Castlewellan Score Another Bobby Dalzell Cup Success
Bobby Dalzell Cup 2012.
Castlewellan 3 Ballyvea 1
The scene was set for an excellent showdown between two strong teams. As the moment approached for the whistle to blow, a cold miserable rain came down quite heavily over Drumaness chilling the cup final proceedings, and it was going to be a question who was the most fired up on the day to win the Bobby Dalzell Cup.
The game started with both teams trying to take advantage and the action was a to and fro affair for the first 1o minutes with neither side getting the clear advantage but gradually Castlewellan asserted themselves.
The first half chance came from Castlewellan’s striker Liam McKibben who poked a shot at the Ballyvea goal only to see it saved by a quick reflex save by Johnny Main.
Gradually there were signs that Castlewellan were pressing to get an early goal and a great cross from midfielder Sean Russell into the back of the Ballyvea box certainly showed the Town’s intentions. Castlewellan seemed to be harrying more for the ball and Nial Toner made a great tackle to rob a Ballyvea forward and turn the tables feeding the ball to his front line. This was followed by another excellent move with Donagh Steele passing through to Toner who put the ball the wrong side of the Ballyvea post.
Castlewellan were looking the stronger side, and Ballyvea were making less incursions into the Castlwellan goal area. But not to be written off in the 14th minute , the Ballyvea keeper put out a long ball which was collected by Philip Main who passed to Mark Burden, but it was a quick intervention by the Town’s keeper Watson that saved the day.
Again Ballyvea proved dangerous when defender Keith Hanna sent a curling drive into the Town’s box from a free kick causing moments of panic for the Town defenders.
Castlewellan were looking always more likely to spring a goal as they mounted steady pressure on Ballyvea. Liam McKibben was attacking well and wanted to get his name on the scoresheet, but in the 24th minute received a yellow card for a heavy tackle on a Ballyvea midflieder.
Incredibly, there had been some shots at both goals, but not a seriously challenging volley to test either keeper. The playing conditions were poor as the rain hammered down and the playing surface became more slippey making power shots more difficult.
Then in the 37th minute, Ballyvea’s Philip Main having a good game was rewarded by heading the ball down into the Castlewellan net to put his side one up.
This boosted Ballyvea hopes and the match swung round as they attacked Castlwellan pressing for a second goal to punish them before the first half ended. This was a critical time for Castlewellan facing Ballyvea with their tails up, but the Town eventually won a freekick outside the Ballyvea box and Ruairi McArdle stepped up to the spot blasting it through the wall beating the keeper in the 43rd minute.
Castlewellan started the second half aggressively with attacks down the left wing spearheaded by Liam McKibben. They were zooming closer to the target on each attack and yet Ballyvea still fought back desperately holding on to their cup dreams.
Ballyvea occasionally showed some flashes on good soccer when on one occasion when Philip Chambers passed to Mark Burden who slipped the ball to Mark McConnell but the final effort was blocked by Castlewellan keeper Watson on form.
Toner also managed a volley at the Ballyvea posts but was just off target. Early in the second half Liam McKibben was making some great solo runs into the Ballyvea half in the heavy slippery conditions, yet still had not been rewarded for his efforts.
As 30 minutes passed in the second half, the match to set it alight. Ballyvea were now not making a dent in the Town’s defense, and then in the 38th minute, the Town finally got their advantage when sub Steven Trainor took a low shot from the back of the Ballyvea box beating the keeper putting his side into the lead.
Castlewellan Could smell blood and with seven minutes left they piled on the pressure on Ballyvea. Ballyvea tried to respond and on one occasion their defender Matthew Johnston took a long lob at the Town’s goals and was unlucky not to have dropped it below the top bar to equalise.
McKibben then enjoyed a great run past the defenders and the keeper only to slip the ball past the wrong side of the Ballyvea post. But not to be outdone, in the last minute of the game he triumphantly charged the Ballyvea defense sliding the ball into the net to celebrate the cup winning goal clinching their victory over Ballyvea.
It was an interesting final which could have gone either way had Ballyvea capitalised on their opportunities when they broke through the Town’s defenses on occasions. But the Castlewellan determination was much more obvious from the onset and team manager John Burn’s squad were once again in celebratory mode.
Speaking after the match, John said: “This was another great victory for the Castlewellan team. The lads worked so hard to get this and they deserved it. For the first 10 minutes I was a bit concerned but we settled own to the task and did what we had to do to win the Cup.
“This is a great mid-season win but we still are looking at other titles this season… the League championship, the Harry Clarke and the Junior Shield.
“We haven’t finished yet!” said John.
Castlewellan: Michael Watson, Aidan Kelly, Conal Brannigan, Conor Stratton, Ruairi McArdle, Donagh Steele, Nial Toner, Sean Russell, Colm Flanaghan, Patrick Keown, Liam McKibben. Subs: Steven Trainor, Dean Anderson, Donal McKibben.
Ballyvea: Johnny Main, Matthew Johnston, Keith Hanna, Philip McConnell, David McConnell, Peter Heelham, Philip Chambers, Brian White, Philip Main, Mark McConnell, Mark Burden. Subs: Peter Thompson, Mark Haugh, Jordan McConnell.