TIPPERARY TOWN 3 BALLYPATRICK FC 2
Tipperary Town came with a late rally to defeat Ballypatrick FC in an exciting Kelly Travel of Pallasgreen-sponsored Peter O’Reilly Cup Final before a packed house at Clonmel Celtic’s excellent facilities on the May Bank Holiday Monday evening.
Both these sides knew they would create club history by etching their name on this trophy for 3rd and 4th Division teams for the first time, so it was all out attack straight from the kick-off. After newly crowned 4th Division champions Ballypatrick had opened with a series of corner kicks they were a goal behind after 7 minutes when Jason Gallagher dispossessed defender Ricky Egan and produced the perfect cross for Tipperary Town’s top striker Michael Ellard to fire home. Ballypatrick responded to that early setback after 16 minutes when Tipperary Town failed to clear their lines following a corner kick and Willie Maunsell forced the ball home through a crowd of players to restore parity. The goalmouth action continued, with 4th Division runners-up Tipperary Town going close through Mark Flannery and Lee Dudley before Ballypatrick turned this tie on its head after 35 minutes when Philip Maunsell was taken down inside the area and from the resultant spot-kick Barry Kiely made no mistake.
Tipperary Town tried to reply but despite Ballypatrick ‘keeper Mark O’Brien failing to hold onto the slippery ball just before the half-time break, neither Steven Quinn nor Mark Flannery could capitalise on the chance.
The second half continued at a hectic pace, with Ballypatrick going close with efforts from Rory Kiely and Kevin Maunsell. The Tipperary Town tactic of Brian Glasheen sending free-kicks in on top of the defence was proving successful, as they forced Ballypatrick to concede a number of corner kicks. From one of those corners Town levelled it at 2-2 after 58 minutes when a near post set-piece by Mark Flannery saw Fergal O’Reilly force the ball home as he challenged the Ballypatrick ‘keeper.
Before Ballypatrick had an opportunity to reorganise Town struck again. Shortly after the hour mark a diagonal ball from Patrick Hickey saw Michael Ellard’s first- time effort from an very acute angle slip under the advancing ‘keeper to make it 3-2. It was backs to the wall for Tipperary Town over the final quarter as Ballypatrick tried to redeem the situation. Philip Maunsell had a shot skim past a post with the ‘keeper beaten, then Willie Maunsell was in on goal from a long clearance but he fired over the crossbar. In the final action of a very entertaining encounter it took a goal-line clearance by Town’s Brian Glasheen to stop Barry Kiely and then James Geraghty forcing extra-time.
To the delight of the large contingent of Tipperary Town supporters the Peter O’Reilly Cup was presented to captain Lee Dudley by sponsors Mike Kelly of Kelly Travel of Pallasgreen. Also in attendance were James O’Reilly, son of the late Peter, and his nephew and namesake Peter O’Reilly presented the man of the match award to Tipperary Town’s Michael Ellard.
Tipperary Town: M. O’Brien, P. Hickey, P. Lowry, F. O’Reilly, L. Dudley, P. Zietal, J. Gallagher, M. Flannery, B. Glasheen, M. Ellard, S. Quinn Subs: A. Hickey, D. Buckley, M. Glasheen, D. Whyte, J. Martin.
Ballypatrick FC: M. O’Brien, D. Madden, R. Egan, P. Whitley, K. Maunsell, J. Egan, P. Maunsell, N. Walsh, J. Geraghty, B. Kiely, W. Maunsell Subs: A. O’Reilly, D. McCarthy, K. Kiely, C. Brett.
Referee: John Walsh; Assistants: B. O’Donoghue, G. Ward.