BANTRY Blues finished off their Cork LGFA season in style by claiming the 2019 minor county D title following a replay with Naomh Fionnbarra.
The West Cork club built on their recent U15 and U16 triumphs before embarking on an ultimately successful minor county championship campaign. Bantry’s county minor came on the back of the Carbery side’s U16s winning this year’s West Cork title.
The Blues’ U15s followed up their U16 counterpart’s success by overcoming Ilen Rovers in the West Cork decider before the bulk of both of those squads backboned Bantry’s minor panel.
Philly Spillane and Anne O’Grady look after the Bantry U15, U16 and minor squads with the former in charge of the oldest group and tasked with overcoming Dromtarriffe in this year’s county quarter final. A close game ended 3-8 to 3-6 in Bantry’s favour with Leah Barry contributing 1-5 and Zara Barry scoring 2-1 of their side’s winning total.
That set up a semi-final with Killavullen but the North Cork side proved no match for
their West Cork opponents as Bantry cruised into the final following a one-sided contest in Bantry.
Leah Barry continued her excellent campaign with five goals in a game Caitlin O’Mahony, Zara Barry, Megan McSweeney, Kate Keevers, Kate McCarthy, Eve O’Sullivan, Ella McCarthy and Ella Downey also featured on the scoreboard.
Disappointingly, an all-West Cork minor county decider failed to materialise when Naomh Fionnbarra ousted Castlehaven 4-12 to 2-8 in the second semi-final.
Bantry knew they would be tested to the limit in the county final by the Uibh Laoire club and so it proved as the two sides clashed in Inchigeela on November 10th. Interestingly, Bantry had to readjust from their normal 15-a-side set-up as the minor D county championship is open to clubs, like Naomh Fionnbarra, who only field 13-a-side teams.
Naomh Fionnbarra looked set for victory until the Blues conjured up a late equalising goal to make it 2-7 apiece at the final whistle. A replay was scheduled for Bantry on November 17th and the West Cork side made no mistake at the second time of asking. The Blues ran out 3-7 to 2-9 winners with Leah Barry (1-3), Caitlin O’Mahony (1-1) and Ella Downey (1-0) providing the crucial scores.
‘We were absolutely delighted to come away with a draw in the county final having scored a late goal to take it to a replay,’ Bantry Blues manager Philly Spillane said.
‘The gap between the drawn final and replay gave us a great opportunity to regroup as we held two training sessions which kept us sharp. In the replay, we got off to a slow start and let them build a five-point lead.
‘We came back into it though and were only three down at half time.
‘A few tactical changes helped turn the replay in our favour. We lost Leah Barry to injury but we were able to call upon Ella Downey who came off the bench and scored an important goal.
‘It was fantastic to win the county, and the girls fully deserved it for all the work they put in. Two West Cork titles and a county minor is not a bad return for the past year.’