Sport

Clon and Dohenys battle for place in South West final

April 8th, 2017 1:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Evasive action: Clonakilty's Adam O'Brien turns away from the challenge of Ahán Gaels' Alan O'Sullivan during the Clona Milk U21 A FC quarter-final at Dunmanway.(Photo: Paddy Feen)

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BY TOM LYONS

 

AFTER many delays due to weather and Cork U21 footballers, the South West U21A football championship has reached the serious stages. 

Under the new county board U21A football championship, the four semi-finalists from Carbery will advance to the county stages. Already qualified are Newcestown, Clonakilty and Dohenys, all of whom have reached the South West semi-final stage. 

Castlehaven and Kilmeen drew their quarter final on Sunday last and will replay this Sunday in Drimoleague to see who goes through.

Despite four teams qualifying for the county championship, the South West championship still retains a premier position here in Carbery and the concluding stages should produce some great football.

Clonakilty will meet Dohenys in the first semi-final this Saturday, while the winner of the Castlehaven v Kilmeen quarter-final replay will advance to play Newcestown in the second semi-final.

U21A FC semi-final

Clonakilty v Dohenys,

Saturday, Enniskeane, 5pm  

Clonakilty, winners of three-in-a-row (2013-2015), have played two games in this year’s championship and shown mixed form to date. They started very well against O’Donovan Rossa in the first round and led by eight points after a Paul O’Regan goal shortly after the break but when completely on top they conceded two goals to Skibb’s Eoin O’Connell and were happy to see the final whistle, winning 1-12 to 2-6. In the quarter final they had a very easy win over a disappointing Ahán Gaels, 4-13 to 0-2, despite the absence of injured star forward Ross Mannix. The goals came from Sean McEvoy, David Lowney and Adam O’Brien.

Dohenys had only one outing to date, accounting for champions Ilen Rovers, 2-7 to 0-11, in the quarter-final last Sunday. A narrow two-point win – see match report below – was enough to see them through to the semi-final as they bid for their first title since 2000.

Clon will look to their five former county minors, David Lowney, Tiarnán O’Connell, Sean McEvoy, Mark White and Liam O’Donovan, to lead their challenge again but they had only O’Donovan on the Cork U21 panel this season, whereas Dohenys have three Cork U21 players to call on – Sean Hayes is rock solid at full back, Eoin Lavers very competitive at centre back and up front Mark Buckley is the key man and top scorer.

Dohenys play a fast lively, open brand of football but are not the most physical side in the championship, whereas Clon play a slower, more calculated game and possess some very tall players in vital positions, especially at midfield where Mark White and Paul O’Regan are both touching six foot four inches. If Clon win the midfield battle, against a lively Johhny Kelly and Cathal O’Donovan, then they will be able to keep the ball away from the lethal Buckley, who has the potential to win this semi-final on his own if he gets enough possession.

 

 

U21A FC quarter-final replay

Castlehaven v Kilmeen,  

Sunday, Drimoleague, 3.30pm 

These two teams provided tremendous entertainment on Sunday last when playing out a draw after extra time, 1-11 to 0-14. 

Kilmeen looked the physically-stronger side and the Haven struggled in the first half before staging a good comeback after the break. 

County hero Michael Hurley was quiet by his standards and more will be expected of him on Sunday. Ronan Walsh, Conor Nolan, Conor Cahalane, Cathal Maguire and Ryan Foley will again lead the Haven challenge while Kilmeen will again look to the Scannells, Shane and Ogie, Damien O’Gorman, Darren Santry, the Keohanes, Brian and Kevin, Liam O’Brien and Jonathan Deasy to continue where they left off in the drawn game.

Much will depend on how the teams have recovered from the tough, exhausting drawn encounter and how they fare with injuries but the experience gained by the Kilmeen side could be vital this time.

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