Castlehaven score late goal to deny Rossas in epic final
O’DONOVAN ROSSA 3-2
CASTLEHAVEN and O’Donovan Rossa will have to do it all over again following a thrilling Cork ladies’ football junior C county final draw in front of a large attendance at Clonakilty last Saturday.
The build-up to this decider was overshadowed by both participants’ inability to reschedule the game and avoid an unwanted clash with West Cork’s county senior football final replay with Mourneabbey on Sunday.
West Cork and O’Donovan Rossa’s Laura O’Mahony, Lisa Harte, Aoife Whooley and Aoife Leonard as well as the Haven’s Siobhan Courtney and Alice O’Driscoll (albeit injured) were all affected, forcing five of the six mentioned players to tog out for two county deciders in the space of 24 hours.
As for the junior C final, poor weather conditions had improved slightly at throw-in and didn’t deter Castlehaven from opening the scoring from a fine Katie Cronin effort. O’Donovan Rossa enjoyed plenty of possession during the early stages and made it count with a well-worked goal after six minutes.
Laura O’Mahony, Fiona Leonard and Triona Murphy were all involved in a move that ended with Nora Crowley finding the net from close range. Centre-back Enya Breen’s defensive brilliance ensured Castlehaven were unable to respond and Skibbereen concluded a positive spell with a second goal when Emer McCarthy thundered in
an unstoppable shot.
2-0 to 0-1 behind, Castlehaven settled and began chipping away at their opponent’s lead. A heavy pitch hampered both teams’ efforts until Siobhan Courtney burst through and split the posts to rouse her team into life.
Orla O’Sullivan followed that up with another Haven point and an overworked O’Donovan Rossa defence’s goal was finally breached deep into first half stoppage time. Rachel O’Driscoll strode up from her half-back position and arrowed a shot into the top corner to level the score 1-3 to 2-0 at the interval.
Nora Crowley raised Skibbereen’s first white flag of the county decider shortly after the restart but Katie Cronin replied from a free after Sarah O’Donovan had been fouled. There was nothing between two teams attacking at every opportunity as Laura O’Mahony and Rachel O’Driscoll efforts made it 1-5 to 2-2 heading into the final quarter.
What a hugely entertaining game lacked in quality, it more than made up for in effort and excitement as O’Donovan Rossa’s Nora Crowley lined up a free only to see her effort somehow squeeze in under the crossbar.
Skibbereen supporters were still celebrating when Castlehaven moved the ball the length of the pitch and Brianne O’Shea thundered a shot into the roof of the net to make 2-5 to 3-2.
Every supporter was on their feet during the dying embers of a memorable encounter when O’Donovan Rossa’s defence made three consecutive blocks to prevent Castlehaven from scoring a winning point. A draw was a fair result at the end of 60 breathless minutes.
Castlehaven: Rachel O’Driscoll 1-1, Brianne O’Shea 1-0, Katie Cronin 0-2 (1f), Siobhan Courtney, Orla O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
O’Donovan Rossa: Nora Crowley 2-1, Emer McCarthy 1-0, Laura O’Mahony 0-1.
Castlehaven: Diana O’Driscoll; Aideen Santry, Niamh O’Sullivan, Margaret O’Regan; Jessica McCarthy, Shelley Daly, Rachel O’Driscoll; Shelley Dineen, Siobhan Courtney (captain); Rachel Whelton, Orla O’Sullivan, Brianne O’Shea; Áine Daly, Katie Cronin, Grainne O’Sullivan.
Subs: Sarah O’Donovan for S Dineen (24), Kate Browne for B O’Shea (40), Brianne O’Shea for R O’Driscoll (41, inj), Rachel O’Driscoll for O O’Sullivan (58, inj).
O’Donovan Rossa: Aoife Leonard; Christine Fitzgerald (captain), Aoife Whooley, Eadaoin Fitzgerald; Aideen Bohane, Enya Breen, Sharon Stoutt; Lisa Harte, Deidre Connolly; Emer McCarthy, Laura O’Mahony, Triona Murphy; Fionnuala O’Driscoll, Fiona Leonard, Nora Crowley.
Subs: Kate O’Donovan for T Murphy (ht), Triona Murphy for C Fitzgerald (45), Sarah Hurley for E McCarthy (60).
Referee: Joe Larkin (Ballinora).