Clancy Cup final
Rampart Celtic 4-3 Bellurgan United
A very large crowd in Clancy Park were treated to a thriller on Saturday night as Rampart Celtic got their hands on the first piece of silverware in the Dundalk & District League.
In a game that swung from end to end throughout, it was Bellurgan who struck first in the 16th minute, Luke Higgins pouncing on a poor back pass to beat Ridwan Bodunrin in the Rampart nets.
It took until the 39th minute before Rampart got on even terms, Lee Wright was quickest to react when his stunning drive came back off the upright.
Bellurgan replied within a minute when Joe Needham headed home to put the peninsula side 2-1 up, a lead they took into the break.
The second half was 15 minutes’ old when Anthony Lines struck again from the most acute angle to beat Seán O’Hare to level the game once more.
Lines struck again eight minutes later, courageously driving in to slam home a ball on the six yard box to put Rampart ahead for the first time in the final. Unfortunately, he had to retire through injury soon after.
Disaster struck for Bellurgan subsequently when a mistake by ’keeper O’Hare was punished by Lee Wright to put Rampart 4-2 in front.
Undaunted Bellurgan hit back and it took some sterling defending by the outstanding Aidan McGuinness at the heart of Rampart rear-guard to deny them another goal, until five minutes from time when Joe Dunne swept home Bellurgan’s third goal to set-up a grandstand finish.
Though, the victors held out to collect their first trophy in the Dundalk League after 11 years of trying.
A piece of League history was written when Sarah Dyas became the first female referee to take charge of a Cup final after 112 years, since the League was founded in 1905/06 season.
Aidan McGuinness won the James Clarke Man of the Match award. The presentation were handed out by Terry Kelly, nephew of Jimmy Clancy.
The League would like to thank Quay Celtic for the use of Clancy Park and their sponsorship of the final.
Rampart Celtic: R Bodunrin, A Fallon, P Fee, D Azure, A McGuinness, S McQuillan, E Rodgers, D Sharkey, A Lines, L Wright, E Akinade, P O’Hagan, P Kloda, E McGuinness, O Amara, C Mullen, T Osobe, D Murphy
Bellurgan United: S O’Hare, J McArdle, C Lawson, S Finnegan, J Long, B Dunne, L Higgins, B McDonnell, J Needham, D Sharkey, S O’Brien, J Dunne, P Fisher, J Smyth, P Lynch, S McElvinney, T O’Connor, D Traynor
Referee: Sarah Dyas
In the last four ties, played during the week, Bellurgan saw off Quay Celtic 3-1, while Rampart saw off Redeemer on penalties, after a 5-5 draw.
SEE TUESDAY'S DUNDALK DEMOCRAT FOR FULL PICTURE COVERAGE