Muintir Bhire romp home
Muintir Bháire 6-17
St Oliver Plunkett's 0-2
No matter what dressing you put on it, this U21 C football final in perfect conditions on Sunday last in Bantry was a complete mismatch as a far stronger Durrus outfit controlled proceedings from the first whistle to the last.
The stronger and older Muintir side availed of the open spaces provided by the 12-a-side format to run up a score that was more in keeping with a hurling game and some of the scores were top-class. You can only play what's in front of you and fore and aft Muintir turned in a class performance which was over as a contest by half-time when they led by a staggering 4-11 to 0-1.
Spare a thought for outgunned Plunkett's, a club that is never short of heart and who were delighted to get to the final this season against all the predictions. They struggled manfully to halt the engulfing tide but, apart from a period in the third quarter, found themselves literally playing backs and forwards. They never stopped trying but even the Muintir subs were bigger and stronger when introduced in the second half and the pressure on the Plunkett's defence was non-stop.
The one-sided nature of the contest can be gleaned from the fact that Plunkett's best player on the day was goalkeeper, Stephen O'Mahony, who brought off a series of great saves, especially in the second half, and by the fact that Plunkett's only managed a single point from play.
With the three Wards, Jack, Brian and David, driving forward from defence in support of the outstanding Ian Daly at midfield, Muintir took control of this game from the early minutes and four different forwards, David O'Mahony, Brendan O'Dwyer, free and play, Jerome O'Dwyer and Niall O'Sullivan had white flags waving in the opening five minutes. Brendan O'Dwyer made it six to nil before the first major arrived in the 15th minute when Niall O'Donovan goaled following a great solo run from O'Dwyer.
Even at that stage the writing was on the wall for the Magpies, who were finding it difficult to win primary possession despite the best efforts of Darragh Coffey, John O'Sullivan, Conor Murphy, Aidan Coffey and Ian Skuse.
The siege continued and following further points from Jerome O'Dwyer, Brendan O'Dwyer, a 45, David O'Mahony and Niall O'Donovan, the roof really caved in on gallant Plunkett's when Muintir goaled three times in five minutes.
Full back Jack Ward soloed 50m to crash the ball to the net in the 19th minute, Stephen O'Driscoll found the target in the 23rd minute, and Niall O'Donovan raised the fourth green flag in the 24th minute. Jerome O'Dwyer brought the first half total to 4-11 before Plunkett's finally found the target in the 29th minute when Owen McCarthy pointed a free.
Full marks to Plunkett's who emerged very determined in the second half despite the huge disparity in the scores. For most of the third quarter, they gave almost as good as they got with sub, Robbie Skuse, adding strength up front. However, the Muintir defence was in a mean mood and kept their lines intact while the rampaging forwards at the other end added points from Brendan O'Dwyer, Brian Ward and the lively Stephen O'Driscoll. Defiant Plunkett's had their only point from play when Robbie Skuse pointed and he very nearly goaled a minute later.
That was the high point of Plunkett's challenge as Muintir introduced some subs, with the strong Paddy McCarthy and Jamie O'Driscoll looking very impressive. The fifth goal of the game arrived in the 40th minute from Brendan O'Dwyer, who could be well satisfied with his haul of 1-5, and there was no let-up in the closing minutes as the hard-working Ian Daly, Paddy McCarthy and Jamie O'Driscoll all kicked points. The icing on the cake came in the 59th minute when McCarthy's hard work saw him claiming the sixth goal and Muintir were crowned U21 champions on a scoreline of 6-17 to 0-2.
There was great rejoicing in the Muintir camp despite the one-sided nature of the contest as it was their first U21 title in 14 years and the cup was presented to outstanding captain, Jack Ward, by Theresa Cadogan, on behalf of sponsors, Clona Milk.
While Plunkett's were devastated by the final margin of defeat, they showed great heart and can be well pleased with a fine campaign, which included a memorable surprise semi-final victory over Randals. Struggling with numbers like many small clubs, great credit is due to them for even fielding in these grades. Beidh lá eile acu.
Scorers Muintir Bháire: Niall O'Donovan 2-2, Brendan O'Dwyer 1-5, 0-1 free, 0-1 a 45, Paddy McCarthy and Stephen O'Driscoll 1-1 each, Jack Ward 1-0, Jerome O'Dwyer 0-3, David O'Mahony 0-2, Ian Daly, Brian Ward and Jamie O'Driscoll 0-1 each. St Oliver Plunkett's: Robbie Skuse 0-1, Owen McCarthy 0-1 free.
Muintir Bháire: Brian O'Regan, Michael Allen, Jack Ward, Cormac Whooley, Brian Ward, David Ward, Ian Daly, Jerome O'Dwyer, Niall O'Donovan, David O'Mahony, Brendan O'Dwyer, Stephen O'Driscoll. Subs: Paddy McCarthy, Alan Shannon, Mark McNulty, John O'Callaghan and Jamie O'Driscoll.
St Oliver Plunkett's: Stephen O'Mahony, Jamie O'Neill, Darragh Coffey, Shane Hilliard, Padraig O'Donovan, John O'Sullivan, Conor Murphy, Nicky Walsh, Ian Skuse, Owen McCarthy, Aidan Coffey, John Mears. Subs: Robbie Skuse, Daniel O'Leary and Niall O'Halloran.
Referee: Declan O'Dwyer, Dohenys.
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