and pulled it back to Kevin Minnock who brilliantly skipped past two defenders before firing past the far post.
They again went close when Niall Lynch sent O’Connor clear on the right and his searching cross just missed out Trevor Francis at the far post. As they continued to pile on the pressure Keith O’Connor picked out Kevin Minnock in the inside left channel but his effort flew narrowly wide and then Enda Ravenhill played a great ball through to Patrick Gorman but he shot high and wide. Town were nearly knocked back on their heels when David Rooney broke clear on the right and Ciaran Carragher just managed to get finger tips to his dangerous cross, with his defence scrambling the loose ball to safety.
Tullamore went close when they won a corner on the left with O’Connor picking out Ken Doyle at the far post but his header flew wide while, at the other end, David Harrison threatened on the left but was denied by a great tackle from Ross Kinnarney. With the game entering its final quarter, Boro introduced Stephen Masterson and Derek Murray with Town countering by bringing on Brian Francis and Shane Delaney.
As Celtic threw everthing into attack Ciaran Carragher did well to punch clear an inswinging Clem McCormack corner and then Mark Hayes threaded a lovely ball through to Kevin Minnock but his effort was off target. With five minutes remaining Boro nearly equalised when Masterson picked the ball up in the inside left channel, but he was denied by a brilliant last ditch tackle from Ken Doyle. As Boro increased their efforts they won a series of corners, but Doyle was imperious at the back as time and again he cleared his lines. With minutes remaining Tullamore should have put the game to bed when, following a free kick, Niall Lynch picked out Patrick Gorman in the area but he headed wide when well placed as they ran out deserving winners of a superb cup final.
This was a game that lived up to all the pre-match hype and was a credit to both these fine clubs. For Tullamore there were excellent contributions from Ken Doyle, Mark Hayes, Ross Kinnarney, Patrick Gorman and Enda Ravenhill with Barry Clarke, Mike Morrisey, David Harrison and David Rooney the pick of Boro Celtic, but the man of the match award went to Town’s outstanding forward, Kevin Minnock.
Tullamore manager Noel Courtney and coach Alan Murray would like to thank the players for their commitment throughout what has been a wonderfully successful season.
Tullamore Town: Ciaran Carragher, Ross Kinnarney, Stephen Francis, Ken Doyle, Mark Hayes, Keith O’Connor, Patrick Gorman, Niall Lynch, Enda Ravenhill, Kevin Minnock and Trevor Francis. Subs: Brian Francis, Shane Delaney, James Carthy, Ronnie Hughes and Patrick Tyrell.
Boro Celtic: Mark Tarmey, Alan Manning, Clem McCormack, Barry Clarke, Joe Horgan, Mike Morrisey, David Harrison, Declan Hanley, James Hilton, James Hanley and David Rooney. Subs: Paul Rooney, Conor Casey, Stephen Masterson, Diarmuid Farrell and Derek Murray.