National Cup v Bunratty United in Town Park, Schull on Saturday 7th October 2017
Bunratty United 1 Carrigtwohill United 2
Scores: Robert Adam, Alex Canty

The National Cup is an open draw competition which can throw up some interesting fixtures. It was with some interest and excitement that Carrigtwohill learnt that they were to face Bunratty United from Schull in the second round – so this fixture was as much about the occasion as it was the soccer as the lads were all looking forward to the trip.

The team bus left Carrigtwohill at 11am and after stopovers for lunch and to wander around Schull for a while, they arrived to a welcome from Bunratty United who were very gracious host for the day. A squad of 19 players made the trip, but the team selection was somewhat unusual with a defensive formation designed to restrict the hosts and grow into the match. This worked very well for the opening 20 minutes, with Sean DeBurca in particular, playing in a sweeping role, marshalling the defence.

Except for a goal-saving tackle from Ebe Imoh, Carrigtwohill were reasonably comfortable at the back and threatening on the break as Evan Donnelly came close on two superb through ball but it was no score at half-time. The town park pitch on high ground must be one of the most scenic soccer pitches in the county seemingly cut into the West Cork terrain with a mountainous backdrop. However, despite the best efforts of the hosts, the quality of the pitch was poor with ground conditions very soft and a slope into one end.

The match cranked up a notch in the second half and it was Carrigtwohill who were now making all the running. Playing a more attack minded 4-3-3 they created several chances before Robert Adam opened the scoring with another one of his wonder-goals – a strike from about 40 yards into the top right corner of the net – a super strike.

The Bunratty side were a formidable outfit and played a direct style of football. They coped much better with the soft slippy conditions which were causing Carrigtwohill to concede uncharacteristic frees and sure enough that is how their equaliser arrived with a neat headed finish.

The winner was scored by Alex Canty with a neat finish inside the box with 15 minutes to play – but Bunratty were not going to go down without a fight an absolutely threw the kitchen sink at Carrigtwohill for the final 10 minutes with several  near misses. The closing minutes were tense and gripping but Carrigtwohill held out for a memorable Cup win. The bus trip home was very enjoyable with a stop-over in Bandon for something to eat and the muddy players arrived home exhausted.

Normally a match write up will concentrate on soccer but it was Carrigtwohill’s battling qualities that won the day. All 15 players who played gave every ounce of commitment in heavy muddy conditions. The work and effort required to run and chase for 80 minutes of football in these conditions is not to be underestimated – well done to all

Thanks to Bunratty for the hospitality and refreshments after the match

Player of the Match; Darragh Hoare