Roscommon & District League Challenge Cup Final
Ballinasloe Town 3 Castlerea Celtic 1
Enda Concannon, manager of all-conquering Ballinasloe Town, has described last Sunday’s Cup Final win by his side as one of their sweetest successes in recent years.
Concannon, whose team collected a fourth successive Challenge Cup title after a 3-1 win over Castlerea, paid tribute to his players after they fought back after going behind three minutes into the second half.
Concannon praised a Castlerea team who offered impressive resistance against the hot favourites. “Castlerea were excellent out there today. They were very disciplined, so we had to be patient. However there was a very strong wind and we were happy at half-time that they hadn’t scored in the first half.”
After that scoreless opening period, Castlerea raised prospects of a shock win by taking the lead on 48 minutes. However a stunning equaliser from Shane Duffy settled the favourites and they went on to win yet another trophy.
It’s a fourth Cup win in a row and also represented the completion of another league and cup double by a team that continues to dominate the Roscommon & District League.
Squally showers and a strong, bitterly cold wind ensured that it was not a day for fancy football and the first half was a drab affair with few chances, the best of which fell to Castlerea, who were playing with the strong wind at their backs.
Ballinasloe were restricted to a couple of half-chances but they knew that with the aid of the elements they would get opportunities in the second half. However, with the score at 0-0, the second half opened with Castlerea scoring a super goal on 48 minutes. Enda Foster crossed from the left and Pater Farrell headed home superbly from eight yards.
Was there a shock on the cards? Castlerea played well for about 10 minutes after that but Ballinasloe never panicked and they slowly worked their way back into the game. After they’d missed a couple of chances the Ballinasloe equaliser came in the 53rd minute – and what a goal it was.
There didn’t seem much danger when Shane Duffy ran on to a loose clearance from the Celtic defence but he let fly from 30 yards and his left-footed strike flew into the top corner for a spectacular goal. It was all Ballinasloe after that, although Castlerea did have one goal chance in the 62nd minute when Ronan Curran’s header was saved by Aidan Fallon.
Then in the 75th minute Ballinasloe went ahead. David Grehan shot from 25 years and Liam O’Connell saved well, but he could only parry the ball into the path of Martin Flannery who swept home from eight yards.
David Grehan and Aiden Dooney both had chances for Ballinasloe after that and then, with a minute to go, the champions struck again. It was route-one stuff as Aidan Fallon kicked long and Martin Flannery was quickest to react and he shot low and hard to seal another famous win for ‘The Town.’ Can anyone stop the five-in-a-row?
Certainly Ballinasloe manager Enda Concannon appears to retain the hunger for more success. “It’s been a great season again but I actually found it the hardest season of all because we had a lot of injuries and suspensions. We showed today that we have a very good squad and this was one of our best wins in recent years. “We are thrilled to win this trophy once again. We have a great bunch of lads who are determined to keep on winning.”
Ominous words for the rest of the league!
Ballinasloe Town: Aidan Fallon, Gary Egan, Kenneth Kenny, Peter Keighery, Des Hope, David Nee, Shane Duffy, Darragh Concannon, David Grehan (Michael Greaney 77), Aidan Dooney, Malcom Flannery, (Mike Lynch, 91). Castlerea Celtic: Liam O’Connell, Derek Kennedy, Giles McDonagh, James Joyce, Declan Creaton, Ronan Curran, Stephen Ryan (Aaron Keane 77), Eoghan O’Connell, Nathan Bligh, Peter Farrell (Cathal Dineen, 77), Enda Foster (Oisin Ward 65). Referee: Bobby Stokes.