Calor Gas Super Cup
In a fantastic advertisement for football in the county Castlebar Celtic eventually were crowned Calor Gas Super Cup Champions with an 12-11 penalty shootout win over Kiltimagh/Knock United after the sides finished 4-4 after extra time in an excellent game at Solar 21 Park. After half an hour it looked like Celtic had the game sewn up as they led 2-0 as Jordan Loftus found the net on both occasions. The first arrived after sixteen minutes and was as good a goal as you are likely to see in a cup final as Loftus picked the ball up on the edge of the area after Kiltimagh/Knock failed to clear a corner and he beat two men before unleashing a shot into the top right hand corner of Enda Joyce’s net. His second arrived on the half hour mark as Johnny Walsh’s left wing cross was met by Loftus who ghosted in between two defenders to head the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net. At this stage Celtic looked in full control but two defensive errors in as many minutes seen Kiltimagh/Knock go in level at the break. Four minutes after Celtic’s second goal Ioseph O’Reilly took down Liam McCormack and Jack O’Connor slotted the penalty home and then just a minute latter Owen Carroll levelled matters as he pounced on a poor pass by Stefan Hester and he played a one-two with O’Connor before calmly finishing past Hester to send the sides in level at the break. The second half was just as entertaining as Kiltimagh/Knock led twice but Celtic hit back on both occasions to send the game into extra-time. Jack O’Connor got his second of the day after fifty-seven minutes as he got on the end of an excellent through ball from James McGrath and he found the net at the second attempt after Hester saved his initial effort. The first of three further goals in just eight minutes saw Celtic get back on level terms as Luke Kelly first time effort flew past Enda Joyce from the edge of the area after Loftus set him up with a perfectly weighted through ball. Kiltimagh/Knock went back in front minutes later as substitute Mark Maloney blasted the ball past Hester after O’Connor set him up just seconds after Maloney had missed a guilt edged chance as he hit the post when he was one on one with the Celtic keeper. Two minutes later and it was all square again as Loftus hit his hat-trick as his pin point free-kick found the bottom right hand corner of the net from twenty-five yards. As the game approached full time Oran Groarke received his marching orders for the second cup final in a row as he received two yellow cards in a many minutes to leave his side a man short for the twenty minutes of extra-time. Celtic looked the more likely to score in extra-tie as Kiltimagh/Knock’s lack of match practice in recent weeks began to show but they couldn’t find a winner and referee John Mulroe blew for penalties as darkness approached in Solar 21 Park. The penalty shootout was just as exciting as the match itself as the penalties were some of the best you will see with twenty two of them been taken before James McGrath missed in sudden death to present Loftus with the chance to win the Super Cup for his side. Jordan kept his cool to find the bottom right hand corner of the net to the delight of the large Castlebar Celtic support that had made its way to Solar 21 Park. After the match Loftus was presented with the man of the match award before Davitt Groarke from Calor Gas presented the Super Cup to Castlebar Celtic captain Ioseph O’Reilly.
Calor Gas Premier Cup
In the early game Ballinrobe Town also needed a penalty shootout to seal an impressive treble as they added the Premier Cup to the League One and Tonra cup successes from earlier in the season with a win over Manulla B after the sides finished level after extra-time. Manulla may feel like they should have killed off the tie before the shootout as Shea Benson and Matty Nolan both missed guilt edged chances as Ballinrobe goalkeeper stood up strong to deny them. In a very even first half neither side had any real clear cut chances as both defences were on top but the game got the goal it needed after only a minute of the second half. Liam Burke and JP O’Gorman combined down the right wing to send O’Gorman in the clear and the striker beat his man before pulling the ball back to Burke on the edge of the six yard box and the winger kept his cool as he found the bottom left hand corner of David Dolan’s goal to give his side the lead. Manulla made a few changes just before the hour mark and one of these players made an instant impact as substitute Alan Brennan’s brilliant through ball sent Shea Benson in the clear and he fired the ball past Sean Shaugnessy from just inside the area. Shaugnessy then ensured the game would finish level in normal time as he first saved from Shea Benson and then Matty Nolan who both found themselves through on goal. Extra time failed to separate the sides and it took sudden death in penalties to finally get a winner as Shaugnessy was the hero saving Alan Brennan’s penalty to earn the win for his side.