St Oliver Plunkett’s 1-8
TOM LYONS REPORTS
HARSH words in the dressing-room at half-time helped inspire Ballinascarthy to a second consecutive RCM Tarmacadam junior A hurling final appearance.
Bal led 0-6 to 0-4 at the break in Clonakilty, but for much of the first half Plunkett’s actually played the better hurling.
‘The first half was awful,’ admitted Bal mentor Brendan O’Driscoll afterwards.
‘The wides, first touch, it was just awful. We played Mathúnas a few weeks ago and even though we’ve been going back and forth with football, that’s no excuse for what we produced in the first half.
‘We were playing our next-door neighbours and it was always going to be tense but no excuse for that awful first half. We had a few choice words at half time, about responsibility, what they should be producing, and to be fair they all responded.
‘The young subs made a difference, they have been showing well in training and are enjoying it, they brought a freshness to it. Our older lads showed great leadership in the second half when it was needed.’
There was little between the sides in the third quarter with Bal three to the good after 42 minutes but it was obvious that they were getting more and more on top as the half aged. The dam burst in the final quarter as the Reds took complete control and fired over the points from all angles and all distances.
‘Our second final in a row,’ said O’Driscoll.
‘Last year we went in on a high and fell at the last hurdle but now we’re going in with a lot of work to do. Ricky’s (O’Flynn) injury (cruciate) is a big blow to us, for his leadership as well as his hurling, but the young lads are stepping up to the plate.
‘We’ve spoken about our lack of goals, have practiced goals a lot in training but, look, we’re getting 20 scores in a game and how bad is that. Unless the other team get goals, 20 points will win most games.’
The first half was dominated by both defences in perfect conditions for hurling. JC O’Flynn, Chris Ryan and David O’Brien were superb in front of the Bal goal as they repelled repeated attacks by the Ahiohill men.
Driven on by the classy Conor O’Driscoll, Brian Dowling, Gary McCarthy and Tim Coffey, Plunkett’s played a lot of good hurling out the field, with midfielders Conor McCarthy and Eddie O’Driscoll doing very well. However, apart from MP Keohane and Brian Walsh up they rarely looked like penetrating the Bal defence, in which Ciarán Nyhan, Luke Murray and Colin Crowley all had good moments.
Plunkett’s managed only two points in the first quarter, from Keohane and Sean O’Donovan, a paltry return for their efforts, while Bal doubled that with scores from Ben Murray, David Walsh, Seán Ryan and Jeremy Ryan.
Only four points were scored in the second quarter, Keohane pointing from play and free for Plunkett’s, while Ciarán Nyhan and Jeremy Ryan (free) responded for Bal.
It was 0-6 to 0-4 at the end of a mediocre first half in which goal chances were non-existent on both sides.
With Jeremy Ryan and Daniel O’Brien beginning to dominate midfield, the scores finally began to flow. Sean Ryan, who thundered into the game in the second half, Jeremy Ryan, imperious from frees, and Brian O’Donovan found the range but were answered by Conor McCarthy and Brian Walsh, to leave Bal three to the good as the third quarter drew to a close.
Bal were now beginning to click and the points flowed from Jeremy Ryan (four frees and three from play), Sean Ryan (2), Daniel O’Brien and Brian O’Donovan, with only a single answer from Plunkett’s MP Keohane.
The Plunkett’s defence did well on more than one occasion to prevent goals and the introduction of the injured Kevin Coffey improved their attack. To their credit the Ahiohill men finished with a flourish as the hard-working Conor McCarthy set up Coffey for a cracking goal and a point.
Ballinascarthy: Jeremy Ryan 0-10 (7f), Sean Ryan 0-4, Brian O’Donovan 0-2, David Walsh, Ben Murray, Daniel O’Brien, Ciarán Nyhan 0-1 each.
St Oliver Plunkett’s: Kevin Coffey 1-1, MP Keohane 0-4 (2f), Sean O’Donovan, Brian Walsh, Conor McCarthy 0-1 each.
Ballinascarthy: Darragh Hennessy; JC O’Flynn, Chris Ryan, David O’Brien; Luke Murray, Ciarán Nyhan, Colin Crowley; Daniel O’Brien, Jeremy Ryan; Cillian Cullinane, David Walsh, Daniel Nyhan; Ben Murray, Mikey Kirby, Sean Ryan.
Subs: Brian O’Donovan for M Kirby (35), David McCarthy for D Walsh (35).
St Oliver Plunkett’s: Michael Murphy; Tim Coffey, Gary McCarthy, Kevin Walsh; Brian Dowling, Conor O’Driscoll, TJ O’Driscoll; Conor McCarthy, Eddie O’Driscoll; MP Keohane, Eoin McCarthy, Brian Walsh; Niall O’Driscoll, Liam Murphy, Sean O’Donovan.
Subs: Kevin Coffey for L Murphy (18), Barry O’Driscoll for E McCarthy (35), Joe Crowley for T Coffey (51).
Referee: Michael Collins (Clonakilty).