Bangor Hibs 3
McHale 18, 65, Noone 33
Partry Athletic 0
PREMIER ‘B’ Division leaders Bangor Hibs continued their rich vein of form at Milebush Park on Sunday, as they recorded a memorable victory and got their hands on some much-sought-after silverware.
Partry never got going in the Tuohy Cup decider, and last season’s Connacht Gold Cup semi-finalists will have been disappointed that their knockout pedigree failed them on this occasion.
The opening quarter produced little in terms of clear-cut chances, but the game sprang to life after 18 minutes as Bangor opened the scoring. Following some patient play, Brian McHale won possession and his daisy-cutter from the edge of the area flew past the beaten Barry Finnegan.
Bangor’s link-up play was beginning to pose problems for the Partry defence, as Seán Noone, McHale and Darren McManamon combined, but the latter failed to find the target.
Partry’s Neil Donnelly came to the rescue of his team-mates on 29 minutes, as he managed to divert McHale’s stinging free-kick over the crossbar, with the leather almost ending up in the back of the net, for what would have been an unfortunate own goal from the former.
The north Mayo men added a second goal on 33 minutes. A peach of a cross from Seán Ginty bypassed a static Partry defence, with Seán Noone in the right place to gleefully apply an accomplished finish.
Athletic almost fashioned a goal back six minutes later, when an inviting free-kick from Brian Donnelly found Kieran Hennessey, whose glancing header flashed agonisingly wide.
Damien McGreal’s charges continued to create chances during a mini-purple patch, with Jamie Wall firing over the crossbar.
Partry endured further misfortune in front of goal just before the break. Wall’s close-range effort forced a superb point-blank save from Michael Gaughan, who diverted the ball behind for a corner-kick.
Following the resumption there was a lull in proceedings, with a McHale free-kick the only chance of note during the opening quarter of the second half.
However, the result seemed inevitable when, after 65 minutes, Jimmy Flannery’s troops added a vital third goal, which effectively ended the game as a contest. A through ball was eagerly latched onto by the poaching McHale, who capitalised on a defensive mistake, before rounding Finnegan and coolly guiding the ball into the net.
Partry did their utmost to try and peg a goal back, with a free-kick from Brian Donnelly forcing Gaughan into a smart save on 70 minutes. At the other end, McHale almost added yet another hat-trick to his remarkable collection, but his free-kick clipped the upright.
A brave Partry continued to valiantly search for a consolation goal, but found a watertight Bangor defence refusing to wilt.
In the end, Bangor closed out proceedings impressively and at the sounding of the full-time whistle their supporters celebrated a cherished cup final victory at Milebush Park.
Perhaps this cup success could be the prelude to a double as table-toppers Bangor aim for the Premier ‘B’ title.
M Gaughan, S Murphy, S Ginty, G Sweeney, C Murphy, D McManamon, K Holmes, A Coyle, A Lavelle, B McHale, S Noone.
Subs used: M Doherty for Lavelle (60 mins); MJ Carey for Coyle (78 mins, inj).
B Finnegan, J Farragher, B Donnelly, D Bourke, N Donnelly, C Hennelly, J Wall, J Kennedy, K Hennessy, J P Sweeney, F Burke.
Subs used: P Maye for Sweeney (52 mins, inj); R Burke for Burke (64 mins), C Hickey for Hennessy (74 mins).
Referee: M Walsh