A GOAL in either half saw Ormonde Villa taste glory in the Brendan Lonergan Under-16 Cup final, but they used up a few of their nine lives before getting their hands on the silverware.
The city side will be the first to admit that they lived on their nerves at stages in Sunday’s entertaining final in Derdimus. Villa were on the back-foot from kick-off, and could have found themselves in trouble as a rampant Callan created chance after chance.
Then, the game took a turn in Villa’s favour seven minutes from half-time. Gary Bryan stunned Callan when, unchallenged, he got his head to Shane Maher’s corner and sent a looping header crashing into the United net.
It was a goal that shook the boys in red and black, especially as they had looked certainties to open the scoring.
They almost made the perfect start, carving Villa open inside 60 seconds. Eoin Scriven had the chance when one-on-one with Ross Butler, but he shot straight at the ’keeper.
Pressing hard, Callan went close again when Robbie Kerwick’s clever ball sent Bissong Ayong sprinting through on the wing but he cracked his 15th minute shot wide.
Ayong had another bite at the cherry just two minutes later. This time he went even closer, holding off Tom Gleeson before unleashing a stinging shot, but the ball whistled just wide of Ross Butler’s left post.
That was the cue for Villa to come into the game. They began to wake up in attack, Cian Loy flashing a shot over the bar while Ormond Morrissey did well to get on Pat Clifford’s excellent 24th minute cross but he drilled his sidefoot shot straight at Dylan Roche.
Callan were rocked by the concession of that goal and struggled to find their early form again.
They had a chance when Ryan Bergin and Eoin Scriven - two of the team’s leaders on the day - combined to present Scriven with a chance, but his shot was well tipped over by Butler.
Villa were more composed in the second half, doing well to stifle Callan in midfield and prevent the opposition from threatening too much up top.
Callan began to work more opportunities as the game wore on, but for all their efforts they couldn’t find a leveller. Robbie Kerwick and Bríon Kirwan linked up well on the left, Kerwick taking a quick pass and flicking it goalwards, but his 65th minute effort was well held by Butler.
Still Callan pushed on, having another go when Kerwick got his head to Dylan Dunphy’s corner, but the flicked header flew over the bar.
Callan continued to press and probe, but were finally undone by an Ormonde Villa sucker-punch five minutes from time.
Cutting out a Callan header, Shane Maher split United open with a teasing ball for sub Robbie Buckley to chase.
Springing the offside trap, Buckley kept his cool. Drawing Roche from his line, Buckley waited for the ’keeper to make his move before deftly chipping him to wrap up the title.
Ormonde Villa: Ross Butler, Robbie Murphy (Jim Dullard, 61 mins), Tom Gleeson, Gary Bryan, Robbie O’Driscoll, Shane Maher, Charlie Deegan, Cian Loy, Fin Dowling (Robbie Buckley, 52 mins), Ormond Morrissey (Namul Hussain, 46 mins), Pat Clifford (Sean Bolger, 76 mins).
Callan United: Dylan Roche, Matthew Lowth, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Eoin Scriven, Lee Doheny, Dylan Kavanagh, Bissong Ayong (Lewis Murray, 52 mins), Bríon Kirwan, Robbie Kerwick, Ryan Bergin, Dylan Dunphy (Luke Komer, 72 mins).
Referee: James Nolan. Linesmen: Pat O’Connor, Ollie Falsey.