Rossas delight at winning South West C football title
By Cois Farraige
T. MacCárthaigh ....................................1-2
'THIS is better than an All-Ireland final,' shouted one of the delighted Rossa subs as they rushed onto the pitch to congratulate their team-mates following their emphatic win in this entertaining junior C football final.
Ballydehob on a wet and dreary Saturday night, under lights, may have been a long way from the glamour of Croke Park but this win was indeed a welcome one to a club which has been deprived of adult honours for some time now.
One has to go all the way back to the early eighties to find the last time Rossas won this C football title and we have no doubt the celebrations went on late into the night and were in keeping with the Halloween festivities.
Fielding a combination of lively youngsters and experienced veterans, Rossas always looked the more likely winners against a Caheragh side which had their chances, especially in the first half, but which was forced to play second fiddle for most of the second moiety after Rossas had struck for a vital second goal shortly after the break.
Rossas first goal had also come very early in the first half when veteran corner forward, Michael O'Donovan, was on hand to usher the ball to the net after the hop had deceived the goalkeeper.
To their credit, with Liam O'Donovan, Michael Kingston and Ollie Lynch doing well in defence, James Herlihy and Shane Collins winning ball at midfield, and Ivan Kingston, Padraig Crowley and Kieran Daly looking sharp in attack, Caheragh fought back well after conceding that early goal, but were guilty of missing some good chances.
Scores were hard to come by on the slippery surface but in the 12th minute Caheragh were awarded a penalty and Padraig Crowley confidently converted the kick to tie the scores.
A feature of the first half was the titanic clash of the experienced giants at midfield, James Herlihy for Caheragh and Donal 'Strawberry' McCarthy for Rossas, and one thundering tackle had everybody shuddering.
With McCarthy beginning to get the upper hand, well assisted by the impressive Mark Collins at centre back and John 'Blondie' Hodnett at centre forward, Rossas hit the front with a point from James Reen and, following a marvellous four-man move, Hodnett increased the lead to two.
There was little between the sides in the second quarter with Rossas looking livelier but Caheragh coping well in defence. Padraig Crowley pointed a free to close the gap to the minimum but Rossas had the last say of the half when outstanding corner back Noel Collins was up in attack to kick a fine point. It was 1-3 to 1-1 at the break.
The most vital score of the game came in the 34th minute when Andy Hodnett, very active on the wing, had a shot parried by the Caheragh goalie and John Paul Reen was on hand to finish to the net. It was the restart that Caheragh needed but Rossas received and from there to the end they were firmly in control.
Mick 'Strawberry' McCarthy lorded the square, well flanked by lively corner backs, Mike Coakley and Noel Collins, in front of reliable keeper, Ryan Price, and there was never any real danger that the Caheragh forwards were going to claw back a five-point deficit.
As the rain came down Rossas stretched the lead with points from John Hodnett, free, and sub, Seán Brosnan, before Padraig Crowley kicked Caheragh's only point of the half.
Only a single point, from impressive Rossa sub, John Hayes, was registered in the last quarter as Rossas comfortably soaked up the sporadic Caheragh raids and the enthusiasm of the players kept the rain-soaked attendance entertained.
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the very last play of the game when Caheragh's Gary O'Driscoll cut in behind the Rossa defensive but his point-blank shot was spectacularly smothered by Rossa goalie Ryan Price.
It finished 2-6 to 1-2 and there was genuine delight as captain, John Bohane, unable to play because of injury, received the cup from Donal Leahy, PRO of the SW Board.
Rossas are also in the final of the league and will be attempting to bring off a rare double.
Referee: Fergus Minihane, Gabriel Rangers.
Scorers - O'Donovan Rossa: Michael O'Donovan 1-0, John Paul Reen 1-0, John Hodnett 0-2, 0-1 free, James Reen, Noel Collins, Seán Brosnan, John Hayes 0-1 free. Tadhg MacCárthaigh: Padraig Crowley 1-2, 1-0 penalty, 0-1 free.
O'Donovan Rossa: Ryan Price, Mike Coakley, Michael McCarthy, Noel Collins, Shane O'Donovan, Mark Collins, Jack O'Driscoll, Donal McCarthy, Denis O'Regan, John Paul Reen, John Hodnett, James Reen, Andy Hodnett, Dave Shanahan, Michael O'Donovan. Subs: John Hayes, Johnathan Davis, Seán Brosnan and Neville Maher.
Tadhg MacCárthaigh: Kieran Collins, Michael Daly, Liam O'Donovan, Donal O'Regan, Eoin Murphy, Michael Kingston, Oliver Lynch, James Herlihy, Shane Collins, Ger Murray, Brendan Herlihy, Padraig Crowley, Gary O'Driscoll, Ivan Kingston, Kieran Daly. Subs: Paul Hayes, Eoin Harnedy, John Russell, Finbarr Russell, Barry Hourihane.
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