Joe’s Bar RDFL Challenge Cup Final
Castlerea Celtic 1 Moore United 0
A headed goal from Frank Hester in the 15th minute was enough to give Castlerea Celtic victory in this hard-fought Challenge Cup final played at breezy Lecarrow on Sunday last.
Celtic played with the aid of the strong wind in the opening half and they looked the more dangerous side in that opening period. However, Moore did have the ball in the Castlerea net in the sixth minute but James Byrne’s effort was ruled out for offside.
Castlerea hit the front just nine minutes later when Jack Higgins’ corner was headed in at the far post by Frank Hester. It was a very well taken goal and it would prove to be the match winner.
Castlerea did have a few half chances before half-time but both Oisin Farrell and Ronan Curran shot wide in the 27th and 45th minutes respectively. And so, Castlerea took that one goal advantage into the break.
In the second half, Moore almost totally dominated possession but the Castlerea defence was on top and restricted the recently crowned Premier Division champions to just a couple of half chances.
Cathal Dineen (winning his fourth cup medal), Micheal Conroy, Donal Brennan and Jack Higgins were magnificent as they repelled attack after attack from Moore.
Indeed, the best chance of the second half fell to Castlerea who broke away in the 65th minute but Ronan Curran’s turn and shot was just inches wide.
As it was, Moore just couldn’t unlock the Celtic defence and their bid to do the ‘double’ was foiled by an experienced and well-drilled side. Best for Moore were Charles Nevin, Jack Nevin, Kevin Kenny and James Byrne.
Celtic team manager Giles McDonagh hailed his players after the match: “It was a victory for good organisation today and I said to the lads that we had a tough campaign to stay in the league last year and we played a lot of cup finals, so today is nothing new to them,” he told People Sport.
“I thought we defended magnificently. Even though Moore had plenty of possession they had very few chances and that was down to our players”.
The manager pointed to the mix of older and younger players as being key to the success.
“We have some very experienced men on our team, lads like Cathal Dineen, Ronan Curran, and the Higgins’ brothers are great servants and I’m delighted for them today but we have young lads like Frank Hester and John Farrell and they have made a big contribution too. It’s a great day for the club,” he concluded.
While Moore missed out on a famous double it was Castlerea Celtic’s eighth time to lift the Challenge Cup and their first win since 2017.
Castlerea Celtic: Niall Connaughton, Micheal Conroy, Donal Brennan, Frank Hester, Jack Higgins (captain), Cathal Dineen, Niall Higgins (Martin Gerard Ward 88), Patrick Sharkey (John Farrell 69), Darren Clabby, Ronan Curran, Oisin O’Farrell.
Moore United: Adam McManus (Paddy Reilly h/t), Emmett Kenny (Ian Harney 79), Shane Pettit, Jason Ryan, James Byrne, Kevin Kenny, Shane Dunning, Rian Carpenter (Paul Kelly 68), Josh Lennon (Mark Lennon 86), Charles Nevin, Jack Nevin.
Referee: Dave Jameson