BEARA Community School is closing in on All-Ireland football final glory.
The Munster champions will take on Connacht’s finest, Our Lady’s College Belmullet, in the 2022 Masita GAA All-Ireland senior D football final this Saturday at St Joseph’s Doora Barefield GAA Club in Clare (2pm).
Beara came through a rearranged semi-final with Ulster champions Ballybay Community College (Monaghan) in Carlow IT last Saturday, winning 2-7 to 0-11.
The West Cork school trailed 0-5 to 0-1 at half-time having played into the teeth of a strengthening cross-wind. Beara netted a goal immediately after the restart which gave them a new lease of life.
Ballybay CC then fought back and edged two points in front following a dominant spell. Castletownbere’s Fintan Finner was unable to start due to a niggling injury but his second-half introduction proved a turning point. Finner’s influence helped Beara reassert control prior to a Tommy Peter O’Sullivan (Adrigole) goal kick-starting the Munster champions’ comeback. Points from Finner and Lee Kelly gave Beara Community School some breathing space. Despite a couple of late scares, they ran out deserving two-point winners.
Managers Dara Crowley and Cian O’Connell have done a remarkable job guiding the rural Beara school to an All-Ireland final. Naturally, the school and surrounding areas are delighted at the prospect of contesting an All-Ireland decider.
‘You can see that spring in the players' step since beating Ballybay,’ Dara Crowley told The Southern Star.
‘The older players keep reminding all the young fellas on the panel to make the most of it. The lads understand that reaching an All-Ireland colleges’ final doesn’t come around that often. We tell them that as well. I told the players to enjoy the week leading up to the final but remember that nothing is won yet. Everyone has stayed grounded and, in fairness to the lads, training has gone very well this week.
‘Our panel is happy to have reached an All-Ireland final but for them, the job is not done. They want to win it out now.’
Best wishes to Beara Community School when they play Our Lady’s College Belmullet in St Josephs Doora Barefield (Ennis) at 2pm on Saturday. Hopefully they will follow in the footsteps of the All-Ireland winning teams of 1994 and 2010 and create their own piece of history. ?⚪️ https://t.co/7nJaW6wxGx pic.twitter.com/gOxxNA4I7q
— Beara GAA (@GaaBeara) March 10, 2022
Crowley and his players are right to keep their feet on the ground as Our Lady’s College Belmullet should prove formidable opponents. A 1-11 to 2-5 All-Ireland semi-final defeat of a talented Gallen CS Ferbane (Offaly) came hot on the heels of a fourth provincial title in the last decade.
‘I’ll be honest and admit we don’t know an awful lot about Belmullet right now but that there is a strong tradition of football within the school,’ Crowley said.
‘Any Mayo team is always going to be very strong but with post-primary schools it is difficult to learn much about your opponent. In a way, that’s probably not a bad thing as we can only look at ourselves and prepare our players as best as we possibly can for the All-Ireland final. We reflect on what we can do better after every game anyway and this year’s semi-final was no different.
‘What would it mean to win an All-Ireland colleges’ title for Beara Community School and the surrounding areas? I know Beara’s senior football team (divisional) has new management so things are changing for Beara football. I know that our success and that of the district’s minors are being used as a foundation to build towards the future. So, reaching this year’s final is special for our group of lads but even more so for future Beara football teams.
‘Something like this, reaching an All-Ireland colleges’ final, gives hope for the future.’
The Beara Community School squad includes Dara Crowley (Kenmare Shamrocks), Liam Crowley (Adrigole), Breixo Carleton (Castletownbere), Shane Power (Castletownbere), Kevin Sullivan (Castletownbere), Mikey Orpen (Castletownbere), Jack Murphy (Castletownbere), Ronan Sheehan (Garnish), Eoghan O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Lee Kelly (Castletownbere), Séan O’Shea (Adrigole), Tiernan O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Darragh Harrington (Urhan), Niall O’Shea (Urhan), Daniel Mason (Adrigole), Colm Murphy (Castletownbere), Olan Murphy (Castletownbere), Jack Hanly (Castletownbere), Darragh Murphy (Castletownbere), Jack Crowley (Adrigole), Fintan Finner (Castletownbere), Tommy O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Tom O’Connor (Adrigole), Killian Murphy (Castletownbere), Gerard O’Shea (Adrigole), Oisin Lynch (Urhan), James Spencer (Castletownbere), Tuan Millen (Garnish), Mikey O’Sullivan (Adrigole) and Cian O’Connell (Kilgarvan).