Shamrock Celtic 2
icklow Town 2
Brendan Cox’s late equaliser clinched the Division 1 title for Wicklow Town as they came from behind at Finn Park on Sunday against Shamrock Celtic.
It was an historic game at Finn Park on Sunday afternoon for two reasons. After 11 years in the Wicklow League, Shamrock Celtic played their last game in the league, while Wicklow Town only needed a point to secure the Division 1 league title.
Not really an exciting game by all accounts but it didn’t need to be for Wicklow Town, a point was all that was needed. Town might have expected Celtic to sit back and not have much motivation to get a win, but this definitely wasn’t the case.
Town should have opened the scoring 15 minutes into the game. A run into the box by Reece Kelly was followed by sliding a ball across the goal line looking for the oncoming Aziz Koroma but Shamrock Celtic defender Brian Cornyn did well to clear the ball out of danger.
Town kept pushing and managed to break the deadlock in the 24th minute, a beautifully whipped in ball by Nicky Flood was met by the head of Dylan Kavanagh who nodded home. Wicklow Town had one hand on the league title.
The away side had multiple chances in the latter stages of the first half but just couldn’t find that second goal. Celtic, on the other hand, were lucky to be just one goal behind going in at the break.
A different Shamrock Celtic side came out in the second half, Paddy Woods and Darren Collopy were getting into dangerous areas and combining well to cause the Town defence some problems.
A free-kick from Craig Doyle in the 51st minute looked to be flying into the back of the net and Doyle curled the ball up and over the Wicklow Town wall, but goalkeeper Liam Connolly did very well to get a hand to the strike and push it around the post.
Town should have doubled their lead in the 58th minute when goal scorer Dylan Kavanagh floated an inviting ball into the penalty area picking out midfielder Shane Dunne, but Dunne couldn’t get his headed effort on target and nodded wide of the post.
Shamrock turned the game on its head in the 71st minute when they grabbed an equaliser, a curling corner-kick from Glen McCarthy flew into the back of the net when Wicklow Town keeper Liam Connolly failed to deal with the cross. Game on at Finn Park.
Celtic didn’t stop there and quickly took the lead, in the 85th minute Paul Conyard floated in a dangerous free-kick to the back post and picked out Darren Collopy who headed home with a brilliant diving header. A brilliant set-piece from the home side and a brilliant comeback from Shamrock in their last-ever league game in the Wicklow League.
It was squeaky bum time for Town, they needed at least a draw to lift the title. Brendan Cox was subbed on in response to the goal, and he made an instant impact. Cox took the ball right from the kick-off and made a brilliant run down the left wing before sliding the ball under Hodgkinson in the Celtic goal and into the bottom corner. Terrible defending from the home side but take nothing away from Cox who brought the game back in favour of Wicklow Town.
Shamrock pushed Wicklow Town right until the final whistle and had them pegged back deep into their final third, but ultimately it wasn’t enough, and Town held out for the win.
There was absolute joy at the final whistle for the away supporters who flooded the field to congratulate their side.
They did it the hard way, but they won’t care, Wicklow Town can add the Division 1 Wicklow League title to their ever-growing trophy cabinet back at Finlay Park.
Shamrock Celtic: 1. Michael Hodgkinson, 2. Brian Cornyn, 3. Stephen McGuiness, 4. Craig Doyle, 5. Colin Cassidy, 6. Paul Conyard, 7. Tom Kavanagh, 8. Glen McCarthy, 9. Paddy Woods, 10. Darren Collopy, 11. Michael Crowley.
Wicklow Town: 1. Liam Connolly, 2. Mark Whelan, 3. Callum Kelly, 4. Alan Delaney, 5. Jordan Sinnott, 6. Shane Dunne, 7. John Connors, 8. Reece Kelly, 9. Dylan Kavanagh, 10. Nicky Flood, 11. Aziz Korma. Subs: Brendan Cox for Nicky Flood (80), Rory Dowling for Alan Delaney (85).
Referee: Dominic Lachausse.