Boys in blue end Hammies’ bid for five-in-a-row
CP Bheanntraí 3-13
Hamilton HS 2-9
Tom Lyons Reports
COLÁISTE Pobail Bheanntraí ended Hamilton High School’s five-in-a-row bid in the Dr Herlihy Cup football final.
The Bandon school has dominated this football competition for West Cork post-primary schools’ first-year pupils but there is a new name on the cup after the Bantry team’s great display at Moneyvollahane on Sunday.
It was the first time the Bantry school contested the cup final and they took to the big stage in style and played some sparkling football.
‘This is my fourth year in the school and our first year to play in this competition,’ said a delighted Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí coach Alan O’Sullivan, a former Clonakilty footballer.
‘We have done a lot of work over the past few seasons building up to this and this year we’re in the county semi-final as well, so this is a huge boost.
‘There’s great work being done in the school, a lot of coaches involved and great support from the local clubs, as well as West Cork coaches, James McCarthy and Paudie Crowley. Mr Russell is with me coaching this team and we have two teachers for each team.
‘A lot of these lads have played with Carbery development squads, with Paudie and James, and you could see that in the standard of football out there. They’re doing great work for football in West Cork and we hope to kick on from here.’
Driven up the centre by the outstanding quartet of Mark O’Sullivan at centre back, Jack Sheedy at midfield, Alex Cronin at centre forward and Calum McElhinney at full forward, Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, drawn from five surrounding clubs, did the spade work for this great win in the opening 20 minutes against a strong breeze.
After Hammies had opened brightly with a point from the impressive Sean Mac an tSaoir and a goal from Cillian O’Mahony, it was Bantry who took control, with captain Jack Sheedy dominating midfield. Two points from Sheedy and a third from the rampaging Callum McElhinney were followed by an unfortunate own goal by the Hammies’ defence in the 15th minute.
Frees by Sheedy and McElhinney stretched the lead to four points as Fionn Harrington, Conor Cronin, Michael O’Donovan, Tadhg Collins and especially Sean Lawton all impressed for the winners.
Leading by 1-5 to 1-1 after 25 minutes, Bantry looked in complete control but champions die hard and Hammies were not going to surrender their title without a battle. In the minutes leading to half time, there was an amazing reversal in the trend of the game as Josh Woods, Eoghan Mangan, Hugh O’Mahony, Sean Ahern, Seán Mac an tSaoir, Cillian O’Mahony and Michael Maguire all got stuck in for the Bandon school.
Mac an tSaoir (two frees), Maguire and Ahern all pointed for Hammies in reply to a single score from Sean Lawton. When Shane Barry raised a white flag, the sides were level deep into first-half injury time. Hammies weren’t done yet as Michael Maguire blasted a goal chance over the crossbar and, somehow, the Bandon lads found themselves leading at the break, 1-7 to 1-6, against a shell-shocked Bantry side.
To Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí’s credit, they set about restoring their supremacy early in the second half, backed by the wind, and an early goal by John Barry set them on their way. Fionn O’Donovan made it a three-point game. When the outstanding Lawton crashed home another Bantry goal in the 45th minute, followed by a Sheedy point, they were eight points to the good entering the final quarter.
Scores were harder to come by now in a superb contest as Hammies again resurrected themselves and began a determined fight-back. Points by wing back O’Mahony and Mac an tSaoir closed the gap but back came Bantry with points from Lawton and McElhinney.
Still, Hammies refused to throw in the towel and when Maguire rifled home a goal in the 55th minute, the fight-back was still on.
Bantry weren’t to be denied their hour of glory however, as they dug deep and it was fitting that it was outstanding captain and midfielder Jack Sheedy who had the final say when he split the Bandon posts in injury time.
Overall, as in former years, this was a splendid final as a new name was inscribed on the Herlihy Cup, the winners Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí drawing from Bantry Blues, St Colum’s, Tadhg MacCárthaigh, Dunmanus Rovers and Caha Óg. Last week Schull Community College won the Shield competition and Hamilton High’s second team won the Plate competition.
Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí: Callum McElhinney (2f), Jack Sheedy (1f) 0-5 each, Sean Lawton 1-2, John Barry 1-0, Fionn O’Donovan 0-1.
Hamilton High School: Michael Maguire 1-2, Sean Mac an tSaoir 0-4 (3f), Cillian O’Mahony 1-0, Shane Barry, Hugh O’Mahony, Sean Ahern 0-1 each.
Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí:
Eoghan O’Donoghue (Bantry Blues); Fionn Harrington (Caha Óg), Shane Murnane (St Colum’s), Eoin Daly (do.); Colm Arundel (Dunmanus Rovers), Mark O’Sullivan (Bantry Blues), Conor Cronin (do.); Michael O’Donovan (do.), Jack Sheedy (do.) (captain); Fionn O’Donovan (do.), Alex Cronin (do.), Tadhg Collins (Tadhg MacCárthaigh); Callum McElhinney (Caha Óg), Seán Lawton (St Colum’s), John Barry (Tadhg MacCárthaigh).
Subs: Luke Salter-Townshend (Bantry Blues), Kian O’Mahony (do.), Sonny Hogan (do.), Cian Keohane (do.), Padraig O’Sullivan (Caha Óg).
Hamilton High School: Conor Galvin (Newcestown); Eoghan Mangan (Ahán Gaels), Josh Woods (Valley Rovers), Danny Crowley (Bandon); Hugh O’Mahony (do.), Donagh O’Driscoll (Owen Gaels), William Allen (Bandon); Sean Ahern (do.), Alex Huggard (Valley Rovers), Sean Deasy (Newcestown); Seán Mac an tSaoir (Valley Rovers), David Barry (Newcestown); Shane Barry (Sam Maguires), Cillian O’Mahony (Bandon), Michael Maguire (Castlehaven).
Subs: Kevin Dart O’Flynn, Dan Flanagan, Sam Linehan.
Referee: John Forbes (Dohenys).