Deadly Darragh scores 4-7 as South West champs capture county title
Erins Own 3-12
By Noel Horgan
HAVING made a clean sweep of the major titles in the south-west, Kilmeen capped a richly rewarding season with a victory over Erins Own in the county junior A hurling league final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
It was an historic triumph, as was pointed out by elated Kilmeen manager Timmy O’Brien, who lauded the players and team coach Ger Manley for what has been achieved over the past 12 months.
‘To win our first-ever county title at junior A level is beyond our wildest dreams, and it puts the icing on the cake for us,’ O’Brien remarked.
‘We felt we were very unlucky to lose to Russell Rovers in the championship semi-final, so it says a lot for Ger’s motivating qualities and these lads’ character that they put that disappointment behind them to go on and win the league.
‘I thought we played very well tonight, although Erins Own didn’t make it easy for us, but we got a a couple of great goals at the three-quarter stage which more or less settled the issue.’
Never headed at any stage, Kilmeen managed to remain in front until the finish after a quick brace of delightful points by Liam O’Brien left them leading by 0-3 to 0-1 inside eight minutes.O’Brien and Ogie Scannell, who, fed by Josh O’Donovan, scored a fine goal in the 15th minute, were most impressive up front before the break, at the end of which Kilmeen led by 1-7 to 0-6.
Having played into a stiff breeze, it seemed as if they had laid the foundations for victory in the first half, and when impressive midfielder Dylan Coffey and Scannell both pointed shortly after the restart, the signs grew increasingly ominous for Erins Own.
The gutsy East-Cork men were in no mood to succumb tamely however, cutting the gap to three points before Darragh Coakley converted a free for Kilmeen in the 43rd minute.
Coakley, taking a pass from Liam O’Brien, added a superb goal a minute later, but again Erins Own responded admirably, with William Fenton rattling the net at the other end almost immediately.
Switched to full forward to great effect, Coakley bagged two more goals, the first following great work by substitute Sean Reale, to leave Kilmeen leading by 4-12 to 1-10 with 13 minutes remaining.
The deal looked done and dusted at that juncture, but Erins Own refused to give up the fight.
After a goal from Linehan kept the losers’ hopes flickering, Kilmeen couldn’t afford to breathe easily until Darragh Coakley made it 5-12 to 2-12 with another three-pointer in the 59th minute.
Coakley really made his mark in the last quarter, while Ogie Scannell, Dylan Coffey, Brian O’Donovan, who excelled at centre-back in the first half, Kevin Keohane and Jonathan Deasy were others to make especially generous contributions to Kilmeen’s win.
Goalkeeper Aidan O’Shea also proved his worth with a few fine saves, but he could do nothing to prevent substitute Tim Foley from grabbing a late consolation goal for Erins Own, who had been reduced to 14 players after full back Alan Hayden was red-carded in the 57th minute.
Kilmeen: D Coakley 4-7 (6f), O Scannell 1-2, L O’Brien 0-2, D Coffey, D O’Donovan (f) 0-1 each.
Erins Own: C Linehan 1-9 (8f, 1 65), W Fenton, T Foley 1-0 each, C Forde 0-2, P Kelly 0-1.
Kilmeen: A O’Shea; B Keohane, J Deasy, S Deasy; K Keohane, B O’Donovan, J Clancy; R Collins, D Coffey; O Scannell, D McSweeney, D Coakley; J O’Donovan, L O’Brien, D O’Gorman. Subs: S Reale for O’Gorman (39), S Scannell for O’Brien (46), M O’Donovan for J O’Donovan (54), M Mennis for McSweeney (55), D O’Donovan for Coakley (60).
Erins Own: K Murphy; D Casey, A Hayden, N Fuohy; C O’Regan, R O’Carroll, E Leahy; J Ryan, C McNamara; C Linehan, P Kelly, C Forde, C Heavey, W Fenton, G O’Mahony.
Subs: K Bowen for Fuohy (37), C Leahy for Casey (49), T Foley for Forde (55).
Referee: T O’Brien (Ballygarvan).