00:00 Saturday 13 August 2011  Written by Fois Farraige

Clancy seals it for Clon

Clonakilty 2-13

Ilen Rovers 1-12

TWO goals by county U21 player, Thomas Clancy, one in either half, and the late introduction of some subs were instrumental in propelling Clonakilty into the quarter-final of the county senior football championship as they came with a late burst of scores to see off the challenge of fellow West Cork side, Ilen Rovers, in Rosscarbery on Sunday afternoon last.

Played at tremendous pace on a fine sod, with play sweeping from one end to the other, there was no separating the sides in the first half as Clon struck for a Clancy goal in the 15th minute but Ilen fought back and the game was level on four occasions before the sides retired at the break all square.

Clon again grabbed the initiative in the third quarter when Clancy goaled in the 32nd minute but back came Ilen again to level with a Kevin O'Sullivan goal six minutes later. It was exciting stuff but Clon were looking that little bit more composed as they led by a point at the start of the last quarter, a lead they clung to bravely during the following ten minutes.

Both sides introduced a number of subs in the last quarter for tired and injured players and it was the Clon subs who came up trumps when they kicked the last three scores of the game in the dying minutes to forge an impressive four-point victory, which contradicted all predictions by the experts of an Ilen victory on the day.

Clon had many heroes on the day including subs Gearóid Barry, who kicked two vital points in the closing minutes, David O'Regan and Jonathan Leahy but it was wing back, Denis Murphy, who emerged as man of the match with his surging drives out of defence all during the game, a performance that must be noted by the Cork selectors. He got great support from the flying David Horan at corner back, Timmy O'Sullivan and Diarmuid O'Brien, who held Dan MacEoin scoreless on the day. Veteran Nigel Hayes was vitally involved at wing back and it was the massed defence of the Clon side that did most to thwart Ilen during the hour.

Midfielder, Timmy Anglin, back after a long injury layoff, emerged as the top midfielder on the day and got great support from Seán Nagle as Clon shaded the midfield battle. Up front, the work rate of the Clon half forwards, Donal Lyons and Martin O'Brien, was vital while Clancy's two goals proved to be match-winners.

Inside, Colin O'Donovan kicked an impressive four points, three from play, while Conrad Murphy, with two fine points, showed flashes of the form that won him a Cork jersey a few years back. The eager Barry O'Mahony completed an attacking sextet that posed a lot of problems for the Ilen backs on the day.

Gave their all

As usual, Ilen gave their all in pursuit of victory and had they won, they would again have Kevin O'Sullivan to thank as he really impressed on the forty, kicking 1-5, 1-3 from play. He got good support from Cork player, Conor O'Driscoll, who kicked three points, and Alan Holland, who hit two. Fachtna Collins did well at midfield during the first half before being withdrawn and Tim O'Regan did a lot of hard running. Michael Hellen had a fine outing at wing back and David Coughlan did a lot of hard grafting at centre back in an Ilen defence that came under a lot of pressure.

Ilen looked impressive when Kevin O'Sullivan ran straight at the Clon defence but their tendency to over-use possession around the half forward line didn't help their cause. Neither side was helped by some fussy refereeing, which frustrated both sets of players at times.

Ilen, who fielded without the injured Peadar O'Driscoll, looked the sharper side in the opening minutes and were in front on the scoreboard with points from Kevin O'Sullivan, free, and Conor O'Driscoll. Barry O'Mahony pointed a Clon free to open their account and Ilen goalie, Gary Coakley, came to his side's rescue when Clon seemed to be through for a goal.

The sides were level for the first time when Colin O'Donovan kicked a Clon point and again when O'Donovan and Kevin O'Sullivan swapped frees. Clon almost snatched a goal when Donal Lyons fisted just wide and Ilen then hit the front from an O'Sullivan free. However, it was Clon in front at the end of the first quarter, and third time lucky, when Timmy Anglin set up Thomas Clancy for a cracking goal in the 15th minute, 1-3 to 0-4.

Battling Ilen struck back following that goal with points from Conor O'Driscoll and Kevin O'Sullivan to level the scores for the third time and in an end-to-end contest Clon responded by hitting two lead points from Conrad Murphy, fist, and Colin O'Donovan. Undaunted, Ilen lifted their game again and points from O'Sullivan, fist, and Alan Holland levelled the scores for the fourth time. It was 1-5 to 0-8 at the break and was truly anybody's game in a most entertaining contest.

Vital blow

Ilen had the opening score of the second half, a Conor O'Driscoll point in the very first attack, but Clon struck a vital blow a minute later when Thomas Clancy, put through by Donal Lyons, somehow managed to finish to the net despite falling and being surrounded by defenders. When Timmy Anglin added a quick point, Clon were three to the good but the fun was only beginning. Five minutes later Kevin O'Sullivan, following a great run by outstanding wing back, Michael Hellen, cut through for a wonderful goal and the sides were level for the fifth time, 2-6 to 1-9.

Clon goalie, James O'Brien, brought off a fine reflex save from Alan Holland before Clon again hit the front with a Thomas Clancy point but it was back to all square by the 41st minute when Holland pointed. The exhausting pace and swaying fortunes had players and supporters gasping for air before Clon again hit the front with a Colin O'Donovan point in the 44th minute.

Dig deep

It was now the turn of both defences to dig deep as the last quarter dawned and both sides introduced a number of substitutes, with Clon's Brian O'Sullivan doing extremely well at centre back. Six scoreless minutes passed with Clon hanging onto their point lead before sub, Jonathan Leahy, kicked a Clon free. Ilen closed the gap to a single point again when sub, Kieran Daly, fisted a good point but Clon were hanging on to the lead as both sides kicked some wides.

Conrad Murphy and effective sub, Cian O'Driscoll, swapped points and it was beginning to look like a draw and extra-time as Ilen fought for the equaliser but the Clon backs did some superb covering. The introduction of young minor, Gearóid Barry, for the injured Thomas Clancy, proved an inspired move for Clon as he proceeded to kick two opportunist points in the dying seconds to open a three-point gap as the game went into injury time. It was all over two minutes into injury time when another sub, David O'Regan, hero of the county final in 2009 with his title-winning point, again showed his coolness under pressure when kicking the insurance point.

It finished 2-13 to 1-12 with Clon going forward to meet the winner of the UCC v St. Nick's game in the quarter final.

Referee: James Bermingham, Bride Rovers.

The Rosscarbery pitch was in perfect condition for this game and all arrangements were top class.

Scorers Clonakilty: Thomas Clancy 2-1, Colin O'Donovan 0-4, 0-3 frees, Conrad Murphy 0-2, Gearóid Barry 0-2, Timmy Anglin and David O'Regan 0-1 each, Jonathan Leahy 0-1 free, Barry O'Mahony 0-1. Ilen Rovers: Kevin O'Sullivan 1-5, 0-2 frees, Conor O'Driscoll 0-3, Alan Holland 0-2, Kieran Daly and Cian O'Driscoll 0-1 each.

Clonakilty: James O'Brien, Timmy O'Sullivan, Diarmuid O'Brien, David Horan, Denis Murphy, Finbarr Coughlan, Nigel Hayes, Timmy Anglin, Seán Nagle, Donal Lyons, Martin O'Brien, Thomas Clancy, Barry O'Mahony, Conrad Murphy, Colin O'Donovan. Subs: Brian O'Sullivan, Jonathan Leahy, Gearóid Barry, David O'Regan.

Ilen Rovers: Gary Coakley, Danny O'Donovan, Paddy Minihane, Paddy Hickey, Michael Hellen, David Coughlan, Ciarán Cotter, Fachtna Collins, Tim O'Regan, Conor O'Driscoll, Kevin O'Sullivan, Aidan Coughlan, Dan MacEoin, Brian O'Sullivan, Alan Holland. Subs: Kieran Daly, John Wycherley, Cian O'Driscoll, Damian O'Sullivan, Brendan Duggan.

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