TOM LYONS REPORTS
FOR the second time this season Ballinascarthy ended Kilmacabea’s dreams of three in-a-row when they beat them in the final of the Dubliner Cheese Division 1 football league in Rosscarbery on Saturday last.
Having knocked the Kilmacs out of the championship earlier in the season when the Leap men were going for three titles in a row, the Bal men repeated the dose in this final, with the Kilmacs seeking three league titles in-a-row.
Bal, who were winning their first Division 1 title, had lost the Carbery championship final and were looking for silverware to climax a long football season. In the end it took a goal by Ricky O’Flynn in the 57th minute to decide this entertaining final.
‘It has been a long season, almost 11 months of football,’ said a happy Ballinascarthy mentor Kevin Kingston.
‘We didn’t lose a league game all year, so the lads really deserved this one.
‘We knew it would be tough going here against Kilmacabea but we dug deep in the closing stages and Ricky’s goal was the clincher.
‘There’s a nice crop of young lads coming through from the minors and a few from the U.21’s so we’ll be looking forward to next season. But first we need a good break to recharge the batteries.’
Bal were first to the fore with corner forward Brian O’Donovan very prominent. An O’Donovan point followed by a fisted effort from Cathal Nyhan had Bal two to the good before Dan Lynch pulled one back for the Kilmacs.
All Bal’s early good work was undone when they conceded a penalty in the fourth minute and Colin McCarthy tucked his shot into the corner. Bal refused to panic and three minutes later they were back in front when O’Donovan was on hand to finish to the Kilmac net.
After such a hectic start, there was bound to be a lull in the scoring but points from midfielder Daniel O’Donovan and Colin McCarthy, free, had the Kilmacs in front by a point, 1-3 to 1-2, at the end of the first quarter.
Bal then dominated the second quarter, kicking three points in a row from Cullinane, play and free, and O’Donovan, to lead by two. Dan Lynch and Cullinane swapped points before full forward Ian Jennings raised a white flag to cut the gap to a single point at half time, 1-6 to 1-5.
Kilmacabea began to introduce their star players in the second half, with Niall Hayes and Martin Collins entering the fray early on, but again it was Bal who started the better with points from Ricky O’Flynn and O’Donovan.
With Collins and Hayes adding bite to the Kilmac challenge, they had three of the next four points, from O’Callaghan, Oisín O’Sullivan and Colin McCarthy (free), with a single reply from Cullinane (free).
Only a point separated the sides with eight minutes remaining and Bal had their backs to the wall. Cullinane gave them breathing space from a free and Ricky O’Flynn’s move from midfield to corner forward paid rich dividends in the 57th minute when he was on hand to gather a breaking ball to finish to the net.
Game set and match to Ballinascarthy, even though impressive sub Niall Bowkett finished the scoring with a Kilmac point
Ballinascarthy: Brian O’Donovan 1-3 (1f); Cillian Cullinane 0-5 (3f); Ricky O’Flynn 1-1; Cathal Nyhan 0-1.
Kilmacabea: Colin McCarthy 1-2 (1-0 penalty, 2f); Dan Lynch 0-2; Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Daniel O’Donovan, Oisín O’Sullivan, Ian Jennings, Niall Bowkett 0-1 each.
Ballinascarthy: Barry Hanrahan; Eoin O’Brien, Gearóid O’Leary, David O’Brien; David Walsh, Ciarán Nyhan, Jeremy Ryan; Sean Ryan, Ricky O’Flynn; Dean Harte, Cillian Cullinane, Padraig Cullinane; Brian O’Donovan, Cathal Nyhan, David McCarthy.
Subs: Cian Ryan for C Nyhan (45), Daniel O’Brien for D Harte (47), Chris Ryan for P Cullinane (55), Mikey Kirby for D McCarthy (58).
Kilmacabea: Karl McCarthy; Mark Jennings, Peadar O’Leary, Donncha McCarthy; Clive Sweetnam, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Myles Tobin; Daniel O’Donovan, Declan O’Sullivan; Timmy Nyhan, Oisín O’Sullivan, Dan Lynch; Jamie Ronan, Ian Jennings, Colin McCarthy.
Subs: Niall Bowkett for T Nyhan (ht), Niall Hayes for M Jennings (ht), Martin Collins for D O’Sullivan (38), Joe Collins for D O’Donovan (43), Donie O’Donovan for J Ronan (43), Liam Thompson for C McCarthy (60).
Referee: Connie Murphy (Kilmeen)