Moyne Villa hit the jackpot in extra-time of Shield Final

Moyne Villa 3

Westport United 1

(After extra time)

By Mike Rafferty in Castlebar

WHEN Jason O’Reilly got his sixth goal of Moyne Villa’s Connacht Shield campaign, it gave them the perfect start in Sunday’s final in Castlebar, but they had to endure a lot of difficult moments before extra time goals by Dean O’Malley and Padraig Cunningham eventually settled the visitors’ nerves as they were crowned champions.

It was a good week for the Headford club. The previous Wednesday evening a 7-2 win over Corofin United clinched the runners up position in the Championship as they overtook West United and, in the process, they will be playing Premier Division football next season for the first time in 23 years.

After scoring 19 goals in five games enroute to the final, Moyne Villa knew they had goals in their armoury and it took them just over a minute to make a breakthrough. Indeed, they could have had about four more in the next few minutes, before Westport got over their early nerves as a young side began to play with style and confidence.

For the majority of the half, Westport gave the Galway side a lesson in playing the game, but for all their possession, only once did they punish Villa with a smartly taken equaliser just before the break.

Thereafter the game settled into a more balanced affair, although it was Moyne Villa who offered the greater threat in the last third of the park. Both sides made a number of changes, but this was something that aided Moyne Villa more as all their substitutes made a contribution. In contrast, a number of impressive performers left the park for Westport, but their replacements just did not contribute as much as there was nothing to separate the sides at the end of 90 minutes.

It was in the first half of extra time that Moyne Villa really imposed their authority on the game as two goals killed off the contest and while the Mayo side tried manfully to get back in contention, the task proved beyond them.

Now if ever a side wanted an early confidence boost then Moyne Villa got it just two minutes in with the opening goal. Jason O’Reilly flashed home a header following an Adam Barrett free kick for a 1-0 advantage.

In the following minutes, Padraig Cunningham fired just over, David Quinn had an effort that clipped the crossbar, while goalkeeper Gary Cunningham had to go full stretch to claw away a deflection off one of his own defenders. A Josh Greaney cross followed, but there were no takers to finish.

Pictured: The Moyne Villa team which overcame Westport United in the Connacht Shield Final at Milebush on Sunday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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