CHARLEVILLE CHEESE DIVISION 1A LEAGUE FINAL
AC Athletic 3
The Park 0
It was test of experience against youthful exuberance in this final at soccer headquarters on Saturday evening when AC Athletic and The Park locked horns in the Division 1A League Final.
The teams had contrasting credentials going into the game with AC used to winning silverware while The Park have been experiencing a bit of a silverware drought in recent seasons at senior level and they were very anxious to try and rectify this in this game
In recent years the Tralee club have been going through a transition period focusing on bringing young players up the ranks and this has proved to be a very successful mission as now they have a bunch of good young players who are destined to bring honours to the club in the not too distant future. The Park came into the game at a big disadvantage as they had not played a competitive game for over 11 weeks as they waited to see who they would meet in the decider.
Meanwhile, AC Athletic have been in the winner’s enclosure quite frequently in recent seasons and are well accustomed to getting over the winning line in big games.
Unfortunately in this game indiscipline let The Park down badly as they had a player sent off late in the first half and it was always going to be difficult to win the game in those circumstances.
AC began the game on the offensive and put a few good attacks together, and they went ahead in the 13th minute when Joseph Diggins got past a defender and fed Brendan Savage and he gave the Park goalkeeper no chance with a pile-driver of a shot from just outside the box.
AC began to dominate the game from there and they pushed for a second goal. The Park found it difficult to contain their opponents and they had a bit of a let off in the 25th minute when a David Egan header flashed just wide of the upright.
AC were again only a whisker away from scoring when Egan set up Gerard Leen but he was unable to find the net from close range.
They were then very unlucky shortly afterwards when Joseph Diggins showed his skill to get past a number of defenders and his shot beat Park goalkeeper Tommy Moriarty but luckily for him it hit the post and was cleared to safety.
The Park’s prospects in the game nose-dived significantly three minutes from the break when David O’Callaghan was sent off after an incident involving a number of players.
The Park put a good attack together just before half time with Dan Fisher making a great run down the wing, and after getting past an opponent he delivered a great cross for Sebastian Vasiu but he was unable to get the touch he required and the AC goalkeeper claimed the ball.
AC took a stranglehold on the game right on the stroke of half time when a long delivery up field by AC goalkeeper Cyril Dineen reached David Egan who linked up with Feargal O’Rourke and he rifled a shot to the net from just outside the box.
Now The Park faced a mountain to climb in the second half and with a player down their chances of making a comeback looked very unlikely. Nevertheless the Tralee side did their best to pull a goal back but they had to take risks to do this so they were always going to be exposed on the counter-attack.
The Park forced a corner kick in the 65th minute but the AC goalkeeper claimed the ball and found Joseph Diggins with a long clearance but just as he was about to pull the trigger he was denied by a superb tackle by Adam Walker.
AC put the game to bed in the 71st minute with a great strike from distance by veteran Mark Walshe. While the Causeway man may be in the twilight of his playing career he still has a great appetite for the game and often pops up to score crucial goals.
After this AC played the game at their own pace, locked up shop at the back, gave their subs some game time and ran out very comfortable winners.
AC ATHLETIC: Cyril Dineen, John Buckley, Jeremy Mc Kenna, Keith Carmody, Mark Walshe, Gerard Leen, David Egan, Brendan Savage, Fearghal O’Rourke, Jason Diggins, Joseph Diggins. Subs: Eamon Fitzgerald, Gavin Dooley, Kieran Young, Darragh McElligott
THE PARK: Tommy Moriarty, David O’Callaghan, Adam Sheehy, Adam Walker, Jack Twamley, Con O’Callaghan, Donagh O’Brien, Kevin Browne, Dan Fisher, Sebastian Vasiu, Sean Kedzierski. Subs: James Charles, Dean Scanlon, Adam Bolla, John Carmody, Washington Solomon, David Oba, Cian Purcell