Kelvin victory brings Tullycarnet treble bid to an end
Kelvin OB 1-0 Tullycarnet
Kelvin OB dealt Tullycarnet the heaviest payback for defeating them in the finals of the Junior Shield and Cochrane Corry Cup, with a victory on Saturday that denies them their chance of Intermediate football next season.
In a rare quirk of the fixture schedule, the two clubs were thrown together for a series of four games within a fortnight that would define their respective campaigns. And with Tullycarnet having secured two trophies in their bid for an historic treble, Kelvin managed to hault that particular quest at the final hurdle.
Tullycarnet required at least a draw from this latest clash to take the Division 2A title race with St Oliver Plunkett to their last league game against Kelvin OB tonight, but in the end, walked away empty-handed.
And defeated joint manager Jimmy Birch, who had previously admitted that the title was the prize he, fellow bosses Stan Kinnier and Paul Campbell, and the rest of the club wanted most of all, simply stated: “We are disappointed. But this is football - you take the wins with the losses.
“It is hard to go and beat any team four times, and that is what we were looking to do. The boys battled today and hit the woodwork twice… there is only so much you can do.
“On behalf of Tullycarnet Football Club, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Oliver Plunkett on winning the 2A title - they are worthy winners.”
There were no trophies handed out on Saturday, of course, but Kelvin manager Michael Surgeon did admit this result helped soften some of the blow from their two previous cup final defeats and restored some morale in the process.
He told The Park: “It was important for us to beat Tullycarnet - we couldn’t keep getting beaten by them - but the fact is that it didn’t matter who we were playing. I am a professional, and played professional football, and I would have sent my team out to win, whoever it was against.
“Our aim is to get as high as we can up the league, and to get some pride back. I think we have achieved that today.
“Trust me, I would rather have had some silverware to show for ourselves at the end of the season. Tullycarnet may be hurting, but at least they have that.”
Both previous meetings between these two sides had been somewhat slow to get going, but it was a different story on this occasion, with both wanting to make an early impression from the outset.
In the first minute, David Hume sent a terrific forward pass up to James Gorman, but referee John McKnight ruled the latter offside, much to the visitors’ consternation.
Soon after this, Dylan Rodgers collected from William Gill, but his goal-bound shot was kicked clear by Jamie Black on the line.
The chances came thick and fast, but all were squandered. A 30-yard thumper from Kelvin’s Stephen Hislop flew well wide, a header from Tullycarnet’s James Gorman went over, while Stephen Brown volleyed high from James Gorman’s cross, when a header would have been the better option.
Rodgers was one of the biggest attacking threats for Kelvin and as he skipped through the opposition’s back-line midway through the first half, he was unfortunate to see his cross deflected out for a corner.
The hosts also showed themselves to be well-prepared at the back, and Barry Lavery underlined this, as he showed the confidence to rush all the way out of box to tackle James Gorman out on the wing as the last line of defence.
With the game so evenly poised, there was a real sense that the first goal would be crucial, and so it transpired. It arrived for Kelvin, just seconds before half time, with Richard Marks stooping to guide an angled header from a fine Gary Bingham corner into the Tullycarnet goal.
The double winners almost found themselves further behind in the 57th minute, by a carbon copy of the goal they had conceded, with Ryan Laverty to thank for tipping over Marks’ header from Gary Bingham’s corner this time.
Tullycarnet did show greater attacking intent, but two threatening free kicks from Colin Callacher weren’t met with the final touch they deserved.
The Moat Park side’s task was put even further out of reach in the 77th minute when last defender Jamie Black was sent off for bringing down Rodgers, and even though the numbers were levelled five minutes later, when Rodgers himself went the same way for a shove on Thomas Gorman, it was a task too far for Tullycarnet.
Not even a dramatic five minutes of extra time - in which James Gorman had a strong penalty claim waved away after going to ground under a William McAllister challenge, then was denied in a one-on-one with Lavery, as Ryan Spiers headed onto the bar and David Ferguson later swivelled to strike the post - could save them.
This was to be Kelvin’s day. And meanwhile, in West Belfast, new 2A champions St Oliver Plunkett were celebrating too.
Barry Lavery: An eye-catching performance. 9
Stephen Hislop: Usually first in a race for the ball. 8
Glen Booth: Kept things tight. 7
William McAllister: Strong in the air. 8
Colin McCullough: A defensive rock for Kelvin. 8
Gary Bingham: Found his team-mates well. 8
Eddie Williamson: A commanding forward presence. 8
Dylan Rodgers: Great individual skill. 9
William Gill: Did a quietly effective job. 7
Nicholas Surgeon: Decent contribution up front. 7
Richard Marks: Corners were spot on. 8
Glen Bingham: On for Booth, 55
Jason McDonagh: On for Surgeon, 86
Dean Wightman: On for McCullough, 90
Ryan Laverty: Couldn’t do much about the goal. 7
Paul Davis: A gutsy effort. 7
Jamie Black: Great at breaking down attacks. 8
David Ferguson: Won most 50-50s. 8
David Hume: Tough-tackling throughout. 8
Leon Campbell: A disciplined showing. 7
Thomas Gorman: A tenacious display. Never stopped. 8
Colin Callacher: Gave it his all. 8
James Gorman: Broke with pace. 8
Stephen Brown: Kept pressing for a way through. 7
Martin Winters: Worked hard for the ball. 7
Ryan Spiers: On for Brown, 67
Justin McCabe: On for Davis, 86
John Douglas: Not used
MAN OF THE MATCH: Barry Lavery (Kelvin OB) His confidence and purpose typified Kelvin’s attitude in this game.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The deciding goal… a Richard Marks header on the stroke of half time.
SAVE OF THE MATCH: Several contenders at both ends, but Lavery’s stop from James Gorman in injury time was the most crucial.
BLOOPER OF THE MATCH: It’s hard to say which red card was more needless - but neither truly effected the final outcome.