The crowds showed up on Saturday to see who would be promoted to the Men’s Premier League and Forest Killarney’s 60th anniversary dream came true as they defeated Manly Vale 4-1 and secured their spot in the top league.
Forest Killarney and Manly Vale took to Cromer Park 2 on Saturday ready to fight for the top position and it was not long before Forest Killarney proved that they were there to win.
It was an unbelievable start from Forest Killarney. 15 minutes into the match and Forest Killarney were 3-0 up.
Jamie King was first to put his name on the scoreboard. With a volley from the edge of the box that soared over the Manly Vale goalkeeper, Scott Peterson’s head. Manly Vale’s defence tried to clear it however it was too late with the assistant referee calling it over the line.
In quick succession James Silvas took the score to 3-0 by finding the back of the net twice.
Silvas’ first goal even took Forest Killarney coach Paul O’Shaughnessy’s breath away with O’Shaughnessy saying “wow, he took his goals like a professional player”.
The first goal had a strong finish around the keeper whilst the second goal came from a cross field ball from King.
Finding Silvas in space on the left side of the pitch, Silvas used his speed before he calmly slotted the ball into Manly Vale’s near post.
The next 30 minutes saw the battle rage on and as the half-time whistle blew Forest Killarney remained 3-0 in the lead.
“I gave praise at half time, and the boys deserved it. They were incredible in that first half, followed everything perfectly.” O’Shaughnessy said.
“However, we knew Vale would react.”
React they did. Manly Vale struck back with Benjamin Garness putting Manly Vale on the scoreboard and proving that the match was not over yet.
However, it was Hayden Waters who secured the 4-1 win for Forest Killarney. Waters controlled a pass from Luke Zaloumis on the chest before shooting into the bottom left of the net.
“It is one of the best feelings I have had in football as a coach and player. I am sure for a large number if not all the boys too.
“Forest Killarney means so much to a lot of people. The feeling I had, wasn’t for me at all. It was for my players, the people who love the club and bleed the green, and everyone who have watched their boys win a promotion final. It was a win for all of them.” O’Shaughnessy said.
This promotion wasn’t just any promotion for Forest Killarney either. After being relegated 10 years ago this will be Forest Killarney’s first year back in Premier League and on their 60th anniversary.
“As a club it’s our 60th anniversary, 10 years ago, it was our 50th anniversary and we got relegated.
“Approximately 50% of our squad are Forest juniors from the age of under 6’s. So, you can imagine the feeling when the job was done.”
Now Forest Killarney’s attention turns to preparing for their 2022 Premier League season and O’Shaughnessy is only turning up the intensity.
“I demand a lot from my players, I expect a lot from them, but I know the importance of hard work and commitment; without that, you have nothing.
“For me, it is competing and pushing for a top-half finish, and I am super positive we can do that with this group” O’Shaughnessy explained.
However, O’Shaughnessy is aware of the challenge ahead.
“I am under no illusion of how quality the prems division is. We will give them all respect, but over the next few seasons, we are not here to take part; we are here to take over.”
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the squad of players. My coaching team and I set the standards, but they must do the hard work, they were incredible, brave, and disciplined. I would like to thank them for making so many people connected with the club happy on the day and making history for FKFC.”