Pure joy as Newtown clinch the cup
Newtown United 2 Glencormac United 1
Newtown United ended their Wicklow Cup hell as they scooped the prize after two failed attempts with a hard-earned victory over Glencormac United.
The Magpies had lost two finals in succession but they put on something of a masterclass to best their second tier opponents.
Ryan Cahill opened the scoring midway through the first half and Evan Moran was the benificiary of a wicked deflection to double his side's lead in the second period.
Glencormac, who enjoyed plenty of possession without penetration, almost equally pulled one back thanks to a cracking finish from James Delahunty but Newtown refused to let their lead slip and held on for victory.
A 3-5-2 formation proved to be a masterstroke for Newtown as it allowed their defence - Glenn Carthy, PJ Dowling and Neilly Martin - to bottle up Glencormac's red-hot attackers and with Newtown swamping up midfield, Glencormac had to resort to long balls which the aforementioned trio gobbled up.
It was a fitting day for a splendid occasion and the communities of Kilmacanogue and Newtown both deserve humongous credit for the atmosphere created.
It was a tame start at the Carlisle Grounds and the first half-chance fell to Nathan Watters as he stooped to meet a corner kick from the right flank but a combination of defender and goalkeeper ensured that he wouldn't net from the title angle.
Newtown had a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring on 21 minutes.Ryan cut the ball back to Dean Odlum as Newtown poured forward.
Odlum dummied to shoot and slipped a lovely pass into the unmarked Ross Davis' path.
He only had Gabor Radoczy and there was only 10 yards between attacker and goalkeeper but the midfielder completely fluffed it and sent the ball rolling wide.
The Newtown following couldn't believe he spurned it but they only had to wait a matter of moments for the opener. Radoczy's restart was met by a towering leap from Neilly Martin and Dean Odlum flicked it on to release Ryan Cahill. Radoczy didn't have time to come off his line and Cahill calmly steered it past him and tucked it into the bottom corner.
The Matt Kelly men almost found a second when Dean Odlum's deep free kick was nodded back into the danger zone by Martin at the back post. Glencormac headed it out of their penalty area but Moran drilled it back in and wasn't a million miles from bulging the net.
There was almost a gift for Newtown in the 30th minute. The impressive James Delahunty was on defensive duties and the winger thought the ball was trickling wide so let it run. However, Evan Moran didn't give up on it and he kept it in and his cross was just about scrambled away by the Glens.
Avondale Youths manager Ryan Cahill continued to torment Glencormac and he breezed past three men before laying it off to Dean Odlum. His initial strike was blocked by a Glens defender and the follow-up was claimed by the hands of Radoczy.
Odlum's search for a goal continued after the interval when he was found by Martin Williams' pass but he was thwarted by a fine block from Stephen Kirwan.
On 52 minutes, the Kilmacanogue side had Radoczy to thanks for keeping them within a single score. Cahill broke the offside trap and was clean through on goal but his effort was met by Radoczy's leg and it bounced onto the roof of the net.
Their second goal would arrive on 63 minutes. Sean Heffernan's searching pass had Luke O'Callaghan stretching to cut out and his header went back towards his own penalty area where Evan Moran picked it up and saw his heavily deflected strike find a way past the Glencormac shot-stopper.
Newtown's two-goal cushion lasted less than 120 seconds though as James Delahunty drilled home into the bottom corner from 18 yards with an emphatic finish.
Cahill tried to get the best of Radoczy again on 72 minutes as he got in behind the Glens defence again but yet again he was foiled by a smart save.
Glencormac never, ever gave up and plugged away right until the final second but there was no getting past the three-man defence who were impeccable on the day.
So after heartbreak in 2015/16 and 2016/17, Newtown United will be reacquainted with the Wicklow Cup for the next 12 months and they deserve every second of it.
Newtown United: Lee Fitzpatrick; Glenn Carthy, PJ Dowling, Neilly Martin; Martin Williams, Sean Heffernan, Ross Davis, Evan Moran, Mark Fitzsimons; Dean Odlum, Ryan Cahill. Subs: Oisin Greenan for Williams (57);
Glencormac United: Gabor Radoczy; Stephen Kirwan, Luke O'Callaghan, Mark Delahunty, Sam O'Callaghan; James Delahunty, Ben O'Callaghan, Simon Doyle, Dean McCormack; Sam Kerr, Nathan Watters. Subs: Sean Holly for McCormack (58); Ian Devlin for Kerr (66);
Referee: Jason Redmond.
Assistants: Owen White and Dominique Lachausse.
Fourth Official: David Jameson.
Venue: Carlisle Grounds, Bray.
Two more trophies still to be won
Neilly Martin is still undecided on whether he wants Sunday mornings in bed or Sunday mornings in the Matt Kelly Memorial Grounds.
The Newtown United captain admitted in the build-up to Sunday's final that he was stalling his retirement in a bid to land another Wicklow Cup medal but even with the gold in his pocket, he was still on the fence.
One thing he was certain about was the challenge Glencormac United offered. Did they live up to his expectations?
"And more! When we were 1-0 up at half time I said to the lads that one goal would not be enough because we knew they'd get their chance and when they did get it, they scored their goal. Then they went again and then they went again and we were camped in for the last 10/15 minutes and it was hard so fair play to them."
Alongside PJ Dowling and Glen Carthy, Martin was sensational as part of a three-man defence.
He is modest about it but still can't decide whether he'll be nullifying attacks beyond this season.
"That's what we're there for! We're there to defend and we played three at the back and were told that we didn't move out of the backline unless we were going up for a free or corner."
Time to retire? Martin frowns and ponder for a few seconds. There is still much work to be done this season - two more trophies potentially - before he'll be able to focus on that decision.
"Ask me in a few days. We'll see how the hangover is!
"We're playing Wednesday (tonight) in the semi-final against Carnew so we won't be drinking too much.
"Two more trophies still to be won. We've a semi-final on Wednesday, we'll see how that goes."