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Heartbreak for Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí in Munster final

February 22nd, 2024 4:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí's Ben O'Sullivan is tackled by Tarbert's Shane Stack. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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Tarbert CS 2-11 

Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí 1-13

NOEL HORGAN REPORTS

COLÁISTE Pobail Bheanntraí had good cause to bemoan their fate after their quest for glory in a thrilling Munster colleges’ senior C football final was thwarted by Tarbert Comprehensive School in Banteer’s 4G pitch on Saturday. 

Trailing by the minimum, 1-7 to 1-6, at the interval, the Bantry students burst from the traps to snatch the initiative in no uncertain manner on the turnover, going three points up inside 36 minutes. 

They remained in the driving seat until a goal against the run of play by Tarbert substitute Tadgh O’Connell threw the issue back in the melting-pot approaching the last ten minutes.

In a gripping finale Tarbert’s more economical use of their chances made the difference, leaving Bantry to reflect ruefully on their tally of 11 wides – seven more than the winners – over the hour.

Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí's Sean Cronin coming out with the ball past Shaun Wren of Tarbert Comprehensive School.

 

Selector David Harrington agreed Bantry’s prospects had taken on a rosy hue after they turned on the power early in the second half. 

‘We thought we might pull clear after we had a great first ten minutes after half time, but, credit to Tarbert, they stuck with us before getting a goal that switched the momentum at a crucial stage. The crunch time came in the last five or six minutes when we had one or two chances that didn’t go our way, whereas Tarbert, fair play to them, took theirs,’ he noted. 

Stressing he was ‘massively proud’ of how Bantry performed, Harrington felt they just didn’t enjoy the rub of the green on the day.

‘It could have gone either way in the end, and, having given it everything, the lads are obviously heartbroken now,’ he said.

The Bantry school certainly emerged with considerable pride from a pulsating contest abounding in free-flowing, cohesive and exhilarating football. It opened in explosive fashion with Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí full-forward Ben O’Sullivan, after Tarbert had put two points on the board, latching on to a delivery from Dara Sheedy to goal with style in the fourth minute.

The West Cork students’ advantage didn’t last long, as an opportunist goal from Tarbert’s Jamie Moloney soon followed. As things transpired, the Kerry lads didn’t fall behind again in the first half. Aided by points from the outstanding Dara Sheedy (5) and DJ O’Brien, Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí were on level terms before Jamie Moloney had the last word before the break for Tarbert.

Along with Dara Sheedy, centre-back Mark O’Sullivan and left wing-forward Callum McElhinney were others to excel for Bantry in the first half, with the latter posting their first three points on the resumption when the hard-working Cathal McCarthy also made a huge impact on the right wing.

After Sheedy completed an inspirational run with a fisted point in the 36th minute, it seemed as if the game had taken a decisive swing in the Bantry team’s favour. They were still three points to the good, 1-11 to 1-8, after Ben O’Sullivan negated a pointed free by Tarbert’s Evan Curry in the 39th minute.

Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí's Mark O'Sullivan defending against Tarbert's Evan Curry during the Munster colleges' senior C final.
(Photos: Paddy Feen)

 

It took Tarbert another eight minutes to register their first score from play in the second half, but Tadgh O’Connell quickly added the goal that left Bantry, playing into a slight breeze, with work to do entering the home stretch.

They recovered from that setback, as Sheedy and McElhinney combined to create an opening that yielded an equalising point from Ben O’Sullivan, another to make a major contribution to the losers’ gallant bid for a historic triumph, as was Shane Murnane with his aerial prowess at midfield.

A lung-bursting run from deep in defence by full-back Sean Cronin led to a chance that enabled McElhinney to nudge Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí ahead, but the possibility of extra-time loomed large after Tarbert substitute Darragh Mullane pointed to level matters again in the 58th minute.

It ended agonisingly for Bantry, however, and, having played such a starring role for Colaiste Pobail, it was rough justice on Dara Sheedy that he failed to break the deadlock from a free in stoppage time before Caolam Moriarty landed the decisive score with a similar opportunity for Tarbert.

 

Scorers - Tarbert CS: J Moloney 1-1; T O’Connell 1-0; S Wren, J Coholan, C Moriarty (1f) 0-2 each; B O’Leary, M Coolahan, E Curry (f), D Mullane 0-1 each. Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí: D Sheedy 0-6 (1f); B O’Sullivan 1-2; C McElhinney 0-4 (1f); DJ O’Brien 0-1.

 

Tarbert CS: S Kearney; C Buckley, S Stack, J Kissane; F Mulvihill, D Mulvihill, M Coolahan; E Curry, B O’Leary; P O’Connor, P Finucane, S Wren; C Moriarty, J Coolahan, J Moloney. Subs: T O’Connell for F Mulvihill (43), M Quinn for Kissane (51), D Mullane for O’Leary, (57).

Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí: E O’Donoghue (Bantry Blues); P Russell (do.), S Cronin (St Colum’s), C Cronin (Bantry Blues); S Collins (Caha Óg), M O’Sullivan (Bantry Blues), L Hourihan (St Colum’s); S Murnane (do.), L Salter-Townshend (Bantry Blues); C McCarthy (St Colum’s), D Sheedy (Bantry Blues), C McElhinney (Caha Óg); K Kelleher (St Colum’s), B O’Sullivan (Caha Óg), DJ O’Brien (St Colum’s). Subs: F O’Donovan (Bantry Blues) for Kelleher (51), O Murphy (do.) for O’Brien (51).

Referee: T McGlinchey (Tipperary).

  

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