The St Michael’s squad and management team pictured celebrating their Tipperary Cup final success (2-1) over Clonmel Town on Saturday evening at Cooke Park.
St Michael’s added another chapter to their extraordinary season on Saturday evening at Cooke Park in Tipperary Town when the side managed by James Walsh collected their fourth trophy of the season - this time the Saints won the Tipperary Cup final. St Michael’s beat Clonmel Town in the decider (2-1) and celebrated on the pitch afterward with all four trophies won by the Tipperary South & District League club (the Tipperary Cup, TSDL Premier Division trophy, Munster Champions Trophy and the Munster Junior Cup). And, St Michael’s still have the FAI Junior Cup final to look forward to.
Tipperary Cup Final
St Michael’s 2-1 Clonmel Town
To be fair Clonmel Town found themselves at a severe disadvantage on Saturday evening - they were lacking in match practice against a St Michael’s outfit who were absolutely mad for road. That said Town worked hard and made life as difficult as possible for the Saints before giving their hosts a real fright when Keith Cashman struck for a breakaway goal against the run of play with fourteen minutes of normal time remaining.
Over the course of the game, however, St Michael’s proved themselves the more accomplished side and probably deserved to win by more.
The Saints took the lead in the tenth minute - following a foul on Jimmy Carr Shane Ryan swung in a left-footed delivery from the right flank and Richie Ryan headed home at the far post.
Clonmel Town elected to defend deep and although St Michael’s had all the time in the world to work through their phases of play and pick their passes the visitors to Cooke Park coped reasonably well until the 28th minute when John O’Brien sparked a sensational attack; O’Brien strode forward, played a one-two with Shane Ryan and then set up Willie Armshaw. Cruelly, Armshaw’s curling effort found the right hand post.
Four minutes before the break Jimmy Carr played in Shane Ryan, but Clonmel ‘keeper Dylan Guiry performed the first of a series of top class saves.
Clonmel Town looked physically shattered as they walked off the field at the break and the pace of the game was starting tell early in the second half when Shane Ryan was allowed to take four touches on the ball in the opposition box before turning and thundering in a shot - Ryan’s effort was saved by Guiry in the 51st minute.
The visitors came awful close to scoring a goal of their own in the 53rd minute when Dylan Walsh’s corner picked out the head of Paul Shanahan and the Saints’ Derek Breen was required to make a save.
St Michael’s settled back down to their work and in the 58th minute Ollie O’Driscoll and Jimmy Carr failed to get a telling touch on Willie Armshaw’s tempting cross. There was no need to be too concerned, however, as two minutes later Armshaw was fouled, Shane Ryan swung in another left-footed in-swinger from the right and Johnny Kennedy headed home (2-0).
Seconds later the Saints fell asleep and were very nearly punished when Keith Cashman played in Richie Crowe, but the winger lifted his shot over the bar.
Jimmy Carr and Seán Paddy Guerins came close to adding to the St Michael’s tally soon after before Keith Guiry conjured an absolute moment of magic in the 76th minute - Guiry swivelled in the middle of the field and in the blink of an eye picked out the enterprising run of Keith Cashman; with the offside trap sprung Cashman raced through, rounded the ‘keeper and slotted home (2-1).
With nine minutes to play Shane Ryan dispossessed a defender inside the Clonmel Town box, but ‘keeper Dylan Guiry conjured an amazing reaction save to deny the Saints’ midfielder. Two minutes later Guiry save once more, this time from John Connery while Adrian Cleere did very well to make a nuisance of himself in the 85th minute when Connery looked certain to score.
Clonmel Town created the final goal-scoring opportunity of the evening when Dylan Guiry’s kick-out found Keith Guiry in the middle of the field - Keith Guiry picked out Jamie Ahearne who, in turn, played Jack Burke through on goal and although Burke got his shot away Derek Breen made a comfortable save.
St Michael's progressed to the Tipperary Cup final following a 6-0 last four away win over the Peake Villa B team. In the first round St Michael's saw off the challenge of Cashel Town B (5-0) before accounting for Peake Villa (4-1), but in the quarter-finals Bansha Celtic managed to trouble St Michael’s. The contest finished nil-all before the Saints won a sudden death penalty shoot-out 4-3.
St Michael’s were officially crowned Tipperary South & District League Premier Division champions for the fourth year in succession following a comprehensive win over Tipperary Town on Tuesday, April 16. The Saints have already completed the league double over Clonmel Celtic, Clonmel Town, Vee Rovers, Cahir Park, Tipperary Town, Peake Villa and Old Bridge while their only defeat of the season materialized away to Bansha Celtic. The Saints' remaining league game is at home against Bansha Celtic.
MUNSTER JUNIOR CUP
St Michael's beat the mighty Pike Rovers in the recent Munster Junior Cup final - the Saints took the lead thanks to Jimmy Carr, but Rovers hit back to force extra-time (1-1) before the game was decided on penalties (4-3).
An Olly O'Driscoll strike propelled St Michael's into the club’s 11th Munster Junior Cup final - in the last four of the prestigious competition the Saints beat Geraldines (Limerick District League) 1-0. In the quarter-finals St Michael's made the trip to Limerick to take on and beat Kilmallock United (4-1). In the fifth round the Tipperary South & District League champions hosted and beat Cork outfit Lakewood Athletic 3-1. The Saints also beat Carrick United B (2-0), Clonmel Town (4-1), Cahir Park (3-0) and Wilderness Rovers (2-0).
St Michael’s have now won the Munster Junior Cup for a record ninth time - the Saints previously won the Munster Junior Cup in 1973, 1990, 1991, 2001, 2005, 2011, 2014 and 2016.
MUNSTER CHAMPIONS TROPHY
On April 21 at Newhill Park in Two-Mile-Borris an outstanding display from goalkeeper Adrian Walsh helped to propel St Michael’s to a Munster Champions Trophy final win over Newmarket Celtic. Following a physical encounter (full-time: 1-1) the Saints edged a penalty shoot-out with Johnny Kennedy firing home the decisive spot kick.
Previously in the competition (which pits all of the respective junior league champions in the province against one another) St Michael's accounted for Abbeyfeale United (2-0) and Carrick United (5-0).
St Michael’s previously won this prestigious trophy in 2014.
FAI JUNIOR CUP
St Michael's are, of course, also expecting to pit their wits against competition kingpins Sheriff YC in the FAI Junior Cup final - the contest was recently postponed due to the fact that Aisling Annacotty (Sheriff YC's semi-final opponents) have lodged an objection.
The Dublin side saw off the challenge of Aisling Annacotty (1-0) in their respective semi-final and are chasing their fifth title in eight seasons. Sheriff YC won the New Balance-sponsored FAI Junior Cup in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017 while the Dublin outfit also appeared in the 2015 decider.
St Michael’s qualified for the final of the FAI Junior Cup thanks to a 2-0 semi-final win over Glengad United at Cooke Park in Tipperary town. The last four clash proved a tense affair before goals from Jimmy Carr and Joey Mulcahy (penalty) booked the Saints a place in the decider.
The last eight in the competition pitted St Michael's against the might of Evergreen in Kilkenny and the Saints prevailed on a 1-0 scoreline. In the last sixteen St Michael's beat Mervue United 2-1 while this outstanding Saints team saw off the challenge of last season’s semi-finalists Newmarket Celtic (Clare & District League) in the last thirty-two (2-0). Previous to that encounter St Michael's beat Leitrim's Manorhamilton Rangers (2-1), Tipperary Town (7-0), Old Bridge (10-0) and Mullinahone FC (6-0).
St Michael’s previously won the FAI Junior Cup in 1974 and 2014.
St Michael’s: Derek Breen, Christopher Higgins (captain), John O'Brien, Seán Paddy Guerins, Jonathan Kennedy, Richard Ryan, Jimmy Carr, Shane Ryan, Oliver O'Driscoll, Joey Mulcahy, William Armshaw. Subs: (63rd) John Connery for Joey Mulcahy, (68th) David Slattery for Oliver O'Driscoll, (88th) David Joyce for William Armshaw. Remaining squad members: Adrian Walsh, DJ Cremins, Paul Breen, Rodrigo Concalves, Colin Bargary, Eoghan Tinkler, Russell Quirke, Danny O'Brien & David Kelly. Management: The St Michael’s team is managed by James Walsh (manager), John Cremins (assistant manager & coach), Michael Byrne (coach) and physios Thomas Holmes & Pearse Foley.
Clonmel Town: Dylan Guiry, Conor O'Sullivan, Stephen Kelly, Adrian Cleere, Paul Shanahan, Keith Browne, Richie Crowe, Jamie Ahearne, Keith Cashman, Keith Guiry, Dylan Walsh. Subs: (65th) Jack Burke for Dylan Walsh, (74th) Seán Leahy for Conor O'Sullivan.
Referee: Ger Ward.
To keep up to date with all the sporting news in Tipperary please click here - to follow the Tipperary Star sports team on twitter please click here - to follow sports editor Brian McDonnell on Twitter please click here. Alternatively, you can also like the Tipperary Star on Facebook.