JOHN NEWMAN REPORTS
FOLLOWING a highly competitive and entertaining game, Clonakilty were crowned Rebel Óg Minor A football champions in their replayed final played at blustery Ballygarvan.
Eamon Walsh, the Clon manager, was very pleased with his side’s performance.
‘In difficult conditions we had to contend with a physically stronger Inniscarra outfit, and playing against the wind in the first half, we had to introduce a couple of subs to secure a grip of the game,’ Walsh said.
‘In the second half with the breeze, we began to play more direct football, and kept Inniscarra’s scoring down to two points.
‘This is a boost for football in the club. Players like trophies and hopefully they’ll stick with it and progress up the grades.’
Inniscarra, with wind assistance, made an impressive start, when within just ten seconds their towering midfielder Marc McLoughlin soloed through to point.
Padraig Holland’s shot then bounced back off the top of the upright and Eddie O’Connor’s effort rebounded off the post, to deny the Muskerry side, before Liam Ryan from a 45 put them two points clear by the seventh minute.
After two misses Clon eventually got on the scoreboard when Conor Hayes converted in the tenth minute. Inniscarra, tight in defence, responded with a brace from Evan Kelly and Liam Ryan, before Clon did likewise when sub Ian Palmer laid on for Brian White, while Dan Peet was at the end of a Jack Wycherley pass to reduce the gap, 0-4 to 0-3.
Entering the second quarter, the pace and the power of the game saw some massive movements and after a ten-minute scoreless spell, Liam Ryan from a free gave Inniscarra a 0-5 to 0-3 lead.
As the pendulum continued to swing, it was now Clon’s turn, as sub Robbie Downey and Conor Hayes put the hard-working Liam Halligan through before he was fouled inside the penalty area. From the resultant award, Dan Peet shot low to the right of the goalkeeper to put Clon ahead, 1-3 to 0-5, in the 26th minute.
Inniscarra hit back in added time with a Padraig Holland free and a Liam Ryan point to give their side a 0-7 to 1-3 lead at the break.
On the restart, Frankie Horgan gave the Muskerry lads a two-point lead, and then after Conor Hayes had pulled one back for Clon, Inniscarra’s Owen McCarthy was unlucky to see his shot inch past the left of the upright, before Bancroft levelled matters, 1-5 to 0-8, in the 46th minute.
Despite a multitude of mistakes by both sides, Inniscarra’s wing back Evan Kelly did well to pick out Padraig Holland who finished in style. Then three unanswered scores from a resurgent Clon saw Robbie Downey, Dan Peet and the point of the match from the outstanding Niall Barrett power their side in front, 1-8 to 0-9, at the 55th minute.
The West Cork side now with their bit between their teeth, and, playing with confidence, began a spell of possession football, which saw sub Adam Hunt force a close-in free in added time which Brian White duly converted to seal a hard-earned victory for his side.
Following the game, Eoin O’Connor, treasurer of Rebel Óg, presented the cup to the victorious captain Cian O’Donoghue.
Clonakilty: D Peet 1-2 (1-0 pen), C Hayes, B White 0-2 each, O Bancroft, R Downey, N Barrett 0-1 each.
Inniscarra: L Ryan 0-4 (1 45, 1f), P Holland 0-2 (1f), M McLoughlin, E Kelly, F Horgan 0-1 each.
Clonakilty: K Lyalla; E Corcoran, T O’Connell, N Barrett; D O’Sullivan, J Wycherley, C O’Donoghue; D Peet, L Halligan; R Hearne, B White, O Bancroft; F MacPeake, J Campbell, C Hayes.
Subs: T Palmer for F MacPeake, R Downey for R Hearne, A Hunt for T Palmer.
Inniscarra: J Gould; D Hughes, D Kelly, J O’Sullivan; E Kelly, C O’Leary, J O’Sullivan; S Sheehan, M McLoughlin; F Horgan, S Linehan, L Ryan; P Holland, D Kiely, E O’Connor
Subs: R Cahill for M McLoughlin, C O’Leary for S Linehan, D Church for S Sheehan.
Referee: Simon Stokes (Tullylease).