WHILE Clonakilty Community College will be clear underdogs for Saturday’s Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final against St Brendan’s College, there is at least the consolation that they are going in on an upward curve.
Having lost heavily to Brendan’s in the group stage in November, Clon could have wilted ahead of their last game, against IS Killorglin. However, they bounced back impressively and a 0-17 to 0-3 win secured their place in the quarter-final stages.
As a group runner-up, Clon had to face a side which had topped their section and the draw paired them with Bandon’s Hamilton High School, who had seen off the holders Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Skibbereen Community School and Macroom’s De La Salle.
Playing with the wind in the first half, Clon only led by a point, 0-4 to 0-3, at half-time and then they conceded the first two scores of the second half. However, from there they produced a battling performance and eventually ran out winners on a scoreline of 1-7 to 0-5.
Showing the necessary character to get the win was what was most pleasing for manager Micheál O’Sullivan after that game, the way that his team dealt with the challenge in front of them and didn’t panic.
‘Particularly in the last ten minutes, when the right decisions needed to be made,’ he said.
‘I’d say they learned as they went too, they’re a very good group of footballers. They’re still a developing group but they’re improving every game they go out.
‘We’re looking forward to the semi-final, we’ll have a rattle at that too and see what comes of it.’
Wing-back Ciarán O’Neill got the goal in the quarter-final in Newcestown, the strike coming right at the death to firmly extinguish Bandon’s hopes.
It was just reward for a marauding display by the Ballinascarthy man, while Brian White – younger brother of Cork stars Mark and Seán – and JP Eady both contributed two points, providing strong impact at important stages in the game.
Brian Deasy and Dan Peet were excellent in a full-back line that has now conceded just seven points over the past two games but which is likely to be firmly tested by Brendan’s, who were made to work by Tralee CBS before eventually prevailing by 2-17 to 3-9.
That they conceded three goals will hearten Clon, who will be looking to Ciarán Nyhan to influence the game heavily from midfield. Being underdogs may well suit them and while a Clon win may seem unlikely, it’s by no means impossible.