GER McCARTHY REPORTS
REIGNING Rowa/Rowex Pharma junior A football champions Kilmacabea are through to the last four of this year’s competition following victory over Castlehaven in Rosscarbery.
Kilmacabea built on a scorching start where the Carbery champions racked up 1-2 without reply and kept their opponents at arm’s length to deservedly book a semi-final berth.
Damien Gore and Daniel O’Donovan will grab the headlines but Donnacha McCarthy deserves mention for contributing to his side’s victory. Named at corner-back, McCarthy covered every blade of grass and helped form overlaps for his team mates to repeatedly exploit during an all-action 60-minute display.
As for Castlehaven, Brian Hurley, Sean Cahalane and Shane Nolan toiled hard but despite a typically gutsy effort, the losers never recovered from a disastrous start. Handing the defending champions a five-point lead was a mountain not even Castlehaven could climb on an afternoon wayward shooting also let the Haven down.
‘Everyone outside our group was all talk about Kilmacabea versus Castlehaven but we just concentrated on ourselves,’ Kilmacabea manager Noel McCarthy said.
‘This is a serious team and we can play football with the best of them. We are a championship team and you train to play football in championship games like these. Today was a big game for us and we got over the hurdle.
‘For a man of 32 or 33 years of age, Donnacha McCarthy is as fit as a fiddle. He was phenomenal for us today but it was a real squad effort, we lost a few to injuries but the lads that came in did their job. Castlehaven are a serious team too and have some great players. That’s the kind of test we wanted and needed. We will drive it on from here.’
Castlehaven did not learn from conceding an early goal in their previous JAFC encounter against Diarmuid Ó Mathúnas as Kilmacabea were allowed raise a green flag inside the opening minute. Clive Sweetnam found Damien Gore who flew past a defender and walloped the ball into the back of the net.
Gore added a point soon after and three wasted scoring opportunities at the opposite end meant a frustrated Castlehaven were 1-2 to 0-0 behind when Ian Jennings floated over another point after nine minutes.
Shane Nolan’s performance was one of the few positives Castlehaven would take from their quarter-final loss and his first score settled the Union Hall-Castletownshend club’s nerves before the corner-forward added another to make it a three-point game. Brian Hurley’s first meaningful contribution further reduced the deficit at the end of a high-octane opening quarter.
Hurley posed a constant threat but Castlehaven’s inability to release their talismanic forward – Niall Hayes deserves credit for a fine man-marking job – would prove crucial to the tie’s outcome. The Cork forward saw a deflected shot scorch over the crossbar to make it 1-2 to 0-4 on 17 minutes but Damien Gore responded with an even better point, much to the delight of the Kilmacabea supporters.
Gore and Shane Nolan exchanged scores before the former set up Richie O’Sullivan to restore Kilmac’s three-point advantage. David McCarthy raised Castlehaven hopes with a superb individual point prior to Daniel O’Donovan making his presence felt. The midfielder scored two points in a row (one free) to hand the reigning champions a 1-7 to 0-6 interval lead.
Damien Gore capitalised on excellent Daniel O’Donovan fielding to add two quick-fire points immediately after the restart. Castlehaven brought Brian Hurley further out the field and he, Sean Cahalane and Michael Dineen began to gain a foothold around the centre of the pitch. Hurley converted a free before Donnacha McCarthy capped a fine individual display with a point for Kilmacabea to make it 1-10 to 0-7 with 25 minutes remaining.
The Haven needed something special to get back into a quarter-final slipping away from them when Sean Cahalane and Brian Hurley combined to release substitute Sean Walsh who fired into the net to make it a three-point game.
A frenetic closing period saw Ian Jennings solo past two defenders and cut in from the right wing only for goalkeeper Brendan Deasy to save the Kilmacabea corner-forward’s goal-bound shot.
Niall Hayes fired over the resulting 45 to edge Kilmacabea four points clear and a superb Richie O’Sullivan effort looked to have put the game out of the Haven’s reach with five minutes to go. Damien Gore made it 1-13 to 1-7 from a close-range free and not even three late Brian Hurley (two) and Tom Beare points could deny Kilmacabea a famous win.
Kilmacabea: Damien Gore 1-5 (2f), Richie O’Sullivan 0-3, Daniel O’Donovan 0-2 (1f), Niall Hayes (45), Ian Jennings and Donnacha McCarthy 0-1 each.
Castlehaven: Brian Hurley 0-5 (2f), Shane Nolan 0-3, Sean Walsh (1-0), David McCarthy, Tom Beare 0-1 each.
Kilmacabea: Matthew O’Neill; Declan O’Sullivan, Niall Hayes (captain), Darren Whooley; Donie O’Donovan, Martin Collins, Sam O’Driscoll; Daniel O’Donovan, Clive Sweetnam; Donnacha McCarthy, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Dan Lynch; Richie O’Sullivan, Damien Gore, Ian Jennings.
Subs: Joseph Collins for D Lynch (40), Mark Jennings for D O’Sullivan (43, inj), Liam Thompson for C Sweetnam (45, inj), Ciarán O’Donovan for S O’Driscoll (50, inj), Timmy Nyhan for R O’Sullivan (59).
Castlehaven: Brendan Deasy; Stephen Collins, Tomás O’Leary, David Whelton; James Davis, David McCarthy, Daniel O’Mahony; Rory Maguire, Michael Dineen; Alan Cahalane, Sean Cahalane, Daniel Hegarty; Stephen Hurley (captain), Brian Hurley, Shane Nolan.
Subs: Sean Walsh for R Maguire (ht), Kevin O’Donovan for A Cahalane (ht), Colin O’Driscoll for D Hegarty (40), Tom Beare for S Hurley (50), Liam Browne for T O’Leary (59).
Referee: Alan Long (Argideen Rangers).