Pike Rvs won the first silverware of the season when they picked up the Jack Touhy Cup for the first time in five years beating arch rivals Janesboro in a highly entertaining game in Jackman Park on Friday evening (Jack Tuohy Cup Final - Pike Rovers 2 Janesboro 1)
Considering the prevailing conditions, both sets of players should be complimented for their efforts and what the incessant rain did to the standard in made up for in excitement.
We had three penalty kicks, two unsuccessful and plenty of meaty challenges to keep the vocal chords of both sets of supporters well used.
As is always the case between these two sides, the game could have gone either way but Pike just had the edge on their rivals, having come back from a goal down to win the tie. Colin Daly and Conor Kavanagh battled in out for man of the match for the winners while Janesboro’s John Mulready also had a superb 90 minutes.
The game was only a couple of minutes old when Eoin Hanrahan was denied by a point blank save from Mulready and the keeper was in action again to deny Jonathan Hannafin after Steven McGann split the defence.
Pike’s early pressure told after 12 minutes when Mike Ryan, while swinging to clear took down Hannafin and a spot kick was the result. Conor Kavanagh’s effort was well saved by Mulready before Jonathan Grant fired the rebound over the top.
An audacious effort from way out on the touch line by Shane Clarke had Gary Neville back peddling to stop on the line and the Boro striker tested the keeper again with a low skidding effort.
Janesboro took the lead on the half hour mark when Adrian Power’s corner was met by Clarke and his header went through the defence to the back of the net.
Pike responded well and were back on level terms before the break. Paddy O’Malley’s attempts to pick out Grant were thwarted by Steven Bradley but the Pike striker showed great resolve to win the ball back and from 25 yards out near the touchline he hit a wonder goal over the stranded Mulready to the back of the net.
Pike started the second half on the front foot and in a near repeat of the first half when Hannafin was fouled in the area another penalty kick was awarded. Despite missing one in the first half, no one was going to deny Kavanagh the chance to make amends and he did it in style blasting to the roof of the net to put Pike in front.
Twelve minutes later another penalty kick was awarded when Mike Ryan was fouled by Paddy O’Malley and everyone in the ground was sure we would have a tied game as Shane Clarke stepped up to take the kick but a rare, rare miss by the Boro striker left Pike off the hook.
Throwing caution to the wind, Boro started to pile on the pressure in search of an equaliser. An excellent save by Neville took the ball off the head of Clarke at the back post and Jason Mullins, newly introduced for the injured Wayne O’Donovan, headed off the line to deny Keith Mawdsley.
Another superb save by Mulready denied McGann while at the other end, a Niall Hanley volley whizzed agonisingly across the face of the Pike goal.
The last real chance fell to Pike when Shane Walsh broke free but a fine double save by Mulready kept him out but it proved pointless as the Hoops held out to win the coveted trophy for the eighth time.
Pike Rovers: Gary Neville; Wayne O'Donovan; Paddy O'Malley; Ian Fletcher; Conor Kavanagh; Colin Daly; Shane Walsh; Jonathan Hannafin; Eoin Hanrahan; Steve McGann; Jonathan Grant.
Subs: Jason Mullins; Evan Patterson; Eddie O'Donovan
Janesboro: John Mulready; Aidan Hurley; Danny O'Neill; Tom Clarke; Lee O'Mara; Mike Ryan; Steven Bradley; Niall Hanley; Adrian Power; Shane Stack; Shane Clarke.
Subs: Keith Mawdsley