Bantry Blues 2-19
TOM LYONS REPORTS
THEY came, they saw and they conquered. Bantry Blues may have entered this game as outsiders but they were the dominant force in this RCM Tarmacadam junior hurling B final and were full value for their ten-point win.
Bantry’s blistering start in Enniskeane saw them lead early on by 1-4 to nil, courtesy of a cracking goal from man-of-the-match Tim Foley in the eighth minute. The Blues’ half-time lead of 1-10 to 0-4 meant that Kilbrittain had a mountain to climb in the second half.
In the second half, with the advantage of the slight breeze, Kilbrittain lifted their game but for every score they put on the board, Bantry responded in kind to keep a sizeable gap between the teams.
‘We are delighted with this win,’ said Bantry manager Joe O’Donnell, the driving force between this recent upsurge in Bantry hurling.
‘We hit the ground running and put those early scores on the board. The start was better than anything we hoped for and I think the big pitch here suited us as we’re a big team who like to move the ball around.
‘The boys were ready for it. I asked them during the week to concentrate totally on this game and to give it everything and that’s what they did from the very start. Tim’s (Foley) free-taking was immaculate. He’s in Dublin and we only see him for matches. Shane O’Neill and Ronan O’Mahony were carrying injuries but gave incredible performances.’
Before Kilbrittain realised the game was on, they found themselves four points in arrears when midfielder.
Ronan McCarthy, whose catching of the high ball was spectacular all through, Shane Murray, Cathal McCarthy and full forward Tim Foley (free) rifled over quick-fire points for the Blues. Rampant Bantry struck a massive blow in the eighth minute when Foley crashed the ball to the Kilbrittain net and the Blues were seven to the good.
Shell-shocked Kilbrittain finally began to get a grip on proceedings and three points in a row, from Patrick O’Mahony (two frees) and lively full forward Alan Hayes, closed the gap to four. Following a Foley point from a free Bantry led by 1-5 to 0-3 at the end of the first quarter, and were grateful to reliable goalkeeper John Connolly for a fine save from Hayes.
The Blues re-asserted their authority in the second quarter with Robyn McCarthy, Kevin Coakley, Eoghan Minihane and Seanie O’Leary back-boning a very solid defence. Up front there was no holding Tim Foley, Jimmy O’Leary and Shane O’Neill as ace free-taker Foley split the posts from four frees and hard-working brother, Billy, at midfield, had one from play.
Ciaran Byrne had Kilbrittain’s only reply before Tim Foley closed the first-half scoring from a free. It was Bantry, faster, livelier, harder and hungrier, ahead 1-10 to 0-4 at half time.
The second half saw Kilbrittain finally lifting their game to the required height as impressive wing back Josh O’Donovan, opened the scoring with a good point. Back came Bantry with a point from Foley and even though Patrick O’Mahony found the range for the Black and Amber from play and a free, Bantry responded again with points from Foley (two frees) and classy corner forward Shane O’Neill.
Another O’Mahony free made it 1-14 to 0-9 at the end of the third quarter, but Bantry upped their intensity in the final quarter and had points from O’Neill (2), Jimmy O’Leary, Billy Foley and Ruairí Deane, in reply to three from Kilbrittain’s Josh O’Donovan, Conor O’Donovan and O’Mahony.
Cork senior footballer Ruairí Deane roared into the game in the dying minutes and, following his point, he responded to a late goal from Kilbrittain’s Alan Hayes by cutting through for a spectacular goal in injury time.
Bantry Blues: Tim Foley 1-9 (8f); Ruairí Deane 1-1; Shane O’Neill 0-3; Billy Foley 0-2; Ronan O’Mahony, Cathal McCarthy, Jimmy O’Leary, Shane Murray 0-1 each.
Kilbrittain: Patrick O’Mahony 0-6 (5f); Alan Hayes 1-1; Josh O’Donovan 0-2; Conor O’Donovan, Ciarán Byrne 0-1 each.
Bantry Blues: John Connolly; Robyn McCarthy, Kevin Coakley, Connie O’Leary; Stephen Coughlan, Seanie O’Leary, Eoghan Minihane; Billy Foley, Ronan O’Mahony; Cathal McCarthy, Jimmy O’Leary, Ruairí Deane; Shane Murray, Tim Foley, Shane O’Neill.
Subs: Jack McCarthy for S Coughlan (42), Kevin Casey for S Murray (42), James Crowley for S O’Neill (58), M Barry for C McCarthy (58), Gerdi Barry for E Minihane (60).
Kilbrittain: Ian Hodge; Eoghan Byrne, John Murphy, James O’Donovan; Maurice Fielding, Ivan Burke, Josh O’Donovan; Sam Shorten, Jerry Coughlan; Patrick O’Mahony, Conor O’Donovan, Dylan Twohig; Darragh Hayes, Alan Hayes, Ciarán Byrne.
Subs: Gavin Hodge for D Hayes (35), Darragh Considine for J Coughlan (53), Jerry Coughlan for P O’Mahony (57).
Referee: Connie Murphy (Kilbree).