Cup joy for Sky Blues
North End United lifted the Wexford Volkswagen Cup for an eleventh time as they had too much class and guile for first-time finalists Kilmore in Ferrycarrig Park on Sunday.
North End United 2 Kilmore United 0
Country crooner Garth Brooks came to mind as the thunder rolled menacingly nearby with the clock ticking down towards kick-off time for the soccer showpiece.
Kilmore United fans were certainly in a low place after the final whistle, with their prayers remaining unanswered as their team never threatened to pull off a shock victory and the only dance on show was the North End players doing a familiar jig of celebration.
The game took a long time to come to life, with North End enjoying lots of possession but at times they lacked the penetration and cutting edge to carve open the Kilmore defence.
The breakthrough came in the 37th minute when Shane Dempsey confidently dispatched a penalty after being fouled in the area himself, and the Wexford town side never looked like losing their grip on the contest thereafter.
Fifteen minutes into the second-half, and with the Kilmore defence vehemently appealing for the offside flag to be raised, Adam Beary expertly fired the ball low and hard into the net and there was no way back for the underdogs.
The game began in a torrent of hailstones but shots certainly weren't raining down on goal, although the Sky Blues did have a sniff of a chance in the seventh minute, when Shane Dempsey headed over a fine Kyle Dempsey delivery from the right wing. Three minutes later a good tackle from Willie Murphy stopped the pacy Adam Beary in his tracks as he beared down on goal.
Kilmore's first serious foray into the North End half saw Shane Goff's 14th minute free-kick deflected wide for a corner, with Daithi Moore sending a shot off target when the ball fell to him after the resulting flag-kick.
North End began to up the tempo midway through the half and the Belvedere Road side almost found a way through in the 28th minute, but goalkeeper Kevin Keating was quickly off his line to gather a Shane Dempsey through ball before Kyle Dempsey could get a foot to it.
Adam Beary and Kyle Dempsey then played a good one-two, with the latter's strike from an acute angle blocked at the expense of a corner.
John Godkin's men did get their noses in front nine minutes before the break, when the ball found its way to the feet of Shane Dempsey and he was brought down in the area.
Referee Marc Kelly pointed to the spot and the midfielder stepped up himself and clinically fired the ball to the corner of the net.
Kilmore tried to respond instantly but Aaron Goff's attempt to chip Lee Walker in the North End goal drifted harmlessly wide, while at the other end Shane Dempsey brilliantly flicked the ball into the path of Kyle Dempsey but the striker chose to square the ball rather than shoot and the chance was lost.
The second-half began in a similar vein to the first, with the industrious Robin Dempsey shooting wide of the target from outside the area on 50 minutes.
Kyle Dempsey then found Adam Beary in space on the right with a clever first time ball, but the winger's whipped cross was too close to the goalkeeper.
However, Beary made no mistake on the hour mark, racing on to a left wing Lee Smith cross, which took a nick off a defender and fell kindly into his path, and burying it to the back of the net with aplomb.
Kilmore battled hard to get back into the game, with substitute Paul Murphy adding a new dimension to their attack, but a solid North End defence denied them any clearcut opportunities.
In fact North End twice went close to extending the winning margin in the closing minutes, with Kevin Keating doing well to deny Shane Dempsey after he was played in by Adam Beary, and substitute Andy Moore hitting the underside of the crossbar after being teed up by Warren Broaders.
North End United: Lee Walker, Warren Broaders, Lee Smith, Gareth McCurtin, Declan Downes, John Fenlon, Adam Beary, Robin Dempsey, Kyle Dempsey, Shane Dempsey, Lee Aust. Subs. - Robert Dempsey for K. Dempsey (75), Andy Moore for Smith (81), Paul Rossiter for S. Dempsey (87), also Alan Colgate, Stuart Lawlor, Aaron Deegan.
Kilmore United: Kevin Keating, Peter Goldsmith, Willie Murphy, Jason Malone, Garry Moore, Darren Naughton, Shane Goff, Graham Healy, Daithi Moore, David Millar, Aaron Goff. Subs. - Killian Dove for Murphy (46), Paul Murphy for S. Goff (58), Seán Hogan for Naugton (87), also Colm Benson, Luke Jordan, Bobby Kinsella, Conor Whelan.
Referee: Marc Kelly. Assistant referees: Derek Campion, Seamus Kelly. Fourth official: Darren Ennis.