Taghmon take inaugural title
Taghmon United 2 Raheen/Cushinstown 0
On May 12 of this year, the first round of games were played in the Over-35 league which was dedicated to the memory of our departed friend, Richie Dwyer.
Who could have envisaged that, three months and 36 games later, the title would be decided this way. From the start, the league has been competitive whilst at the same time encompassing all that is good about sport, with old friendships and rivalries renewed both on and off the field.
Players who thought their playing days were well behind them returned, with the chance to honour one of the great ambassadors of local football.
And so it came down to two, Taghmon United and Raheen/Cushinstown, who did battle to see who would be crowned the Over-35 league champions. The game took place at Danescastle, Corach Ramblers' excellent grounds, on Saturday evening.
Both teams starting rather tentatively knowing what was at stake. Chances were at a premium early on as Raheen/Cushinstown registered the first shot on target after ten minutes, but Malcom McLoughlin was on hand to keep it out.
Soon after, Jason McLoughlin rose highest to head over from close range and Taghmon now started to get more of the ball. Taghmon had two more chances before the break, both from the excellent Trevor Berry.
The first came from an excellent through ball and was brilliantly saved by T.J. Kielthy in the Raheen/Cushinstown goal, and the second came from a free-kick which just shaved the post as the 'keeper looked on helplessly.
The second-half was only eight minutes old when Taghmon finally got the breakthrough. An excellent ball down the flank was squared across and Trevor Berry was on hand with a bullet-like header which was saved brilliantly by Kielthy, but to the dismay of the Raheen/Cushinstown men, the ball rebounded into the path of the inrushing Jason Whitty and deflected off him into his own net.
A fortuitous goal but on the balance of play, it was just about deserved. This spurred Raheen/Cushinstown into life and to their credit they pushed on immediately looking for the equalising goal.
Five minutes later they were awarded a penalty following Jimmy Doran's challenge on Tommy Quinn as he was bearing down on goal. Up stepped Mark Lee to fire low to the 'keeper's right, but the ball struck the post, rolled along the line and struck the opposite post and somehow stayed out.
And just to rub salt into the Raheen/Cushintown wounds, Taghmon United doubled their lead soon after when a great run from Berry found him one-on-one with Kielthy. The initial shot was saved but Berry followed up the rebound to give Taghmon United a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.
Raheen/Cushinstown tried hard until the end but the solid defensive unit led by Ger Power wasn't breached, and a late headed effort from Tommy Quinn was just wide before the final whistle sounded to the delight of the Taghmon United following.
After the game Richie Dwyer's daughter, Sami Sinnott, presented the first-ever Over-35 league cup to Darragh Kelly of Taghmon United. The Over-35 league committee would also like to thank Paul Diskin of Diskin Design for sponsoring the cup.
Next Saturday, August 26, will be cup finals day. The action will get under way in Duncannon's grounds at 4 p.m. with the shield final when Corach Ramblers will play Fastnet Rovers.
The cup final is timed for 6 p.m. where Campile United will be trying to stop Taghmon United from doing the double.
We would also like to thank Anthony Rowe (Rowe Windscreens) and Darren Walsh (Walsh Carpentry) for their sponsorship of both cups for the upcoming finals.