Saturday 24 February 2018

Cloughbawn team ethos crucial

Youth Division 3

Cloughbawn built on their strong pre-season work to take the Youth Division 3 crown
Cloughbawn built on their strong pre-season work to take the Youth Division 3 crown

A strong team ethos took an unbeaten Cloughbawn all the way to the Wexford Football League Youth Division 3 title this season, but their year will be equally remembered for a sensational run in the cup.

The unlikely challengers saw off Forth Celtic 3-2 and Shamrock Rovers 3-0 in the first two rounds and stunned Division 1 champions Wexford Bohs 3-1 in the quarters to advance to an attractive looking semi-final against Moyne Rangers.

Cloughbawn took the lead with a 40-yard pile-driver from James Dempsey but the Enniscorthy side equalised to take it to extra-time. They fell behind with just two minutes of the extra period remaining but showed their undying spirit by equalising 60 seconds later through Derek Murphy.

They might have felt it was destined to be their day after the late, late show but in the end it was Rangers who took the penalty shoot-out 4-2 and they went on to lose to North End in the final.

Before the league commenced back in late August, manager Ken Kennedy went about getting as many friendlies as possible to help his team grow in confidence and his side ended up playing double-digits in practice matches. It also wasn't unusual for training to take place at unsociable hours, with one such session starting before 8 a.m.

Once the league started Cloughbawn won twelve of their 14 games which was enough to take the trophy by an impressive six-point margin. Along the way big victories came against second-placed St. Cormac's and third-placed Rathnure at home.

The Clonroche-based side were able to claim a creditable away draw to their main challengers in the return fixtures and that was enough to see them over the finish line. Top scorer Connal Flood was recognised by the league with the 'player of the division' honour for Division 3.

Squad: Cian O'Connor, Fearghas Rooney, Jack Somers, Daniel Dempsey, Bob Whitty, Colin Murphy, Gareth Murphy, Pádhraig Furlong, James Dempsey, Darragh O'Connor, Tim Bowler, Derek Murphy, Billy Wickham, Thomas Cogley, Lar Blackburn, Connal Flood, Shane Greene.

Management: Ken Kennedy, Jim Redmond, Willie Murphy, Lee Keeley.

Wexford People

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