Tuesday 21 January 2020

Famous first for Curracloe

Curracloe United 4 Legia 1

Curracloe United with mentors Aidan McGuire, Declan Kielthy and Tom O'Leary. Back (from left): Max Roche, Joshua Roche, Rian Ormonde, Joe O'Leary, Rory Hearne. Front (from left): Cillian O'Leary, Josh Kinsella, Liam Kielthy (capt.), Luke Corrigan, Darnell Lawlor
Curracloe United with mentors Aidan McGuire, Declan Kielthy and Tom O'Leary. Back (from left): Max Roche, Joshua Roche, Rian Ormonde, Joe O'Leary, Rory Hearne. Front (from left): Cillian O'Leary, Josh Kinsella, Liam Kielthy (capt.), Luke Corrigan, Darnell Lawlor
Filip Wasilewski of Legia receives the award for the top goalscorer from sponsor Seánie Fenlon
Rian Ormonde of Curracloe United wins this tussle for possession with Legia's Kamil Walkosz
Legia. Back (from left): Jan Wozniak, David Grzegorzak, Filip Wasilewski, Szymon Kot, Gabriel Maksimiuk. Front (from left): Kamil Walkosz, Kajetan Kuczek, Alexander Bolinski, Kacper Ptak, Matus Koszoru

Alan Aherne

A worthy new name was added to the prestigious Wexford Albion Mini World Cup roll of honour on Sunday when pre-match favourites Curracloe United swept to a decisive and highly-impressive 4-1 win over first-time finalists Legia.

The stylish seasiders had come through the tougher side of the draw with flying colours, having underlined their vast potential when they dismissed holders New Ross Town on penalties in the quarter-final.

A comprehensive 4-1 victory over Wexford Albion A followed in miserable conditions on Wednesday, and Curracloe carried on where they left off in the decider as they claimed the Jack Carthy Memorial Cup in a blaze of glory.

Earlier in the week, news emerged that their best-known past player, Kevin O'Connor, is set to leave Cork City for Preston North End.

And the confidence this Republic of Ireland Under-21 international displays on the ball was matched by this super little team as they passed and moved to devastating effect.

Spare a thought for Legia though, as the fledgling club based in New Ross and drawn from the Polish community certainly contributed in rich measure to another excellent tournament.

They had been pushed all the way by surprise packets Wexford Albion B in Wednesday's rain-lashed semi-final, eventually qualifying for the decider after extra-time on a 3-1 scoreline.

This time around they had to give second best to a Curracloe team superbly prepared by mentors Aidan McGuire, Declan Kielthy and Tom O'Leary.

The eventual victors looked threatening from the off despite playing upfield, with Josh Kinsella shooting to the left and wide in the second minute.

Legia threatened first when Filip Wasilewski cleverly worked a short corner with Jan Wozniak on the right, accepted the return pass and fired over.

However, the remainder of the half was dominated by Curracloe, and they were richly rewarded with three well-taken goals.

Kinsella came close again before Cillian O'Leary narrowly missed the target, but all of that pressure eventually told in the 13th minute.

The outstanding Joe O'Leary delivered a lovely ball from the right, and Cillian O'Leary was on hand to apply a clinical finish.

And Joe O'Leary was the creator once more just 60 seconds later, this time crossing from the left for Max Roche to connect first-time and direct the ball into the corner of the net with a low shot.

Legia's Gabriel Maksimiuk tried his luck from the resultant kick-off and wasn't too far away, but his side conceded for a third time in the 15th minute.

The telling cross came from Joshua Roche on the right, with Cillian O'Leary on hand to double his personal tally and leave Curracloe firmly in the driving seat.

They continued to press before half-time, with Max Roche, Rian Ormonde and Joe O'Leary all getting shots away as Legia struggled to match their class.

In fairness to the eventual losers, they improved considerably on the re-start, with Filip Wasilewski posing all sorts of problems down the right flank.

In addition, Gabriel Maksimiuk was re-deployed between the posts and went on to make a string of impressive saves.

His first stop denied Josh Kinsella less than two minutes after the re-start, but the corner that followed led to the fourth goal.

It was only partially cleared into the path of Cillian O'Leary who completed his hat-trick in tremendous style with a powerful drive to the net from distance.

To Legia's eternal credit, they continued to battle, and it was a case of third time lucky for Filip Wasilewski near the end of the third quarter when he struck for a consolation goal.

He had directed a free-kick over the bar, and then had a shot saved by Liam Kielthy, before his attempt from the right deceived the netminder and narrowed the gap to three.

Curracloe weren't in the mood to give anything else away though, and their swift counter-attacking created several more chances before the end.

Cillian O'Leary came close twice before a similar fate befell Joe O'Leary, with Maksimiuk also saving from Rian Ormonde prior to his best intervention of all in the last minute.

Curracloe seemed odds-on to add a fifth when Cillian O'Leary put his namesake, Joe, in the clear, but the netminder stood tall and kept his net intact.

Deirdre Carthy was on hand to present the cup in memory of her late father, Jack, to jubilant captain Liam Kielthy, and it was no surprise to see the exceptional Joe O'Leary presented with the player of the tournament award.

Hat-trick hero Cillian O'Leary collected the People Newspapers player of the match trophy and a €50 voucher for Ned Buggy Sports, while there was some consolation for Legia when Seánie Fenlon's leading goalscorer award went to Filip Wasilewski whose second-half strike was his fourth from the quarter-final onwards.

Curracloe United: Liam Kielthy (capt.), Rian Ormonde, Rory Hearne, Joshua Roche, Joe O'Leary, Cillian O'Leary, Josh Kinsella. Subs. (rolling) - Luke Corrigan, Max Roche, Darnell Lawlor.

Legia: Kajetan Kuczek (capt.), David Grzegorzak, Szymon Kot, Filip Wasilewski, Jan Wozniak, Kamil Walkosz, Gabriel Maksimiuk. Subs. (rolling) - Matus Koszoru, Alexander Bolinski, Kacper Ptak.

Referee: Ger Morris; Assistants: Jimmy Kelly and Sam O'Neill.

Wexford People

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