St Michael’s Cup v Mayfield United in Slatty Park on Saturday 4th March 2006
Carrigtwohill United 0 Mayfield United 1

Mayfield United, pipped in last season’s thrilling final by Ballintotis, are back at the Cross again in the decider of the Murphy’s Stout St Michael’s Cup. Their rock solid defence, featuring ex Cork City ace Fergus O’Donoghue, gave little away at Slatty Park in last Saturday’s semi-final. On the other hand, the Carrig backs yielded up a soft late goal and Graham Payne’s three yard strike was enough to put the city team through.

A pretty hard pitch and a strongish wind didn’t help matters as this game fell well below expectations. There were few enough chances all through and a penalty shootout looked on the cards until Payne rocked Carrig in the 81st minute. Carrig had their chances to clear but dithered. Still it seemed there was little danger as Derrick Nolan shielded the ball from Trevor Aherne. But Aherne stuck out a long leg and knocked the ball across the six yard box and Payne strained to make the vital touch.

The home team really have only themselves to blame after losing this tense encounter. They had the better of the first half chances and came quite close in the 15th minute when a cracking 30 yard drive by Ian Kenny flew just over Brian Ramsell’s crossbar. Carrig, with the cold wind behind them, had a slight edge, though Mayfield were on top around the mid point of the half but three corners in fairly quick succession yielded nothing.

The visitors had minor player Ian Murphy in their ranks upfront and he almost benefited from hesitancy by Carrig keeper Adrian Kidney in the 32nd minute. A ball from midfield by Aherne tempted the keeper off his line but he didn’t come strongly enough and Murphy beat him to the touch but the touch was a shade too strong and the forward lost the chance. Carrig’s best opportunity of the game came in the 38th minute and followed a good move. Steve Kidney fought hard to get the ball away from O’Donoghue and laid it back to Davy Barry. He hit a cross low along the 18 yard line. The incoming midfielder Mick Fitzgerald stepped over it but Niall Kidney’s shot was much too weak and easy for Ramsell.

Carrig would never have as good a chance in this game. Mayfield had a slight edge in the second half but seemed to lose their way as full time approached and the tie looked like going to extra time until that man Payne delivered the close range knockout blow.

Tony Carroll, who manages the Mayfield side along with Declan Keane, was delighted. They were in charge too last season when the city team were pipped on penalties by Ballintotis after a thrilling final. “We needed that win,” said Tony. “Our season had begun to drift. The victory will boost it. It is great to get back to the Cross and we’ll hope to go one better than last season. “

“Midfielder Graham Payne was the man of the match from our point of view and he also got the goal. We gave them nothing at the back. Our regular left back Johnny Buckley was missing today but isn’t it great to be able to bring in ex Cork City star Fergus O’Donoghue in his position. I thought Sean Madden and Paul Keegan were excellent in the heart of our defence.”

Jimmy Nolan, the disappointed Carrigtwohill manager, summed it up neatly. “It was a tense game, one of few chances, and we gave away a stupid goal.”

Carrigtwohill United: Adrian Kidney, Mark Nolan, Derrick Nolan, Derek Healy, Ian Kenny, Davy Barry, Stephen Dineen, Michael Fitzgerald, Niall Kidney, Steven Kidney and Shane Kennedy. Subs: Shane Harte, Sean Buckley, Conor Healy and Jason Daly.

Mayfield United:  Brian Ramsell, O’Mahony, O’Donoghue, Keegan, Madden, O’Sullivan, Payne, Lehane, Saville, Aherne and Murphy. Subs: Cillian Burns for O’Donoghue (82nd minute), Ian Wills, Molzberger and Kevin Ramsell.

Referee: Tom Tully.

Match report and photos by Billy Lyons Cork AUL