Conor Calnan scored an injury-time winning goal in an epic Rebel Óg West minor A hurling final replay
Owen Gaels 0-13
TOM LYONS REPORTS
STAR midfielder Conor Calnan scored a last-gasp injury-time winning goal in an epic Rebel Óg West Region minor A hurling final replay in Barryroe.
With the last puck of the game, Calnan grabbed a lobbed 65 from Bandon captain Ciarán McCarthy before turning and firing a bullet to the Gaels’ net from 25 metres.
‘Yes, we certainly got out of jail,’ admitted Bandon mentor Joe Burke.
‘We were poor in the first half, our forwards weren’t working hard enough and the ball was coming back out too easily. We had a few words at half time and the players upped the work rate in the second half.
‘We did get that late goal to win but we had four poor wides just before that, which could have sealed it. The goals were all vital, came at just the right time.’
A strong diagonal wind somewhat spoiled the game and with the advantage in the first half, the Gaels got off to the better start when points from Padraig Cullinane and Cian McCarthy saw them leading by 0-4 to 0-1, Bandon’s sole reply coming from ace free-taker Aidan O’Mahony.
Outstanding centre forward Dave McCarthy made it a four-point gap, with county U17 stars, Ronan McCarthy and Ciarán Nyhan, along with Tristan Walsh and Dave McCarthy, dominating the middle third of the pitch.
Struggling Bandon’s first lifeline arrived in the 15th minute when full forward Olan McSweeney rifled a rasper of a ground strike to the Gaels’ net and when O’Mahony followed with a pointed free, it was all square and the Gaels’ good start was neutralised.
Shell-shocked Gaels didn’t bow the head and points from frees from Cian McCarthy and Ciarán Nyhan had them two ahead again by half time, 0-7 to 1-2.
That lead seemed far from adequate in light of the wind and when a much more determined Bandon re-started with their second goal, a sweet strike from Conor Calnan in the 37th minute following a pass from Dylan O’Donovan, the Lilywhites were in control.
With full back Ben Donegan, goalkeeper Cian O’Farrell and centre back Ciarán McCarthy dominating the defence, Conor Calnan and Paul Lang rampant at midfield and Aidan O’Mahony, Olan McSweeney and Brian O’Mahony threatening up front, Bandon stretched the lead with an O’Mahony free and seemed likely to cruise to a comfortable victory.
It was not to be as the Gaels began to fight back. Points from Cian McCarthy (free), Ciarán Nyhan and Dave McCarthy, in answer to a single score from Conor Calnan, had the sides level 0-10 to 2-4 by the 47th minute. O’Mahony and Dave McCarthy swapped points before the Gaels grabbed the initiative in the dying minutes with superb points from Paddy Cullinane and Ciarán McCarthy.
The title seemed to be heading for Ballinascarthy/Ahiohill until Conor Calnan popped up with the winning goal in injury time.
Bandon: Conor Calnan 2-1, Aidan O’Mahony 0-4 (3f), Olan McSweeney 1-0.
Owen Gaels: Cian McCarthy 0-5 (4f), Padraig Cullinane, Dave McCarthy 0-3 each, Ciarán Nyhan 0-2 (1f).
Bandon: Cian O’Farrell; Cian Burke, Ben Donegan, Mike Laffen; Tony Quinn, Ciarán McCarthy, Cathal Lynch; Conor Calnan, Paul Lang; Nelson McCarthy, Aidan O’Mahony, Charlie Long; Brian O’Mahony, Olan McSweeney, Dylan O’Donovan.
Subs: Jeremy Collins for C Burke (35), Gavin O’Connell for D O’Donovan (45), Harry Lillis for C Long (48).
Owen Gaels: Colm Cullinane; Brian Crowley, Sean Crowley, Cormac McCarthy; Dean Harte, Tristan Walsh, Ciarán O’Neill; Ciarán Nyhan, Ronan McCarthy; Padraig Cullinane, Dave McCarthy, Cian Ryan; Cian McCarthy, Jack Ryan, Brian O’Donovan.
Subs: Colm O’Donovan for C Ryan (50), Darragh Hurley for D Harte (58).
Referee: Connie Murphy (Kilbree).