Saturday, May 11 2019 (Jackman Park)
Scorer: Christy Doyle 2
The top two sides in Div 1B, Newport Town & Hill Celtic contested the Calvert Cup Final in a sun-soaked Jackman Park on Saturday evening. The large crowd in attendance witnessed a cracking cup final between two very evenly-matched sides. Ultimately the game was decided by two great strikes from the division’s top scorer, Christy Doyle, to ensure that the trophy crossed the border to North Tipperary and will reside in Derryleigh Park for the next 12 months following a hard-earned 2-0 win.
Having played each other three times already this season, twice in the league and once in the Lawson Cup, with Newport wining the league encounters and Hill Celtic, the Lawson Cup tie, the teams were very familiar with one another and the opening stages of the game were tight with both sides probing each other. In the 19th minute Newport were awarded a free kick when James Lynch was fouled 30 yards from goal. Christy Doyle stepped up to take the free-kick and fired home with a well-struck shot, which beat Robert Power in the Hill Celtic goal, who was maybe put off by the bright sunshine he was facing into.
Just 3 minutes later, Hill Celtic were awarded a free kick on the right hand side of the box and it took a superb save from Harry Ryan to deny the Limerick side an equaliser. Hill Celtic stepped up the pressure on the Newport goal and in the 25th minute Newport managed to escape a goalmouth scramble from a corner. Just 2 minutes later Hill Celtic flashed in a dangerous low cross the box but thankfully there was no one on hand to get on the end of it.
Hill Celtic continued to dominate possession and push forward but the Newport rearguard, superbly marshalled by Christy O’Connor & Elliott Slattery soaked up the pressure. Unfortunately just before the interval, Davy Ryan had to be substituted and was replaced by Paul Ryan. On the stroke of half-time, Hill Celtic were once again denied a goal by a brilliant point-blank save from Harry Ryan. Newport took a one goal lead into the interval but Hill Celtic would have been disappointed not to have been on level terms. Newport were thankful for the opportunity to regroup and take a well-earned breather.
The early stages of the second half saw Hill Celtic continuing to dominate possession and again it was the Newport keeper who was being kept busy pulling off two more excellent saves in the 51st & 55th minutes. In the final quarter of the game, Hill Celtic had to push out more from the back as they went in search of a goal and this led to the game being more open and Newport were beginning to create some chances. In the 77th minute, Dave Kennedy replaced Kevin Connolly on the Newport side. The last 15 minutes of the game were very tense for both sets of supporters with both sides coming close on a number of occasions. In the 90th minute, Hill Celtic had a shot that looked destined for the top corner but it just grazed the top of the crossbar much to the relief of the Tipperary side and their supporters. When word came that there would be 4 minutes of injury time, there was a groan from the Newport support and the nail biting continued.
However 2 minutes into injury time, that man Doyle ensured the Newport victory, when superbly dispatching a low shot into the far corner after captain, Brian ‘Clemy’ O’Sullivan, broke away and released Doyle with a perfect pass. The sense of relief was palpable amongst the Newport support as it was now too late for Hill Celtic to deny us the victory.
Hill Celtic will probably feel that their efforts and performance deserved more from the game but credit has to go to Newport for taking their chances and defending superbly throughout the game. The large Newport crowd were delighted to see captain Brian O’Sullivan receive the Calvert Cup before the celebrations went on long into the night in O’Sullivan’s Bar and beyond.
It would be hard to single out any one player for Man of the Match but the general consensus was that it would have to be any one of Harry Ryan, who produced some great saves throughout the game, either of the two centre-halves, Christy O’Connor & Elliott Slattery, who defended as though their lives depended upon the result or Christy Doyle, who scored the two Newport goals and in the process brought his season’s tally up to 40.
The players & management would like to extend their sincere thanks for the incredible support they had at the cup final as it really helped them dig deep and get over the line.
It’s now back to league action, when Newport welcome already relegated Regional B to Derryleigh Park this coming Thursday at 6.30pm, knowing that a draw will be good enough to secure promotion. Hopefully another big crowd will be in attendance to get behind the lads.
Newport: Harry Ryan, James Lynch, Mark McGuire, Elliott Slattery, Christy O’Connor, Peter O’Sullivan, Davy Ryan, Sean Ryan, Christy Doyle, Kevin Connolly, Brian O’Sullivan (C)
Subs: Paul Ryan for Davy Ryan (45), Dave Kennedy for Kevin Connolly (77)
Unused Subs: Kevin O’Brien, Jack Noble, Jimmy Fyfe & Darren Collins.