Clonakilty B 2-15
St James’ 1-11
JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
CLONAKILTY B were crowned worthy champions of the Clona Milk South West 12-a-side U21 C football championship at blustery Ballinascarthy.
Playing with the wind in the first half Clon scored two crucial goals and while St James’ did mount a second-half comeback, Clonakilty soon took control again and ran out comfortable winners.
St James’ had got off to a fine start picking off two points courtesy of their best attacker, Sean O’Reilly, inside the opening three minutes. With Aaron Hayes, captain Conor Scully, Peter Whelton and Conor Frost grafting hard they set up the scoring opportunities, but found the Clonakilty defence in unrelenting mode, with Joe White, David Walsh and midfielder Darragh O’Mahony all prominent.
Clonakilty scored their first goal in the 17th minute when a great four-man flowing move ended when Maurice Shanley smashed the ball to the St James’ rigging. Now 1-7 to 0-3 ahead by the 23rd minute, Clonakilty were grateful to goalkeeper Paul O’Driscoll who deprived St James’ Shane O’Reilly of a certain goal, saving from point-blank range.
A great Conor Frost score in the 26th minute had the Ardfield faithful in full voice, but they were struck a sledgehammer blow in the 31st minute when Ciarán Crowley scored Clon’s second goal – this was a major turning point, as Clonakilty manager Brendan Walsh explained.
‘St James’ started well, but our second goal just before the break was effectively a six-point turnaround. Sean O’Reilly had struck the post at the other end, we worked the ball down the field quickly in two movements and after their ‘keeper had made a good save, Ciarán Crowley was on hand to usher the ball home via the upright. It opened up a considerable advantage for us, 2-9 to 0-5, at half-time,’ Walsh said.
‘I told the lads at the interval that equally important was that our defence had been sound, enacting block-downs that were very important.’
Walsh had good reason to be pleased with the final result because while St James’ cut the deficit with points by Peter Whelton and O’Reilly immediately after the break, the goal they craved for came much too late to affect the result – in the 56th minute when Euan Courtney finished off a move with Aaron Hayes, O’Reilly and Scully all involved.
At that stage Clonakilty had both hands on the cup, presented just minutes later by Joe Crowley, South Board chairman, to a delighted Ciarán Crowley, captain of Clonakilty B.
Clonakilty B: Shane Collins 0-6 (3f), Ciarán Crowley 1-2, Maurice Shanley 1-1, Thomas Hayes 0-2, Darragh O’Mahony, Joe White, Darragh McCullagh, Andrew Moriarty 0-1 each.
St James’: Sean O’Reilly 0-6 (2f), Euan Courtney 1-0, Aaron Hayes 0-2, Conor Frost, Peter Whelton, Jack Oates 0-1 each.
Clonakilty B: Paul O’Driscoll; Shane Tanner, Joe White; Eoin O’Neill, David Walsh, Cian O’Donoghue; Darragh O’Mahony; Thomas Hayes, Maurice Shanley, Shane Collins; Darragh McCullagh, Ciarán Crowley.
Subs: Andrew Moriarty for O’Neill (14), Thomas Palmer for Tanner (52), Barry Downey for Collins (56), Declan O’Sullivan for Crowley (56).
St James’: Ciarán Crowley; Michael White, Euan Courtney; Peter Whelton, Sean O’Connor, Jack Oates; Conor Scully; Joseph O’Sullivan, Aaron Hayes, Conor Frost; Jack Butler, Sean O’Reilly.
Sub: Jack Hurley for Butler (ht).
Referee: Donal Shorten (St Mary’s).