Ballybofey United celebrate winning the Brian McCormick Cup
Ballybofey United are celebrating a first Brian McCormick Cup success following a hard earned victory over Rathmullan Celtic in Dry Arch Park, Bonagee.
BALLYBOFEY UNITED …………...1
Full-back Niall McCloskey scored the only goal four minutes from the end of normal time to finally end a barren harvest of Cup success, that dated back to 1979.
The Finn Valley club’s last major Cup success was in the old IAWS Cup, when they defeated Letterkenny Rovers 3-1 in a replay.
The winners, despite having played two divisions below Rathmullan, were the better team over the 90 plus minutes. Rathmullan, last winners of the Brian McCormick Cup in 2013, are a Donegal Junior League Premier Division side.
Ballybofey United were promoted at the end of the season, having played in Division Two of the Donegal League season just completed.
Well organised and playing with great purpose, Ballybofey looked like a side on a mission from the off.
Mark Griffin drew a good save from Mark Gallagher in the Rathmullan goals as early as the first minute.
All of the best chances fell to the men from the Twin Towns in the opening 45 minutes with Rory Dunleavy and Griffin again going close to breaking the deadlock.
With full-back J P Doran performing heroics as he took a Griffin tap in off the line.
Rathmullan, who were playing into a stiff breeze, were under the cosh for most of opening period and were confined to sporadic raids with a couple of half chances.
The best of these fell to player manager Darragh Patton, but Chris Patton in the Ballybofey goals was equal to it and saved comfortably.
The game in the first half had an edge to it and Ballybofey’s Rory Dunleavy and Ronan McMenamin picked up yellow cards. Rathmullan’s Alan Boal was shown a yellow card in the second.
Rathmullan, with the driving wind and heavy rain sprinkled with a hail shower in their backs on the resumption, enjoyed their best spell in the opening ten minutes of the second period.
But the well marshalled Ballybofey defence held firm and the winners began to assert their authority as the game entered the final quarter.
And Damien Glackin, Shaun McGowan and Brian Lafferty went close before McCloskey’s wonder strike settled it.
The goal, from a Lafferty free into the Rathmullan box which was headed clear, fell to the feet of Glackin, who laid it back to McCloskey.
And from 30 yards the full-back found the top right corner for a super goal to finally clinch the long awaited Cup success and complete a wonderful league and cup double.
For the record Noel McGowan, the team captain, scored two of the goals and Danny Rouse the other in that 1979 IAWS Cup success.
BALLYBOFEY UNITED: 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.
RATHMULLAN CELTIC: Mark Gallagher; JP Doran, David Miller, Alan Boal, James Gallagher; Kevin Doran, James McCahill (Ryan Connolly 58), Eoin Sheridan, Dara Patton; Niall Carruthers, Gavin O’Donnell (Jude Patton 87).
REFEREE: Mick Lagan.