Green party for Auld
Shillelagh make ‘history’ by winning Challenge Cup
15 March, 2019 — By Steve Barnett
Auld Shillelagh FC celebrate after beating Badu FC to win the Camden Sunday League Challenge Cup
THE cheers could be heard ringing across Hackney Marshes when jubilant players from Auld Shillelagh FC got their hands “on history” by once again lifting the Camden Sunday League Michael McElligott Challenge Cup.
The triumphant team from Stoke Newington won the trophy for the second time in four years when they beat Badu FC 4-2 in a transfixing encounter on the main show pitch.
No sooner had they lifted the silverware than player-manager Nathan Bonnar was sharing his hopes of hanging on to the prestigious prize.
“It’s fantastic to win the Challenge Cup again. It’s the biggest cup going in the Camden Sunday League,” he beamed.
“To win a trophy that has been around for over 70 years is an amazing feeling – it’s a real part of history and could end up in the Museum of London one day, so we are delighted.
“It will take pride of place behind the bar at the Auld Shillelagh on Stoke Newington Church Street, for a least a year, but we hope longer.”
In blustery and wet conditions at Hackney Marshes last Sunday, March 3, Shillelagh took the lead midway through the first half. Captain Bonnar set the tone for the match, winning possession on half-way with a strong tackle as Badu looked to break with speed. Moments later the two frontmen in green combined, with Nick Brice nudging the ball through for top scorer Frankie Thorogood to chip the keeper from close range and bag his 12th goal of the season.
Shillelagh weathered the positive response from Badu and extended their lead before the break. Richard Gadd yet again capitalised on Oliver Malmed’s perfect delivery from a corner to plant a trademark header beyond the keeper. It’s the third time this season that the two players have combined from setpieces.
Shillelagh had the chance to extend their lead early in the second half when Thorogood was brought down in the area. The chance was squandered, however, as the Badu keeper dived low to his left to deny Thorogood his second goal of the afternoon.
Then came a moment of magic that every cup final needs. Winger Adam Clarke drifted inside to collect the ball and drove towards goal, showing great acceleration to evade defenders before arrowing a rasping drive into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Badu would not accept defeat and pulled a goal back through Steven Miller, who showed great composure in front of goal to rifle in from close range. But Joe Bell quickly silenced the sizable Badu support with a low snapshot from the edge of the box to put the game beyond doubt.
Badu kept going until the closing moments and pulled another goal back through Miller, but the day belonged to Auld Shillelagh. Their midfielder Hugh Broughton was crowned man of the match after putting in a relentless display in the centre of the park.