Double delight for the Bunclody boys
Tombrack’s early pressure thwarted
This game had many twists and turns before Bunclody struck for two quickfire first-half goals to set up an impressive victory over neighbours Tombrack United in this Neil O'Sullivan Cup final played at sun-drenched O'Sullivan Park, Enniscorthy, on Sunday.
Bunclody 3 - Tombrack United 1
While Bunclody collected the cup at the end, for the second successive season, they had to live through some nervy moments through the opening 25 minutes. This was a period controlled by Tombrack but they failed to put away two gilt-edged chances of goals and, had they found the net, it could have had a different bearing on the eventual result.
Big things were expected of Bunclody and they were predicted to dominate this game. However, they found it difficult to get out of their own half during that opening spell, as they were pinned back on defence, and but for the excellence of Timmy Bolger at the back, coupled with the lack of clinical finishing from the opposition, they could have found themselves in a spot of bother.
Tombrack opened the game at a crazy pace which must have caught their high-flying opponents by surprise. They passed the ball with skill and accuracy and should have taken the lead as early as the eleventh minute.
John Coleman got the perfect ball across the face of the goal, but Brian Byrne didn't get enough pace behind his effort from a few metres, allowing 'keeper Gary McClean to dive to his right and push the ball around the post for what turned out to be a fruitless corner.
Seven minutes later Byrne saw his free-kick rise just over the bar, while the same player had what appeared a goalbound shot after 21 minutes cleared off the line.
Bolger was excellent at the back for Bunclody during this spell, while Chris Kelly gradually began to impose himself in midfield. Four minutes before the break, Bunclody forced a free-kick dead centre just 25 metres out, but Jonathan Thorpe drilled a superb shot over the wall into the top right-hand corner of the net, giving his side a 1-0 lead which was against the run of play.
Bunclody settled from this breakthrough and after a quick counter-attack, Tombrack's right full Rory Newe was penalised for handball just on the break, leaving Adrian Wycmark to drill a low penalty to the net and make it 2-0 at the interval.
Tombrack after so much control in the opening period must have been devastated to have found themselves two goals down at the break. Within nine minutes of the re-start Bunclody killed off any hope of a Tombrack recovery when Wycmark moved in on a cross at the right post to tap the ball into the net, making it 3-0 and the final result a formality even at this stage.
But Tombrack kept on battling with James Coleman sending a 52nd-minute shot just over the top when he should at least have found the target from inside the area. Eight minutes later, Brian Byrne had a great chance but saw his right-footed attempt on goal go just outside the right post.
Eleven minutes from the end John Ryan powered home a header to make it 3-1, but still Bunclody held out comfortably through the closing ten minutes to go on and lift the cup.
Bunclody: Gary McClean, David Halpin, Timmy Bolger, Eoin Dunbar, Bryan O'Hara, James Dunne, Chris Kelly, Jonathan Thorpe, Adrian Wycmark, Johnny Melay, Severn Gadzina. Subs. - Craig Moules, Barry Murphy, Shane Franklin, Timmy Halpin, Paul Nolan.
Tombrack United: Eoin Carton, Rory Newe, Darragh Hendrick, James Ivory, Joe Newe, Richie O'Leary, James Coleman, Brian Byrne, John Ryan, John Coleman, Kevin Coleman. Subs. - Jamie Walsh, Matthew Hendrick, James Hackett, Eoghan Murphy.
Referee: Darren Ennis. Assistant referees: Mark Hogan, Mark Rellis. Fourth official: Ger Jones.