JOHNNY CAROLAN REPORTS
CLONAKILTY and Newcestown both remain in with a chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC after Joe Grimes’ late equaliser gave Clon a draw at Bandon.
With time running out, it looked like last year’s beaten finalists might be eliminated with a game still remaining, setting Newcestown up for a winner-take-all tie against Castlehaven.
However, Grimes was on hand to tie the match and Clon might have even won but late opportunities weren’t taken.
It means that both sides’ chances are slim – Clon face Nemo Rangers in their final match – but they are still alive, while the results could also be beneficial in avoiding the relegation play-off.
Though they were denied victory, Newcestown manager Tim Buckley was proud of his team, who trailed by four points in the first half, while at the same time lamenting the demands that the round-robin format places on dual clubs.
‘We’ve a very young team there,’ he said.
‘We’ve only one man over 30, Tadhg Twomey, and the rest are in their 20s. I'm very proud of them.
‘Clonakilty are the home of football in West Cork, and they were in a county final last year. I know they’re down one or two players, but we could say the same. We were playing hurling last week, and for us, as a dual club, playing six matches in seven weeks – as a club, we’ll have to sit down and make a decision, which game we’re going to play going forward.
‘It’s impossible, we’ve only the same panel of 24 and last week, two fellas suffered broken bones playing hurling and there was a pulled hamstring before that in the football.
‘It’s very difficult on the dual clubs, and very few of them are doing it – a lot are only paying lip-service to hurling.
‘I think the county board has got to give us a break.’
With the game slipping from them in the first half, Newcestown did well to take advantage after a black card for Odhran Bancroft saw Clon reduced to 14 players shortly before half-time.
They trailed by 0-6 to 0-2 after Gearóid Barry pointed for Clon on 29 minutes, with Brian White having been on form for the leading side up to then and his brother Mark came forward from his goalkeeping position to fire a goal attempt wide early on.
However, by half-time Newcestown – missing the presence of the injured Sean O’Donovan at midfield – had halved the deficit thanks to points from the impressive Edmund Kenneally and Tadhg Twomey and they drove on further after the restart.
When Twomey was fouled after good work from backs Micheál McSweeney and James Kelleher in bringing the ball up the field, Kenneally landed the free and then they moved ahead thanks to a goal.
Gearóid O’Donovan, an All-Ireland U20 winner with Cork, was barely off the plane from America when he was introduced at half-time but he made a big impact and he linked with McSweeney to set up Jack Meade for a close-range finish.
Clon improved after they were back to 15 and might have moved back in front as Grimes set up Conor Daly but Murt Kennelly’s good block denied him.
Edmund Kenneally’s fifth point of the day made it 1-7 to 0-8 for Newecestown on 41, but Clon looked to have gained the upper hand again as they came back with three unanswered points.
First, Mark White’s expertly placed long kickout was won by Bancroft for a mark, allowing Ridgeway to set up Brian White for his sixth point.
They were level when Barry, Daly and Maurice Shanley combined for sub Chris Kenneally to point with his first touch. White’s seventh had them back in front but, as so often, Newcestown refused to yield.
Niall Kelly and Kenneally worked the ball to Jack Meade for a levelling score and they were back in front as Meade turned provider for sub Olan Walsh to have an immediate impact.
However, Clon weren’t done. Grimes, who had been brought off and on again, levelled in the 61st minute and the clock was showing 63 when Mark White’s crossfield pass found Thomas Clancy, who worked it on to Barry. He was fouled and Brian White had a chance to win it but couldn’t find the target and the sides had to be content with a point each.
It means that Newcestown’s fate is still largely in their own hands, with Buckley hopeful that injuries can clear up.
‘We’re looking forward to playing the Haven below in Rossmore,’ he said.
‘Gearóid came home from the States last night, he was over on a J1 visa, and we have a few more injuries but we’d hope to have them back.
‘We brought on five subs against Clon and every one of them – every one of them – put up their hands to be playing the next day.
‘We’ve a hard job as a management to pick a team.’
Clonakilty: Brian White 0-7 (5f); Ben Ridgeway, Gearóid Barry, David Lowney, Chris Kenneally, Joe Grimes 0-1 each.
Newcestown: Edmund Kenneally 0-5 (2f); Jack Meade 1-1; Tadhg Twomey, Olan Walsh 0-1 each.
Clonakilty: Mark White; Daniel Peet, Thomas Clancy, Maurice Shanley; David O’Sullivan, Eoghan Deasy, David Lowney; Ben Ridgeway, Joe Grimes; Jack O’Mahony, Gearóid Barry, Odhran Bancroft; Conor Daly, Ross Mannix, Brian White.
Subs: C Kenneally for Grimes (44), D Murphy for Mannix (46), Grimes for Bancroft (57).
Newcestown: Christopher White; Murt Kennelly, James Kelleher, Micheál McSweeney; Seamus O’Sullivan, Cian Twomey, Richard O’Sullivan; Eoghan Collins, Luke Meade; Niall Kelly, David Buckley, Jack Meade; Edmund Kenneally, Tadhg Twomey, Daire McAree.
Subs: Fionn Keane for Seamus O’Sullivan (7, inj), Séamus O’Sullivan for Buckley (18, injured), Gearóid O’Donovan for McAree (half-time), Olan Walsh for Seamus O’Sullivan (42), Conor O’Neill for Kelly (55).
Referee: David Murnane (Macroom).