TOM LYONS REPORTS
HARD work on and off the pitch finally paid off for Carbery when they ousted UCC from the Bons Secours premier senior football championship in Macroom on Wednesday evening.
Without a win for a number of seasons, and beaten by UCC on a couple of occasions, Carbery made a huge effort this season under Tim Buckley and his management team and three wins put them into this inter-divisional semi-final against the students in a confident mood.
However, a college side made up of eight from Cork, six from Kerry and one from Limerick, looked the better side in the first half, a goal from ace forward Dylan Geaney in the 14th minute putting them four points in front. Geaney was the main tormentor of the Carbery defence, putting his name on 1-6 over the hour. Gallant Carbery hung on despite many of their attacks breaking down near the UCC goal and by half time they were only two in arrears, 1-8 to 0-9.
With better tabs being kept on the rampant Geaney, and with the Carbery full-back line absolutely outstanding, the South West division began to put their game together in the third quarter. Unfortunately, a rare defensive error by Carbery when a single point separated the sides, saw UCC pouncing for their second goal in the 45th minute. Sean O’Connor, whose fielding was causing problems for the Carbery backs, was the scorer.
There is a steely backbone to this Carbery outfit and within two minutes, following a point from the outstanding Brian O’Driscoll, they were back on level terms when Brian O’Driscoll’s free broke in the UCC goalmouth and Paddy O’Driscoll, whose burst of speed were causing the UCC defence all kinds of problems, was in the right spot to rifle the ball to the net.
All square, 1-13 to 2-10, with 12 minutes left on the clock, Carbery were going from strength to strength, with subs off the bench playing a vital part. It was sub Keith O’Driscoll who shot the lead point and attacking wing back Ger O’Callaghan doubled the lead after a superb team move. The dangerous O’Connor responded for UCC but the crucial moment arrived in the 55th minute when Keith O’Driscoll was fouled in the college square and Brian O’Driscoll crashed the penalty to the net.
Strong full forward Aaron Hayes stretched the lead to five and there was no catching Carbery in the dying minutes, with the full back line of Brian Everard, Ben Murphy and Dylan Scannell unbeatable. It was fitting that it was flying corner back Scannell who fisted the last point for Carbery and there was great rejoicing in the Carbery camp at having at last lowered the skull and crossbones flag.
While Carbery struggled to get their game together in the first half, digging deep to stay in touch with a bigger, stronger college side, their display in the second half was out of the top drawer and a lot of junior players grew into seniors during the hour. Midfielder Brian O’Driscoll was the hero of the hour, his inspiring play driving on the team as he accounted for 1-9. He got great assistance from his strong partner, Seán Ryan. As said already, the full back line, in front of reliable goalkeeper Cian Ryan was the anchor of the side while wing backs Rory O’Connor and Ger O’Callaghan used their attacking skills to great effect.
It took the Carbery attack a while to click but in Ruairí Deane and Aaron Hayes, they had two very strong central men, while Paddy O’Driscoll was a flier on the wing and Colm O’Driscoll played most of the hour in an excellent defensive role. Sub Keith O’Driscoll made a big impression.
‘It was always going to be a tough battle,’ said a delighted Carbery manager Tim Buckley.
‘We’ll be playing Duhallow now in the final. They have been the standard bearers in divisional football for the last ten years. We need to test ourselves against the best and we will certainly get a game from Duhallow.’
Scorers - Carbery: Brian O’Driscoll 1-9 (1-0 pen, 6f, 1 45); Paddy O’Driscoll 1-0; Aaron Hayes 0-3; Ger O’Callaghan, Ruairí Deane (2f) 0-2 each; Keith O’Driscoll, Dylan Scannell 0-1 each. UCC: Dylan Geaney 0-7 (3f), Seán O’Connor 1-4 (1f), Niall Geaney, Cathal Ó Beaglaoich 0-1 each.
Carbery: Cian Ryan (Ballinascarthy); Brian Everard (St Mary’s), Ben Murphy (St Colum’s), Dylan Scannell (St Mary’s); Rory O’Connor (do.), Killian O’Brien (Gabriel Rangers), Ger O’Callaghan (do.); Seán Ryan (Ballinascarthy), Brian O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCárthaigh); Paddy O’Driscoll (Gabriel Rangers), Ruairí Deane (Bantry Blues), Ogie Scannell (Kilmeen); Colm O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCárthaigh), Aaron Hayes (St. James), Seán Daly (Randal Óg). Subs: Keith O’Driscoll (Gabriel Rgs.) for O. Scannell (40), James O’Regan (Gabriel Rgs.) for S Daly (40).
UCC: Gavin Creedon (Kilshannig); Eoin Fitzgerald (Gneeveguilla), Neil Lordan (Ballinora), Jonathan Rosales (Castletownbere); Seán Desmond (Clondrohid), Bill Curtin (Kilshannig), Darragh Holland (Argideen Rangers); Ciarán Nyhan (Ballinascarthy), Niall Geaney (An Daingean); Ciarán O’Sullivan (Kilshannig), Dylan Geaney (An Daingean), Seán O’Connor (Clonmel); Fergal O’Brien (St. Pat’s, Blennerville), Cathal Ó Beaglaoich (An Gaeltacht), Killian Falvey (Annascaul).
Subs: Rory Murphy (Listry) for C. O’Sullivan (ht), Alan Dineen (Rathmore) for N Geaney (35), Ian Jennings (Kilmacabea) for C Nyhan (50), Michael O’Neill (Buttevant) for F O’Brien (62).
Referee: David Murnane (Macroom).