Bessbrook United retain AOH Cup
A large crowd turned out to witness Bessbrook Untied retain the AOH Cup on Friday night with a 4-1 over Kilkeel Athletic. The sending off of Kilkeel’s Liam Rooney early in the second half was the turning point as at this stage they had led the game 1-0. The advantage of the extra man along with the strong wind in the second half enabled Bessbrook to dominate the remainder of the final.
Kilkeel got off to a great start on two minutes when Kyle Morris kept his nerve to round the ‘keeper and roll the ball into the empty net. Declan Carville then came close to equalising midway through the first half when he beat two defenders but miscued his shot.
Towards the end of the half, ex Down GAA star John Clarke almost doubled Kilkeel’s lead, but his free kick cannoned off the bar and was cleared to safety.
Two minutes into the second half arguably Kilkeel’s most influential player Liam Rooney was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Referee Collie McLaughlin was left with no choice but to issue him with a second yellow card for a handball. Kilkeel were up against it now, fighting with ten men and against a ferocious wind.
Desperation tactics were deployed by Kilkeel as Bessbrook threw everything at their defence but 18 minutes into the second half the inevitable happened. Man of the match Declan Carville eluded two defenders before calmly slotting the ball home to level affairs. Minutes later, following a goal mouth scramble, the ball was cleared to Carville who majestically lobbed the ball over two defenders on the goal line and into the back of the net.
Bessbrook continued to dominate. Ben Treanor was marshalling the defence well, Gareth Hughes was dominating the midfield while Philly Hughes was doing everything but score up front. Kilkeel were finding it nearly impossible to break out of their own half. Gareth Hughes increased Bessbrook’s advantage on 72 when he escaped the attentions of his marker and headed the ball home.
Mark Patton scored Bessbrook’s fourth on 76 minutes when his header deflected off the ‘keeper and into the net. Kilkeel had McAstocker to thank for limiting Bessbrook to four although substitute Peter Markey might well have done better when he spurned a good opportunity near the end.
The appointment of Tommy Mooney as manager seems to have really kicked Bessbrook into gear and on this form it would take a brave man to bet against them going on and winning the league title.
A special thanks must go to John Patton for providing the photos.
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