St Mary’s 3-12
TOM LYONS REPORTS
JUST like their hurlers did the previous week, St Mary’s junior footballers avoided being dragged into a relegation battle by virtue of this nine-point win over Clonakilty in Roinn 4 of the Bandon Co-op junior A football championship.
Having lost their first two games, Mary’s needed to beat Clonakilty by six points in Rossmore to leap-frog their opponents into third place in the table. They did that. With a bit of luck in front of goal, Mary’s could actually have leap-frogged St Colum’s to grab the second qualifying spot. They finished level with Colum’s on points, two each, but lost out by four points on scoring difference.
‘We dodged a bullet, just like the hurlers,’ admitted Mary’s coach and mentor Finbarr Crowley. ‘We achieved our aim of avoiding relegation but those missed chances cost us a place in the play-offs. That said, we have to be pleased with the efforts of the lads tonight. It was backs to the wall and they reacted so well. There were leaders all over the pitch and what can one say of Olan Corcoran: magical.’
St Mary’s began this game on the front foot. When Olan Corcoran’s opening point was followed by a superb solo goal by Darren O’Donovan in the fourth minute, they looked well on their way to overhauling Clon in the table. To their credit, Clon settled. When Shane Collins fisted a goal in the sixth minute, they were back in the game. Corcoran and Collins swapped pointed frees before Mary’s struck for their second goal in the 15th minute, Rory Baggot availing of a controversial fast free to billow the net.
Surprisingly, Mary’s seemed to take their foot off the pedal following the second goal and Clon battled their way back into contention. They kicked four points in a row from Shane Collins (2), Aaron Cullinane and Brian White to level the scores, 2-2 to 1-5, after 26th minutes. St Mary’s regained their grip approaching half time. Points from Corcoran (free) and O’Donovan had the Saints in front by 2-4 to 1-5 at the break.
When Collins (free) cut the lead to one immediately after the break, it seemed we were in for a thrilling second half but St Mary’s took complete control. Corcoran and O’Donovan stretched the lead to four. The seven-point lead Mary’s needed came in the 43rd minute when Scannell burst through for a great goal and Corcoran stretched it to eight.
Clon had their first score in 15 minutes when Jack Cowhig pointed but when he was red-carded in the 45th minute, Clon’s cause looked forlorn. Their goalkeeper Conor O’Callaghan could take credit for a few last-ditch saves but could do little as Olan Corcoran gave an exhibition of point-scoring from all angles and distances. Mary’s were, indeed, that close to grabbing a qualifying spot but had to make do with saving their junior A status on the day.
OUR STAR: Special mention to Dylan Scannell and Darren O’Donovan of St Mary’s and Shane Collins of Clonakilty but there was one super-star in this game as Olan Corcoran not only gave an exhibition of point scoring, nine in all, but dictated the whole game from his half forward position.
St Mary’s: Olan Corcoran 0-9 (2f); Darren O’Donovan 1-2; Dylan Scannell, Rory Baggott 1-0 each; Aaron O’Driscoll 0-1.
Clonakilty: Shane Collins 1-5 (3f); Aaron Cullinane, Brian White, James Campbell, Jack Cowhig 0-1 each.
St Mary’s: Darren Cullen; Diarmuid Whooley White, Brian Brady, David Curtin; Cillian MacGillicuddy, Jason Collins, Eoin Cullinane; Ryan Scannell, Peter Daly; Darren O’Donovan, Rory Baggott, Olan Corcoran; Aaron O’Driscoll, Dylan Scannell, Mark O’Driscoll.
Subs: Stephen Keohane for R Baggott (ht), Brian McCarthy for D White (44), Billy O’Brien for C Mcgillicuddy (50), Tiernan O’Driscoll for D Scannell (56).
Clonakilty: Conor O’Callaghan; Ciarán Crowley, Niall Barrett, Tom Hayes; Jack Wycherley, Cian O’Donovan, Cian O’Donoghue; Aaron Cullinane, Tim McCarthy; James Campbell, Jack Cowhig, David O’Sullivan; Brian White, Shane Collins, Aaron Griffin.
Subs: Tomás Battersby for A Griffin (45), Coin Foley for N Barrett (50), Thomas Palmer (50), Kieran Calnan for T McCarthy (56).
Referee: Connie Murphy (Kilmeen).