O’Donovan Rossa 2-11
Owen Gaels 3-7
TOM LYONS REPORTS
TEN points behind after 15 minutes, O’Donovan Rossa staged a marvellous comeback, not once but twice, to win this thrilling Rebel Óg West U14 B1 football final replay in cold but dry Clonakilty.
If the drawn game, which went to extra time, was a cracker, this replay was thrill-a-minute excitement and it was a pity there had to be a loser.
Rossas led when it mattered, at the final whistle, with second-half hero Isaac Harte kicking the winning point in the 61st minute. Brave Owen Gaels had one last chance to grab a well-deserved draw but a last-gasp free flew wide of the posts.
Rossas grabbed the lead in the second minute with a point from impressive full forward Feidhlim O’Donovan, but the rest of the first quarter belonged to rampant Gaels. With Finn Moroney driving them forward from midfield and full forward Ciarán Hurley causing havoc inside, the Gaels piled up the scores with points from Hurley, play and free, Eoin Ferguson (2) and wing back Daniel Twomey.
Then two cracking goals in the space of three minutes from Sean Crowley and the flying Dion O’Connor had the Ballinascarthy/St Oliver Plunkett’s combination a massive ten points to the good after only 15 minutes. James O’Brien, Daniel Twomey, Aaron Ryan, Conor Ryan, Sean Crowley, Eoin Ferguson and Dion O’Connor were others to impress for the Gaels during their period of dominance.
Youth is nothing if not resilient and the second quarter saw the Skibbereen boys battle their way back into contention as the Gaels failed to add another score in that second quarter. With midfielders, Jack O’Brien and Isaac Harte, grabbing control, well supported by centre back Jason Knott, and centre forward James O’Neill making some great runs through the centre, Rossas began to close the gap.
Points from Feidhlim O’Donovan, Darragh Dempsey and Shane Casey showed the way and when O’Brien and O’Neill cut through for two goals shortly before the break, the lead was down to a single point, an amazing comeback.
It was 2-5 to 2-4 in the Gaels’ favour at half time and again it was the eastern lads who got off to a flier in the second half when Eoin Ferguson pointed and the lethal Ciarán Hurley rattled the net with a superb solo and cute lob. A minute later the same player drove wide across the goalmouth and it was to be the first of three clear goal misses by the Gaels that were to cost them dearly in the end.
Points from midfielder Isaac Harte, who thundered into the game in the second half, and O’Brien cut the lead to a single goal but Hurley stretched it to four points again in the 43rd minute. Just as in the first half, the Gaels weren’t to score again in the half as stronger Rossas set about reducing the four-point lead in the final quarter.
Amid great excitement Isaac Harte (free), Feidhlim O’Donovan, Harte from play and James O’Neill brought the sides level by the 55th minute.
However, in the meantime the Gaels had lost two great chances of goals when Darragh McCarthy’s effort came back off the crossbar and Hurley blazed narrowly wide across the square.
Those misses, and a few other wides, were to come back to haunt the young Gaels in the closing minutes as both sides fought tooth and nail for the winning score and it was Rossa’s who produced it in the 61st minute when Isaac Harte pointed a 35-metre free to win the game for his side.
Hats off to two marvellous young teams who produced two nights of wonderful football and excitement in front of large crowds. The pity was there had to be a loser.
Also full marks to referee, Patrick Hurley of Clonakilty for his sensible handling of the game all through.
O’Donovan Rossa: James O’Neill, Jack O’Brien 1-1 each, Isaac Harte 0-4 (2f), Feidhlim O’Donovan 0-3 (1f), Shane Casey, Darragh Dempsey 0-1 each.
Owen Gaels: Ciarán Hurley 1-3 (1f), Sean Crowley, Dion O’Connor 1-0 each, Eoin Ferguson 0-3, Daniel Twomey 0-1.
O’Donovan Rossa: Darragh Coombes; Luca Harte, Luke O’Connell, Mark Keating; Christopher Benn, Jason Knott, Keith McCarthy; Isaac Harte, Jack O’Brien; Shane Casey, James O’Neill, Darragh Dempsey; Dylan Hourihane, Feidhlim O’Donovan, Sam Nallen.
Subs: Eoin Murphy for S Casey (55), Jack Grace for M Keating (55).
Owen Gaels: Tadhg O’Neill; Rory Phayer, James O’Brien, Eoin O’Driscoll; Daniel Twomey, Aaron Ryan, Colm O’Brien; Finn Moroney, Conor Ryan; Eoin Barrett, Eoin Ferguson, Sean Crowley; Dion O’Connor, Ciarán Hurley, Darragh McCarthy.
Sub: Tim Lucey for Eoin Barrett (ht).
Referee: Patrick Hurley (Clon).