Carndonagh hold onto the cup with 82nd-minute goal
First-time finalists Midleton CBS go home empty-handed despite stubborn effort
Carndonagh Community School celebrate following their victory over Midleton CBS in the FAI Schools Dr Tony O’Neill Senior National Cup Final. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Jack Doherty’s 82nd-minute finish helped Carndonagh Community School to retain the Dr Tony O’Neill Senior National Cup at Home Farm FC on Wednesday afternoon.
Despite the stubborn resistance of first-time finalists Midleton CBS, the Donegal men held out to claim back-to-back titles – and their third in just four seasons.
Led superbly by former Republic of Ireland schools international Kieran Farren, Carndonagh went close through centre-forward Luke Rudden in the early exchanges. Even though Matthew O’Reilly fired marginally past Pádraig O’Donnell’s goal on 21 minutes, Martin Cavanagh’s charges were posing numerous questions for the Midleton defence.
Following hesitancy by opposition skipper Arthur Nganou, Mikey Friel had an effort cleared off the line. The Leeside netminder subsequently came to his side’s rescue just shy of the half-hour mark, turning Kieran Farren’s attempt behind for a corner.
A long-distance Stack drive was superbly tipped over by O’Donnell in the dying stages of the opening period – ensuring the sides remained on level terms at the break. Midleton ramped up the pressure on the resumption, before Carndonagh got themselves back on the front-foot.
Friel marginally pulled a shot past the target and Rudden later produced a fine save from the outstretched fingertips of Nganou. With neither side possessing a clinical edge in attack, the spectre of extra-time was beginning to loom large.
This was until Doherty stepped forward to ultimately determine the outcome of the contest. The industrious midfielder ghosted into the Midleton area, heading a telling delivery into the bottom right-hand corner.
CARNDONAGH COMMUNITY SCHOOL: O’Donnell; McLaughlin, Harkin, O’Donnell, Doherty (Logue 58); Farren, Doherty; Friel, McBride, McClure; Rudden (McCarron 85).
MIDLETON CBS: Nganou; O’Halloran, O’Riordan, Collins, Ahern; Stack, Duggan; Cunningham (O’Hanlon 80), O’Reilly, Whalley; Nguefang.
Referee: Derek Carey (DDSL).