IT’S the cup run that’s got the town of Ramelton buzzing and the young guns of Swilly Rovers are now just one game away from appearing in a national cup final.
Swilly Rovers 2
Real Tubber 0
On Sunday, they got the victory their performance deserved and they can now look forward to a mouth-watering clash with St. Kevin’s Boys of Dublin at Swilly Park in the semi final next month.
The Tubbercurry side battled bravely to the end but Swilly were the better team on the day and in strikers, Darragh Black and Ronan Curtis, they have a potent front pairing that will cause problems for any team.
They scored one each and but for a couple of wonderful saves from the visiting keeper, they could have had a few more. Their performance up front was the highlight of a fantastic win for Swilly in a game that was watched by another big crowd at Swilly Park.
Having laboured to a 2-1 win over Arklow Town in the last round, Swilly were much more positive in this game. They took the game to their opponents from early on with captain, Dylan Hegarty and James McCahill particularly prominent in central midfield.
Curtis and Padraig Ferry had early chances before Swilly opened the scoring on 33 minutes. Black ran onto a hopeful punt downfield and after holding off his man, he tucked the ball past the outrushing keeper for a delightful finish.
A minute later the same player could have scored again only to be denied by the woodwork following a goal-mouth scramble.
Real Tubber’s only chance of the half fell to striker Jason Perry who shot over the bar after racing into the area. But the visitors were more of a threat in the second half as they sought an equaliser. Perry again went close - this time forcing a fine save from Caolan Bolton in the Swilly goal while Dara Kilcoyne from a free kick and Stephen Connolly both shot just wide of the target.
Swilly might have been on the backfoot a fair bit in the second half but with Black and Curtis providing so many options up front, they continued to threaten. Curtis was denied by a brilliant save from keeper, Ryan Munnelly before the Swilly No. 9 eventually struck for the all-important second with 12 minutes left.
This time Black was the creator with a clever flick-on which sent Curtis clear on goal and his sweetly struck volley gave Munnelly no chance.
It was a wonderful finish and ensured there was to be no way back for the Sligo men.
Swilly Rovers: Caolan Bolton, Vinny Pyper, Dominic Hull, Dylan Quinn (Jordan Toland 57), Kyle Burke, Dylan Hegarty, Brandon Toye, Kyle Burke, Ronan Curtis, Darragh Black, Padraig Ferry.
Real Tubber: Ryan Munnelly, Darragh Kilcoyne, Eddie McGuinness, Stephen Connolly, Cian Gilmartin, Patrick Kilian, Brian Morahan, Liam Reilly, Frankie McDonagh (Brendan Connolly 64), Jason Perry, Niall O’Dowd.
Referee: Packie Coll.
Assistants: Marty Quinn, Brian Doherty.
Swilly boss Jim McCahill felt his young side did themselves proud with an excellent performance over the 80 minutes.
“I thought they were great today. We played brilliantly in the first half and we got a great lift out of the goal from Darragh Black before half time,” he said.
“Then when Ronan Curtis got the second, that was so important because it killed off any real chance of a comeback. I’m delighted for the boys because their attitude has been great all season.
“And it’s great for the club. There are a lot of people who deserve great credit for all the work they are putting in behind the scenes and it’s great for them that this team is now in a semi final of a national cup.”
Man of the match
Swilly were the better side, even though Real Tubber were threatening an equaliser for much of the second half. The home team were well served by captain, Dylan Hegarty who played at centre midfield and then filled in at centre half when Dylan Quinn went off. Caolan Bolton made a couple of important stops in goal, Vinny Pyper played well at right back and at right midfield, Brandon Toye did well. But once again, the front pairing of Darragh Black and Ronan Curtis impressed - Curtis for his workrate and wonderful goal gets the man of the match nod.
It was good to see a full compliment of match officials for such an important game and referee, Packie Coll had a fine game. The only downside to the tie was a spate of unecessary fouls and some pushing and shoving in the closing minutes. Both teams had players involved and as tempers became a little heated, some of the adults on the sideline had to have their say as well. Thankfully Packie Coll and his assistants were able to deal with the situation.
It’s been a terrific season for this Swilly team who also have a great chance of qualifying for the final of the Donegal Schoolboys Champions League. They’ve been very fortunate to have been handed three home draws on the trot in the national competition and you can be sure there’ll be another big crowd at Swilly Park for the visit of St. Kevin’s Boys in the semi final on April 15th.