Argideen Rangers 1-11
TOM LYONS REPORTS
LAZARUS only rose once from the dead, Goleen footballers almost did it twice in this championship.
In their quarter-final of the Cork junior B football championship Goleen came from nine points behind against Shanballymore to sensationally win.
Last Sunday in a semi-final of the same competition Goleen were six points behind entering the last quarter of this county semi-final against Argideen Rangers in Leap.
Again Goleen staged a rousing comeback and had Argideen on the ropes but they just fell short at the end.
‘We played Goleen last month in the West Cork championship and it was the hardest game we got this year, so we knew today was going to be really tough,’ said a relieved Argideen manager Michael O’Callaghan.
‘As a club we never find semi-finals easy. Goleen never die on the field and like all small clubs they have great spirit. We said during the week if we won by a point or two we’d be delighted.
‘We were doing fine after the early goal but we didn’t push on. We coughed up some easy scores and their goal in the second half was a bad one to give away.
‘We were six points up before that and looked to be going well but they kept driving at us.’
The Argideen goal came as early as the third minute when lively corner forward Finbarr Butler cut through to raise a green flag. Points from John Sheehan and Bill Fleming had Argideen five ahead after only five minutes and Goleen looked in serious trouble.
To their credit the men from the Mizen refused to panic and with Darren O’Donovan, Shane O’Leary, Liam O’Connell, David O’Leary, Sean Sheehan and Brendan Goggin to the fore, they began to give as good as they got for the remainder of the half.
Points from O’Donovan and Daniel O’Driscoll got them ticking on the scoreboard before Matthew Whelton and Jason Whitley swapped frees. Bill Fleming (free) stretched the lead to four again but it was Goleen who finished the half on top with O’Donovan pointing two long-range frees. It was 1-4 to 0-5 at half time, the issue wide open.
The second half turned into a cracking contest as Argideen again started in style. With Cathal O’Donovan, Gerry Crowley, Paudie Butler and Sean Michael O’Callaghan anchoring a strong defence, John Sheehan lording midfield and Eoin Lawton, Dylan Harrington, Finbarr Butler and Bill Fleming starring in attack, the Timoleague men kicked an impressive five points in the third quarter, from Fleming, (two frees), corner back Gerry Crowley, Harrington and Eoin Lawton. O’Donovan had Goleen’s only reply, from a free, and it was 1-9 to 0-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Goleen looked in serious trouble but just as in the previous game, they showed tremendous battling qualities to haul themselves back into contention in the final quarter.
A pointed free from Jason Whitley began the comeback and when Darren O’Donovan raced through for a superb opportunist goal following a misplaced Argideen kickout in the 46th minute, the lead was down to two points.
Finbarr Butler’s instant reply with a point to the Goleen goal was just what Argideen needed to calm the nerves and when Bill Fleming followed with a pointed free, the gap was again four.
The winners seemed to have weathered the brief storm from the Mizen men. But nothing could have been further from the truth as Goleen, with numerous substitutions, put in a storming finish.
Daniel O’Driscoll and Patrick Butler pointed from play and when O’Donovan was pulled down near goal in the 54th minute, with Gerry Crowley being black-carded, the supporters were shouting for a penalty but, after consulting with his umpires, referee Tommy Barry awarded a 13-metre free. O’Donovan tapped over the free and only a point separated the sides with five minutes remaining.
Try as they might, Goleen failed to penetrate the Argideen defence again as the Timoleague men dug really deep to keep their noses in front. ‘We have a very young side on duty,’ said Argideen manager Michael O’Callaghan.
‘We had three minors and a lot of U21s from last year’s successful Ibane U21 side. We also have plenty experience on the bench but most of the team are under 22 or 23. Last year’s U21 has definitely boosted football in the club.’
Argideen Rangers: Bill Fleming 0-5 (3f), Finbarr Butler 1-1, Matthew Lawton, Eoin Lawton, Dylan Harrington, John Sheehan, Gerry Crowley 0-1 each.
Goleen: Darren O’Donovan 1-5 (4f), Daniel O’Driscoll, Jason Whitley (2f) 0-2 each, Patrick Scully 0-1.
Argideen Rangers: Alan Long; Cathal O’Donovan, Daniel Hurley, Gerry Crowley; Paudie Butler, John Michael O’Callaghan, Sean Maxwell; Killian McSweeney, John Sheehan; Matthew Lawton, Eoin Lawton, Dylan Harrington; Finbarr Butler, Brian Hennessy, Bill Fleming.
Sub: Alan O’Leary for G Crowley (black card, 54).
Goleen: Ronan Kennedy, Sean Sheehan, Cathal O’Sullivan, James Scully, Shane O’Leary, Paudie Scully, Andrew Murphy, Liam O’Connell, David O’Leary, Brendan Goggin, Darren O’Donovan, Jason Whitley, John Cullinane, Tadhg Cullinane, Daniel O’Driscoll.
Subs: Eoghan Sheehan for T Cullinane (40), David Farrell for J Whitley (47), Patrick Scully for B Goggin (48), Finian Healy for C O’Sullivan (50).
Referee: Tommy Barry (Bantry Blues).