Winners were eight down with just five minutes left
JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
LAZARUS, take up thy bed and walk to Bandon!
An incredible turnaround by Bandon at Enniskeane saw them claim victory after extra time in this Clóna Milk U21BFC quarter-final
Newcestown, having shown a clean pair of heels to the more fancied Lilywhites for 55 minutes of this absorbing tussle and enjoying a clear eight-point advantage at this juncture, 1-12 to 0-7, looked to be out the gap and safely through to the semi-final.
Granted, Bandon’s hard-trying full forward Adam Murphy had forced Newcestown’s shot-stopper Shane Scanlon into a superb point-blank save a few minutes earlier, but it was the exception more than the rule it appeared.
But God loves a trier and Bandon mentors pulled off a master-stroke introducing substitute Ben Donegan and reshuffling their pack. It worked wonders.
The productive Aidan O’Mahony found the range and when Donegan shot a bullet through a crowded Newcestown goalmouth in the 60th minute, the comeback show was on the road.
Outstanding free-taker Eoin Nolan popped over a free and with almost the last kick of the game the Bandon followers were sent into raptures as tireless midfielder Eoin O’Sullivan levelled the match with a blockbusting goal, 2-9 to 1-12, the seemingly impossible had materialised and extra-time beckoned.
Bandon’s tails were up now as a tiring young Newcestown found the heavy underfoot conditions somewhat trying. Amazingly, just a point punctuated the opening period of extra-time, a lovely floating score by Nelson McCarthy.
However three on the bounce by Eoin Nolan from dead balls signalled the end for brave Newcestown, the latter’s sole reply by the tireless Colm Dineen a mere crumb of consolation.
It was a far cry from the first half as Newcestown’s work-rate and tackling was superb, James Kelleher, Gearóid O’Donovan, midfielders Seán O’Donovan and David Buckley augmented by flying forwards Olan Walsh, Dineen and Cathal Cadogan leading their opponents a merry dance. Cancelling out Adam Murphy’s early opener for Bandon, Newcestown soon consolidated their lead as Dineen’s delightful cross was smashed to the net by Cadogan in the ninth minute.
By the short whistle the St John’s lads were five points clear, 1-7 to 0-5, Eoghan Collins, Olan Walsh and Buckley all getting in on the scoring act. The resumption brought little respite to the winners as a brace by Aidan O’Mahony and Paul Lang barely kept the Lilywhites in touch.
But how things changed, as Bandon finished in a blaze of glory thanks to the mother of all comebacks to stun their opponents.
Bandon: Eoin Nolan 0-6f, Ben Donegan, Eoin O’Sullivan 1-0 each, Aidan O’Mahony 0-3, Nelson McCarthy, Paul Lang, Adam Murphy, Timmy McCarthy 0-1 each.
Newcestown: Colm Dineen 0-6 (2f), Olan Walsh 0-3 (1f), Cathal Cadogan 1-0, David Buckley 0-2, Eoghan Collins, Daire McAree 0-1 each.
Bandon: Ciarán McCarthy; Jeremy Collins, Kieran Walsh, Nelson McCarthy; Rob O’Driscoll, Joe O’Mahony, Eoin Hurley; Timmy McCarthy, Eoin O’Sullivan; Olann McSweeney, Eoin Nolan, Aidan O’Mahony; Paul Lang, Adam Murphy, Gavin O’Connell.
Subs: Conor Calnan for Gavin O’Connell (24), Ben Donegan for McSweeney (46), Brian O’Connell for O’Driscoll (62), McSweeney for Lang (half-time in extra time).
Newcestown: Shane Scanlon; Mark Shorten, James Kelleher, Gerard Murphy; Eoghan Collins, Gearóid O’Donovan, Darragh Buttimer; Seán O’Donovan, David Buckley; Cathal Cadogan, Colm Dineen, Olan Walsh; Conor Goggin, Pádraig Collins, Eugene Courtney.
Subs: Daire McAree for Cadogan (38), Seán Coughlan for Courtney (58), Courtney for Coughlan (extra time).
Referee: David Whyte (St Mary’s).