DONEGAL LEAGUE

Cup win crowns a magnificent season for Ballybofey United

Twin Towns club on the up and up

Diarmaid Doherty

Reporter:

Diarmaid Doherty

Email:

sport@donegaldemocrat.com

Cup win crowns a magnificent season for Ballybofey United

Ballybofey United fans race onto the pitch following their team's win in the McCormick Cup final on Sunday. Pic: Brian McDaid.

All good things come to those who wait.

Ballybofey United, without a cup final win since back in 1978, finally got their hands on some cup silverware on Sunday when they won the Brian McCormick Sports Cup Final with victory over Rathmullan Celtic.
The 1-0 win at Dry Arch Park in Bonagee completed a memorable league and cup double success for the Twin Towns outfit who can rightly look back on their campaign with some degree of pride.
A few weeks back, they sealed the CT Ball Division Two title in some style having gone the entire league campaign without losing a single game.
And there was a big crowd present on Sunday to watch Barney Lafferty’s side snatch a dramatic cup final win when Niall McCloskey’s wonderful late winner sparked jubilant celebrations in the Ballybofey camp.
The Ballybofey manager was delighted with the win which he said rounded off a magnificent season.
“We started out this year hoping to get promoted out of Division Two but we ended up winning Division Two and winning the cup. We’re delighted,” Lafferty said.
“It’s a long time coming, it was well overdue.
“We have a hard-working committee and it’s a wee bit of a reward for them. They put in a lot of effort, raising funds for a lot of underage teams so it’s just a wee bit of a payback for them.”
Ballybofey went into Sunday’s game seeking a first cup final win since their IAWS Cup final success at the same venue against Letterkenny Rovers back in 1978.
They met a Rathmullan Celtic team who last won the cup back in 2013 and as the Premier Division side, were slight favourites.
“We started brightly enough and we had chances in the first half,” Lafferty said.
“We nullified them to a fair extent, they never really troubled our goals in the first half. There wasn’t that much in it in general play but we had a few half chances that we should have scored.
“At the start of the second half there was a bad shower and it put a dampner on the game. They had the upperhand. They were playing with a slight breeze and with the rain at their back. But it was always going to be a battle and in fairness to our lads, they dug in.”
The game looked to be heading to extra-time when McCloskey fired to the net from outside the area.
“It was a magnificent goal from a very talented young footballer in Niall McCloskey,” Lafferty added.
“It means a hell of a lot. We had a lot of supporters at the game. A lot of people that would have lads playing with us at underage. They wanted to come down to watch the seniors playing.
“It means that when you go to try and raise some funds, you can see there’s a bit of progress being made on the pitch as well as off the field, so it makes things a bit easier for the committee.”
Ballybofey can look forward to playing in Division One of the Donegal League next season and away from the action, the club are also making steady progress with the development of their new pitch and dressing room facilities at Dreenan.
Considering the amount of work going on at underage level too, these are certainly exciting times for the club.
The Ballybofey United side which won the cup on Sunday was: Chris Patton; Ronan McMenamin; Gary Dunnion, Shaun McGowan, Niall McCloskey (Gavin Doherty 90 inj); Brian Lafferty, Neil Lloyd, Rory Dunleavy, Mark Griffin (Darragh Redmond 87); Alan Patton, Damien Glackin.