Killarney 1 – 0 Terrigal
An extremely intense, close contest with very few chances saw Killarney break a two-year Grand Final losing streak, walking away 1-0 victors to be crowned the 2023 MPL First Grade Premiers.
The opening stages of the fixture saw both teams set up well organised, and even from the final whistle it felt like a single moment could decide the result of the final.
Goal-scoring opportunities would be hard to come by for the two evenly-matched sides inside the initial 45 minutes. Terrigal had the better run of play but their best chance of the half was denied by the crossbar.
The remaining half chances Terrigal were able to produce in the first period were met by a resolute Killarney defence that ensured both teams would enter the halftime break with the score locked at 0-0.
The second period started playing out exactly as the first, both teams rarely created any goal-threatening chances when going forward. In defence, Killarney and Terrigal proved why they had two of the best defences in the league as any real danger was dealt with swiftly and quickly.
With the game still in the balance, a penalty was given to the League Champions as Killarney’s veteran attacker Tim Knight stepped up and confidently converted to put his side in the lead.
Terrigal responded well and continued to try and push in hopes of finding an equaliser but an extremely resilient Killarney defence kept the O’lads at bay time and time again.
Terrigal finally found their chance to draw level when they were awarded a penalty of their own in the late stages of the game. However, it was not meant to be for Terrigal on this day as captain Jai McNamara’s effort from the spot was expertly saved by Declan Drake and Terrigal’s chance to get back in the game was gone.
It was a very tight final with limited chances. In the end, a single penalty was all that was needed as the final whistle was blown and Chris Ackerley’s Killarney were victorious.
After coming up short in all three grades, Pete Edwards reflected on this past Saturday. “It was a very tough day for us overall, losing all three finals by one goal and having numerous penalty calls not given our way in all the games. It seemed it was just not going to be our day.”
“We really didn’t feel like we had any luck with the refereeing on the day, but then I also know you have to create your own luck and today I think we needed to be more brave in moments and play the football we have been trying to play to win.”
Pete also extended his congratulations to Saturday’s victors. “Well done to Chris and Killarney on a great season.”
Killarney’s Chris Ackerley also spoke on the opposition and the close contest. “It was an extremely cagey match with Terrigal playing a gameplan they thought would deliver them the result.”
“We were very disciplined and patient with our shape defensively being outstanding on the day.”
“Nice to win the Grand Final but more pleasing to have won the League Championship for the seventh consecutive time,” voiced a proud Ackerley.
Match Official – Anthony Kabbout
All Grand Final Results –