John Delaney Cup Final will be an all Clonmel affair
St.Michaels 2, Clonmel Celtic 3.
Nenagh Celtic 2, Clonmel Town 2.(Clonmel Town won 5-4 on penalties)
Clonmel Celtic’s better teamwork was ultimately the deciding factor in this tense and competitive John Delaney Cup semi-final at Cooke Park last Sunday. Three goals from set pieces proved Saints undoing as they failed to cope with Graham Doyle’s accuracy from dead balls. The game had a blistering start with three goals within the opening quarter hour. Celtic took the lead on 10 minutes when a defensive header from a Graham Doyle inswinging corner fell to Andrew Cosgrave whose volley found the net from 18 yards. It was 1-1 on 13 minutes when Richie Ryan beat the offside trap to round Brian Sweeney and tap home. Two minutes later Celtic regained the lead when a free-kick on the edge of the box was played to Andrew Cosgrave and he shot low and hard to the corner of the net. Saints levelled just on half time when John O’ Brien was upended in the box and James Walsh made it 2-2 from the penalty spot.
The second-half saw St.Michaels gain the upper hand but opportunities continually broke down due to poor understanding by the home side and confident Celtic defending by Craig Condon and Simon Scully, who once again proved to be an impregnable duo. When it appeared penalties would be necessary another needless free-kick in the 82nd minute gave Celtic the opportunity to perform another party piece and the well-floated inswinger saw Saints rearguard in disarray as Aaron Moroney outfoxed everyone to score. Saints almost equalised in the last minute but Colin Bargary struck the upright as Celtic held out for a deserved win.
ClONMEL Town qualified to meet Clonmel Celtic in the decider next week-end following their penalty shoot-out victory over Nenagh Celtic. Town started in confident mood and dominated the opening twenty minutes. Richie Crowe had a long range effort saved in the 17th minute. Three minutes later, following an excellent move, Emmet Johnson’s shot was brilliantly saved by the Nenagh keeper. Midway through the half Town should have scored, a well-placed cross was headed into the six yard box but somehow both Johnson and Flynn could not get the vital touch. The remainder of the half saw the host’s gained control but the half ended scoreless.
Nenagh started the 2nd half in a very positive fashion and took the lead in the 47th minute when Mark Walsh finished off a swift passing move. Town did not afford the home side a chance to build on this lead and were level five minutes later. A half-cleared corner landed at the feet of Shane Murphy who shot home from an acute angle. Town suffered a major set-back when the influential Adrian Cleere had to leave the field through injury on the hour. They re-organised and took the lead in the 65th minute when Emmet Johnson finished from close range. However, Nenagh responded and Davy Walsh took advantage of some sloppy defending to level the tie in the 73rd minute. Both teams pressed forward for the remainder of the game but could not find the winner. Town advanced by winning the penalty shoot-out 5-4. As stated the final will be played this week-end at the Complex Clonmel.
.It will be an interesting final between the Clonmel arch rivals. It is difficult to predict a winner. Teams are still at the build up stage for the season proper but no matter what the occasion neither of these sides will want to lose in what is always a unique local derby. Five substitutes are allowed. If the sides are level after ninety minutes it goes straight to penalties, no extra-time.
While the John Delaney competition usually fails to give definite markers for the season ahead it does indicate who may be prominent in the early stages. Clonmel Celtic have shown they are building nicely and some of their teamwork last Sunday was a delight to watch. Clonmel Town are also happy at the way preparations are progressing with a nice blend of youth and experience and as usual they will be there or thereabouts. St.Michaels have a large panel and their big problem will be to choose the best eleven while keeping others happy. Individually they have a very talented squad but badly lacked teamwork last Sunday when compared to Celtic. Peake Villa have been preparing quietly behind the scenes and with the bulk of the players who won the Tipperary Cup retained, expect them to make up the quartet of Premier League challengers. Little is known of the preparations of Old Bridge, Cashel Town, Cahir Park and Glengoole. They may not be up among the challengers but, mark my words, important points dropped at their venues will decide league champions.
The TSDL management meet later this week to draw up fixtures for week-end 24th/25th August when the season kicks-off with Youth league games, Premier league games and First division Shield games. All other divisions kick-off the following week with shield games. The teams in all divisions will also be finalised this week.