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Bantry Blues miss out on direct route to last four

September 15th, 2023 10:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

Bantry Blues' Arthur Coakley kicked 0-2 against Macroom.

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Bantry Blues 1-10     

Macroom 0-13


THEY kept their unbeaten record, but Bantry Blues missed the chance to go directly to the last four of the Bon Secours Premier IFC.

This draw against Macroom in their final Group B game at Ballingeary cost the Blues a place in the semi-final. Instead, Nemo Rangers in the quarter-final is Bantry’s next challenge, with Kilshannig awaiting the winners in the last four.

Yet, it could have been worse, as Macroom were the team with most cause to regret missed opportunities. They had Bantry on the rack in the closing stages but just ran out of time.

The point gained was of no benefit to the Mid Cork side in the final reckoning; they now face the relegation play-off against Na Piarsaigh, but their display will give them a much-needed boost after a hitherto poor campaign.

Bantry lined out without the injured Ruairi Deane and the absence of the Cork star was sorely felt. Macroom started well and Alan Quinn punched over a point after two minutes before Kevin Casey replied for the Blues two minutes later. The play swept from end to end and defences were well organised to frustrate the respective attacks, and Macroom particularly were dependent on frees to garner scores.

2010 All-Ireland winner Fintan Goold, a wonderful servant of Macroom football, kicked over a free to put his side back in front in the eighth minute, but Arthur Coakley had Bantry level almost immediately from play. Goold kicked over another free after Eolan O’Leary was fouled, but Coakley took his second point from play. It was 0-3 apiece after the opening quarter.

Macroom wasted some good goal-scoring opportunities through lack of finish but continued to force the pace. Alan Quinn was unlucky to see his snap-shot at goal come back off the butt of the Bantry upright on 18 minutes and a foul on Quinn was punished by a David Horgan pointed free in the 24th minute. Goold pointed his third free in the 27th minute, a foul on Quinn punished also by a black card for Bantry’s Shane Keevers. Macroom led by 0-5 to 0-3 at the break and it could have been more.

On the resumption, Bantry captain Seanie O’Leary and Eolann O’Leary exchanged points, before Killian O’Brien cut the gap back to a point in the 37th minute.

The only goal of the game came in the 43rd minute. Paddy Cronin was involved in the initial stages in the midfield area and was at the receiving end when O’Leary sent a perfect ball into the right corner which Cronin collected, advanced and blasted past Brendan O’Connell in the Macroom goal. Mark Óg O’Sulllivan added a point from play and the Blues were really in heaven when Cronin had another point to transform the situation, Bantry now leading by 1-7 to 0-6 at the end of the third quarter.

Macroom kept their spirits up. Despite two more wasted opportunities, they eventually got their revival on track with a David Horgan free in the 50th minute, followed immediately by a point from Quinn. Then after another Bantry point from Cronin, Blake O’Gorman sent over for Macroom to leave it 1-8 to 0-9 with seven minutes remaining.

Points from frees were exchanged between Cronin and Goold, and Cronin pointed another free in the 60th minute to give the Blues a one-goal lead. Six minutes of additional time were played, dominated by Macroom who had two points from Horgan frees and one from Tony Dineen to level matters but Macroom could not get the winner and time ran out.



Bantry Blues: P Cronin 1-4 (2f); A Coakley 0-2; M Óg O'Sullivan, S O’Leary, K Casey, K O’Brien 0-1 each.

Macroom: F Goold 0-4 (4f); D Horgan 0-4 (4f); A Quinn 0-2; E O’Leary (f), B O’Gorman, T Dineen 0-1 each.


Bantry Blues: Mike Casey; Mark Óg O’Sullivan, Tim Cronin, Eoghan Minehane; Billy Foley, Jack O’Neill, Seth Thornton; Seanie O’Leary, Dara McCarthy; David Daly, Kevin Casey, Shane Keevers; Paddy Cronin, Killian O’Brien, Arthur Coakley.

Subs: Con Cronin for Thornton (48), Owen O’Neill for Daly (53).

Macroom: Brendan O’Connell; Johnny Murphy, Rory Buckley, Don Creedon; Jack O’Riordan, Tony Dineen, Mark Corrigan; Fintan Goold, David Horgan; Mark Hunt, Ethan O’Gorman, Seán Kiely; Eolan O’Leary, Dylan Twomey, Alan Quinn.

Subs: Blake O’Gorman for E O’Gorman (40), Caleb Dinneen for A Quinn (inj, 52).

Referee: Cathal Egan (St Nick’s).

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