RATHNEW AFC…. 2 GLENCORMAC UNITED….. 4 (aet)
By PAUL DOWLING
History was made at the Carlisle Grounds in Bray on Sunday afternoon as Glencormac lifted the Wicklow Cup for the first time in their 44-year-history.
Two goals at the start and end of extra time saw the biggest prize in Wicklow League football in its 73rd year head to Kilmac.
Cup kingpins Rathnew rallied from 2-0 down at half time to force extra time.
But just like their Thomas Scott Cup defeat last week to St. Anthony’s Kilcoole United FC, the Villagers ran out of steam at the end of a long season.
For the Glens, they learned from last years’ final loss to Newtown United.
And three of the four O’Callaghan brothers – Sam, Ben and Josh – grabbed goals in the 4-2 success.
The first of the siblings scores arrived on 23 minutes.
After Josh O’Callaghan was felled on the left just outside the penalty area,
his younger brother Sam O’Callaghan stepped up to whip the 22-yard free around the wall and past the diving Johnny Byrne to the far-right corner of the net.
Beforehand, United’s Simon Doyle had rattled the post in the 14th minute. The same player drove inside the side-netting on 38minutes in a carbon copy angle.
Yet, the Ryder’s Field based men doubled that lead in the 41st minute. Albeit in somewhat controversial circumstances.
Ben O’Callaghan’s shot from the edge of the box was charged down. Sam O’Callaghan – although he looked well offside – burst onto it. Rathnew goalkeeper Johnny Byrne made a reaction for a corner.
Sam O’Callaghan drove the low flag-kick which was missed at a crowded front post. Last season’s Pat O’Toole Division 1 player of the year Nathan Watters arrived to side-foot in from four-yards.
Questions being asked about the Villagers were answered just three minutes into the second period.
Nicky Mernagh’s high, hanging cross from the right-wing saw both Jody Merrigan and Mark Doyle challenge United custodian Craig Williams who could only parry. The ball fell to the unmarked Gary Byrne who lashed in a close-range half volley.
With just eight minutes to go, they got back on level terms. Merrigan unleased a stunning 22-yard free that nestled in the net.
But to their credit, Glencormac’s young side rallied.
Just two minutes into the first period of extra time, Watters latched onto a throw down the left. He cut back from the end-line with Ben O’Callaghan lashing in from six-yards.
Victory was wrapped up in the very last minute of the second period. A United clearance came off a Rathnew player. Josh O’Callaghan burst onto the ball along the left flank. He bore down on goal and slipped his effort low past Johnny Byrne.
RATHNEW AFC: Johnny Byrne; Rory Dowling, Jason Devlin, Dean Franey, Philip O’Neill; Nicky Mernagh, Gary Byrne, Eddie Doyle, Josh Graham; Jody Merrigan, Mark Doyle. SUBS: Jordan Graham (for Josh Graham), Evan Doyle (for Mark Doyle) (both 69 mins), Michael Anthony Doyle (for Dowling 100 mins), Dale Franey, Alan Hubbard, Kyle Devlin, Cian Hunter, Kristian Kearney (all not used).
GLENCORMAC UNITED: Craig Williams; Eaun van der Berg, Cian McGoldrick, Luke O’Callaghan, Mark Delahunty; Luke Reynolds Ben O’Callaghan, Nathan Watters, Sam O’Callaghan; Simon Doyle, Josh O’Callaghan. SUBS: Colm Nolan (for McGoldrick 38 mins), James Delahunty (for Reynolds 67), Sean Holly (for Mark Delahunty 80 mins), Dean McCormack, Stephen Kirwan, Sam Kerr, Gabor Radoczy (all not used).
REFEREE: Davis Jameson. ASSISTANTS: Jason Redmond, Michael Kennedy.