Coláiste Choilm 2-11
Clonakilty CC 2-10
COIS FARRAIGE REPORTS
IT was all really immaterial in the end because both sides qualified on four points for the play-off stages of the Corn Muirí (Munster colleges senior football), but Coláiste Choilm top the group by virtue of this head-to-head win and will face an easier draw in the quarter-final.
Clonakilty CC entered this game as favourites but without the influential David Lowney, on the injured list, and they could never quite overcome his absence as they depended almost totally on Ross Mannix for scores.
Whereas four of Clon’s starting forwards failed to score on the day, everyone of the Ballincollig forwards got his name on the score-sheet.
Ironically, it was the talented Mannix, scorer of seven points, four from frees, who missed the score that could have sealed this game for his side when, straight after the break with Clon a goal in front, he cut through only to shoot wide across an open goalmouth.
A six-point lead then, as they faced into the breeze, would probably have been enough to see off a game Ballincollig team, who looked a beaten side at times but never gave up the ghost, coming with a late burst of scores in the final quarter to snatch a deserved win.
Ballincollig, with inside forwards Whelan, Warren and O’Connell impressing, were the hungrier and livelier side in this contest but it looked as if Clon’s stronger football would carry the day.
It was Clon who got off to the better start, with Mannix rifling over three good points (two from frees), but after Adam O’Connell had pointed Ballincollig’s first free, the Mid Cork lads struck for the first goal in the tenth minute when Matthew Whelan fisted to the net to take the lead.
Midfielders Eoin O’Reilly and Gearóid O’Donoghue were dominant now as Ballincollig stretched their lead to three with points from Sean Warren and impressive wing forward Eoin O’Shea.
Clon, with the strong breeze, were struggling but a great individual goal from Dylan Scannell tilted the scales again and Mannix followed with a pointed free.
Midfielder Gearóid O’Donoghue pointed to level the scores for the second time but on the stroke of half time, hard-working Clon midfielder Sean Ryan finished a Mannix centre to the net and Clon were a goal in front at the break, 2-4 to 1-4.
Against the breeze, Clon started much better in the second half but the squandermania that had plagued them in the first half, kicking six wides, continued and then Mannix blazed his effort just wide.
It took impressive wing back Liam O’Connor to show the way with a pointed free but they were to rue the misses, 12 in all, before the game was over.
Whelan (free) and Mannix swapped points before Ballincollig took control midway through the second period and three points in a row from Sean Warren – whose blast for goal was superbly tipped over by goalkeeper Brian Doonan – Rob Burke and Colm O’Callaghan, cut the lead to a single point.
Ballincollig were now playing much the better football, but when Mannix relieved the pressure with a point, it appeared Clon might have weathered the storm.
It was not to be as wing forward Eoin O’Shea kicked two fine points in quick succession to level the scores with eight minutes left on the clock.
It was Ballincollig who struck for the decisive score in the 53rd minute when wing back Kevin Crowley raced through the Clon defence and set up a goal for Matthew Whelan.
Sideline mentors were busy trying to calculate who might qualify, as news came through that St Fachtna’s were winning, and Clon tried their best to redeem the point that would definitely send them through as group winners.
They did kick three points in the closing minutes, from Liam O’Connor (free), Ross Mannix and Mark White, but it wasn’t enough as a single point from a Matthew Whelan free gave Ballincollig victory by a single point, 2-11 to 2-10. In the end both qualified.
Others to do well for Ballincollig were Ross McCarthy, Fionn Warren, James Lordan and Colm O’Callaghan, while Liam O’Donovan, Ger Crowley, Mark White and Dylan Scannell impressed for a Clon side that will have to show a big improvement in work-rate and forward play if they hope to progress further in the competition.
Coláiste Choilm: Matt Whelan 2-2 (2f), Eoin O’Shea 0-3, Sean Warren 0-2, Gearóid O’Donoghue, Colm O’Callaghan, Robert Burke, Adam O’Connell (1f) 0-1 each.
Clonakilty CC: Ross Mannix 0-7 (4f), Dylan Scannell 1-0, Sean Ryan 1-0, Liam O’Connor 0-2f, Mark White 0-1.
Coláiste Choilm: Eoin Curzon (Kilmurry); William Ronan (do.), Ross McCarthy (Éire Óg), Luke Fahy (Ballincollig); Fionn Warren (Kilmurry), James Lordan (Ballinora), Kevin Crowley (Ballincollig); Eoin O’Reilly (do.), Gearóid O’Donoghue (do.); Eoin O’Shea (Éire Óg), Colm O’Callaghan (do.), Robert Burke (Ballincollig); Adam O’Connell (Inniscarra), Matthew Whelan (Ballincollig), Seán Warren (Kilmurry).
Subs used: Keith O’Riordan (Éire Óg), Brian Hurley (do.).
Clonakilty CC: Brian Doonan (Clonakilty); John Deasy (Kilmeen), David Kiely (Ibane Gaels), Jer Crowley (Ibane Gaels); Liam O’Connor (Clonakilty), Liam O’Donovan (do.), Ógie Scannell (Kilmeen); Sean Ryan (Ballinascarthy), Mark White (Clonakilty); Kevin Keohane (Kilmeen), Sean O’Donoghue (Clonakilty), Dylan Scannell (Ahán Gaels); Ross Mannix (Clonakilty), Eoin Lawton (Ibane Gaels), Joseph O’Donovan (Kilmeen).
Subs used: Shane Scannell (Kilmeen), Peter Walsh (St James).
Referee: Cathal Egan.