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‘This is one we definitely left behind us,’ laments Clonakilty Community College football boss

April 4th, 2024 10:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

Clonakilty Community College's Olan O'Donovan holds off Odhran Foley of Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh during the Simcox Cup final. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh 2-10  

Clonakilty CC 1-9

NOEL HORGAN REPORTS

IT was easy to appreciate Clonakilty Community College’s frustration following their failure to fashion a historic victory in the Simcox Cup (Cork colleges senior A football) final at Páirc Uí Rinn.

Reduced to 14 players six minutes into the second half, the West Cork students battled bravely to keep their aspirations alive until a late goal secured the win for the fancied defending champions Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh.

While obviously disappointed with the outcome, Clonakilty CC manager Diarmuid O’Donovan didn’t regard their numerical disadvantage for much of the second half as the primary reason for the defeat.

‘Anytime you go a player down is difficult, and they (Coláiste an Spioriad Naoimh) were probably getting their scores a bit easier with the extra man. I still think this is one we definitely left behind us, mainly because we just didn’t perform to our full potential today,’ he said.

Clonakilty CC's Timothy Cullinane is challenged by Matthew Ahern of Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh.

 

Stressing he was very proud of his players, O’Donovan lauded their commitment over the season, and the ‘huge effort they’ve put in for the school’.

‘I think there’s a lot more in them than what they showed today. There are lads who won’t be happy with their performance, but that can happen in finals. It’s very disappointing things didn’t come off for them in this one, but, with just four of the team gone for next year, I’d be hopeful we’ll bounce back from losing our second final in three years,’ he revealed.

With both sides wasteful with chances (they shared 12 wides in the first half), it was 0-2 apiece at the interval. Sean Whelton and Darragh Gough were Clonakilty’s marksmen before the break, while the latter struck the crossbar with a goal chance in the 24th minute.

One minute earlier, Coláiste an Spioraid wing-back Darragh O’Donovan shaved the butt of the upright with a similar opportunity. The stalemate situation at half time fairly reflected the general pattern of the first-half proceedings.

Impressive centre-forward Gary Holland drew first blood for Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh on the resumption, but Clonakilty replied with scores from Cillian Twohig and Sean Whelton before their prospects suffered a severe setback with the dismissal of full-back Shane O’Regan.

Boosted by a fine save by goalkeeper Donnacha Walsh from Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh substitute Jack Brady, Clonakilty proceeded to make light of O’Regan’s departure. Aided by points from Sean Whelton from a free, Darragh Gough, and Whelton again, from a 45, they went 0-7 to 0-4 up nearing the three-quarter mark.

Just when it seemed as if Clonakilty were on course to triumph over adversity, they were rocked back on their heels by an equalising goal from Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh midfielder Mark O’Brien in the 46th minute.

Clonakilty CS's Kevin Hennessey is tackled by Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh's Bill Cahill during the Simcox Cup final at Páirc Uí Rinn. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

 

After Gary Holland quickly nudged the winners ahead, Timothy Cullinane replied for Clonakilty, but they fell behind by the minimum again before regaining the lead thanks to a goal from Darragh Gough in the 53rd minute. The chance came about after full-forward Olan O’Donovan did well to prevent a Sean Whelton 45 from going wide, creating a gilt-edged opportunity for Gough in the process. 

Gough, Whelton and hard-running centre-forward Cullinane were Clon’s leading lights up front over the hour, while Michael O’Donovan, Oran Blackburn and Eoin Cullinane earned the main plaudits at the back.

It was primarily a gutsy team effort that kept Clon’s bid for a first title on track until Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh produced the stronger finish in a highly entertaining second-half. Two points up, 1-9 to 1-7, after Darragh Gough was on target in the 54th minute, Clon conceded three on the trot before a goal from Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh’s Kevin Murphy deep in stoppage time sealed their fate.

 

Scorers - Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh: G Holland 0-5; M O’Brien, K Murphy 1-0 each; K Werner 0-2; T O’Keeffe, N Crowley, D O’Donovan 0-1 each. Clonakilty CC: D Gough 1-3; S Whelton 0-4 (1f, 1 45); C Twohig, T Cullinane 0-1 each. 

 

Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh: S Cronin (Bishopstown); C Dineen (Inniscarra), O Foley (Bishopstown), C O’Sullivan (Inniscarra); M Ahern (St Finbarr’s), K Murphy(Bishopstown), D O’Donovan (do.); M O’Brien (Ballinora), T O’Keeffe (St Finbarr’s); S Sheridan (Bishopstown), G Holland (do.), S Connolly (Inniscarra); K Werner (Ballinora), N Crowley (Bishopstown), B Cahill (do.). Subs: J Brady (St Finbarr’s) for Sheridan (ht), C O’Donoghue (do.) for Cahill (46), D O’Brien (Inniscarra) for Crowley (56).

Clonakilty CC: D Walsh (Clonakilty); O Blackburn (do.), S O’Regan (do.), K Hennessy (Ibane Gaels); D Moloney (do.), E Cullinane (St Mary’s), M O’Donovan (Bandon); C Twohig (Kilmeen), D Kenneally (Clonakilty); J Crowley (Ibane Gaels), T Cullinane (Carbery Rangers), O Harrington (Kilmeen); S Whelton (St James), O O’Donovan (Ibane Gaels), D Gough (Clonakilty). Sub: M Murphy (Clonakilty) for Crowley (39).

Referee: B Coniry (Crosshaven).

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