Brave decision to re-grade 2018 B team to A grade pays off as Cloughduv juggernaut is flying
Eire Óg 0-11
AUBERT TWOMEY REPORTS
CLOUGHDUV’S hurling rise shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The club’s great run of victories continues and on Tuesday evening at Macroom a determined performance gave them a somewhat surprise triumph over neighbours Éire Óg in the Mid Cork junior A hurling final.
Last season Cloughduv captured a junior hurling county title for the first time since 1970 while at U21 level in Muskerry they ended a 27-year wait for an outright championship success. This season their promoted intermediate team are still in the county championship but it is their second choice adult team who are making us all sit up and take notice.
The club’s second choice team failed last season to win the junior B hurling championship but this season the club made a brave decision to enter them in the division’s premier hurling championship.
The players representing them set out to retain the junior A divisional crown for the club and they certainly vindicated the decision to participate in the top grade on Tuesday. Eire Óg were also represented by their second choice squad but they appeared to have slightly better talent at their disposal and they entered the fray as slight favourites.
Host club Macroom, true to form, had everything in readiness for the fray but unfortunately the rain that fell before the match and during some of the exchanges created problems for the players. Nevertheless, their enthusiasm never waned and the closeness of the scoring kept the large attendance entertained for the hour.
Éire Óg were first to score when Ronan O’Toole – who was listed to play at left half forward but commenced the game at midfield – put a point on the board in the opening minute. That was not a signal for an early Éire Óg dominance however, as good defending by the Cloughduv defence, where experienced players like Liam Long and Donal Cronin were particularly prominent, ensured nothing easy was conceded.
Darragh Walsh from a free equalised for Cloughduv in the fifth minute and it was appearing likely that scoring was going to be a premium level. Eoin Lyons from a 65 scored a second point for Éire Óg in the ninth minute but Aodh Twomey immediately equalised for Cloughduv.
A point from a long-range free by Lyons regained the lead for Éire Óg in the 12th minute. But the rest of the opening half was encouraging for Cloughduv. After Darragh Walsh scored a point in the 16th minute, 60 seconds later they secured a morale-boosting goal. A determined solo run goalwards by Jack Kelleher put pressure on the Éire Óg defence and he transferred the sliotar to Con Dunne at the opportune time. The latter found the net as Cloughduv’s stock soared. Three points followed, two from Darragh Walsh and one from Luke Elliot, so there was now clear daylight between the sides.
Sean Desmond got a point back for Éire Óg before the interval but Cloughduv, leading 1-6 to 0-4, were in a happy position at the interval.
The Éire Óg mentors were obviously in an anxious mood at the interval and they introduced one of the club’s leading hurlers, who is recovering from injury, for the restart. The player in question, Colm O’Callaghan, appeared likely to make a significant impact and Cloughduv could be under pressure.
Éire Óg raced into the attack following the resumption and a point from Sean Desmond reduced the arrears. O’Callaghan won a free two minutes later which was converted by Eoin Lyons, so a goal separated the sides. Two points from Jack Kelleher took some of the pressure off of Cloughduv however and even though 20 minutes remained there was now a good chance that they would upset the form-book.
Éire Óg then hit a good scoring period, and three points from frees by Lyons and an O’Callaghan point from play reduced the arrears to the minimum. The final quarter had now arrived and another Eoin Lyons point from a placed ball tied the scores so Éire Óg now had the initiative.
Cloughduv had other ideas however and two points from Kelleher had them on the road to victory with five minutes remaining. They moved further ahead when substitute Aidan Ahern converted a free. Time was now running out for Eire Óg. Eoin Lyons converted another free for them however so their opponents had still reason for worry.
The hard-working Cloughduv attack then won another free and Jack Kelleher was the taker on this occasion and he increased their points lead to three. Cloughduv were well in control in the final minutes and they squandered two gilt-edged goal scoring opportunities, which would have given them a really convincing victory.
Cloughduv: Jack Kelleher 0-5 (3f); Darragh Walsh 0-4 (2f); Con Dunne 1-0; Aodh Twomey, Luke Elliot, Aidan Ahern (f) 0-1 each.
Eire Óg: Eoin Lyons 0-8 (7f, 1 65); Sean Desmond 0-2; Ronan O’Toole, Colm O’Callaghan 0-1 each.
Cloughduv: Conrad Crowley; Kevin McNamara, Liam Long, Luke McCarthy; Tony Dineen, Donal Cronin, Sean Curzon; Aodh Twomey, Michael Dunne; Darragh Walsh, Ciarán Canty, Jack Kelleher; Kevin Walsh, Con Dunne, Luke Elliot.
Subs: Eoin Curzon for Luke McCarthy, Aidan Ahern for Darragh Walsh, Con Lehane for Luke Elliot.
Eire Óg: Conor Keane; Sean O’Flynn, John Kelleher, Donncha Kelly; Cian O’Mahony, Tim O’Leary, Aidan O’Mahony; Cathal Mullins, Sean Desmond; Michael O’Shea, Darragh McCarthy, Ronan O’Toole; Fintan Brennan, Eoin Lyons, Jerome Kelleher.
Subs: Colm O’Callaghan for Fintan Brennan, Denny Murphy for Cathal Mullins, John Dineen for Jerome Kelleher.