Bantry Blues 0-8
COIS FARRAIGE REPORTS
DAVID Lowney was the star of the show as Clonakilty minors scored a resounding win over Bantry Blues in the final of the county Premier 2 football championship in dreadful weather conditions in Castlehaven on Monday night.
With four county minors on their side Clon were favoured to win this final but it was the decisive nature of the victory and the sparkling football they played in poor conditions that made this win so special.
This was a performance full of pace, intelligent football and a real cutting edge as they put the Blues to the sword with three sparkling goals.
And the player mostly responsible was Cork minor, David Lowney, who wore number 11 but lined out at midfield. His two cracking goals in the first half tore the heart out of the expected Bantry challenge and his strong running from the centre of the pitch had the opposing defence in all kinds of bother.
‘I don’t like picking out individuals but David Lowney was exceptional tonight. His first goal really settled us and he took charge of the game,’ said a delighted Clonakilty coach and manager Brendan Walsh.
‘We dominated after that. We put a lot of emphasis in training into kick passing, especially into space and it showed tonight. Our second goal was magic, four kicked passes without a solo or a hop and it ended up in the net.’
Points from Bantry danger man Arthur Coakley and Shane McCarthy had Bantry off to a flying start in the opening two minutes but they weren’t to score again for another 23 minutes as Clon took complete control.
It all began when David Lowney cut through for a superb goal in the fifth minute and with Lowney taking control in the middle of the pitch, with great support from the tall Mark White, Clon surged forward in search of scores.
Up front, Sean McEvoy, Ross Mannix and Sean O’Donoghue were showing tremendous pace and skill as points from Lowney (2), McEvoy and Mannix opened up a five-point gap by the end of the first quarter.
It was all Clon, playing lovely controlled football, with wing back Tiarnán O’Connell and centre back Liam O’Donovan driving forward and laying off some lovely kicked passes.
The second goal was a classic despite the awful conditions, set up by McEvoy and finished off by Lowney in the 19th minute. Bantry were in serious trouble now.
A Mannix point, which struck both the post and the crossbar, opened the gap to nine points, 2-5 to 0-2, before Bantry staged a mini-rally with points from the hard-working Tim Foley (2).
Back came Clon in the driving rain with flags from McEvoy and Lowney (free), Mannix involved in both, and even though Foley had the last score of the half, Clon retired to the warmth of the dressing room at half time 2-7 to 0-5 in front and firmly in the driving seat.
‘We set a target at half time of six more points in the second half,’ said Walsh.
‘We weren’t worried about Bantry because we knew if we added six points to the lead of seven that they would find it very hard to get back at us. We protected our goal very well in the second half. The backs played very well.’
Bantry needed a good start to the second half but it was Clon who got it when McEvoy pointed. Bantry did improve in the third quarter with Foley, Coakley, Savo Dragas, Shane Keevers, Kevin Coakley, Gavin Cronin and Shane McCarthy trying very hard but Clon safely held their lead, answering point for point.
Coakley pointed a Bantry free which Mannix answered, Shane McCarthy kicked one from play but was answered by Sean O’Donoghue with the best point of the night for Clon.
With Clon goalkeeper Ryan Doonan handling very well and getting great cover from Zach Harrington, Conor Scally and Paul Daly, Bantry’s chances of goals were very limited although Daniel Murray was unlucky not to connect with a Foley free. Lowney brought his tally for the night to 2-4 in the 42nd minute and Clon led by 2-11 to 0-7 at the end of the third quarter, with Cork minor Tiarnán O’Connell having a huge influence on the game.
Mannix pointed a free and any notions Bantry might have had of a last-quarter comeback were truly dashed in the 52nd minute when Mark White set up Sean O’Donoghue for Clon’s third goal. Sub Chris Collins finished Clon’s scoring before Arthur Coakley’s close-in free was turned over the crossbar in the last minute.
It finished 3-13 to 0-8 as Clon lifted the title for the second time in three years and the cup was presented to the winning captain, Tiarnán O’Connell, by chairman of the Rebel Óg, Jim Forbes.
‘The future now for this team is to win the U21,’ said Walsh.
‘There’s a very thin line between being a good team and being an exceptional team. It’s the amount of work you put in. A bit of ability will get you so far but the effort needed to take the next step is huge.
‘This team has worked very hard all season and (on Monday night) they took that next step. The players listened to the backroom team and that is vital.’
Clonakilty: David Lowney 2-4 (2f), Sean O’Donoghue 1-1, Ross Mannix 0-4 (2f), Sean McEvoy 0-3, Chris Collins 0-1.
Bantry Blues: Tim Foley (2f), Arthur Coakley (2f) 0-3 each, Shane McCarthy 0-2.
Clonakilty: Ryan Doonan; Conor Scally, Zach Harrington, Paul Daly; Liam O’Donovan, Tiarnán O’Connell, Liam O’Connor; Darragh O’Mahony, Mark White; Thomas Hayes, David Lowney, Joe Hughes; Sean O’Donoghue, Sean McEvoy, Ross Mannix.
Subs used: Alex Moore for Hayes, David Walsh for Lowney, Chris Collins for McEvoy, Barry Downey for Hughes, Oisín Walsh for O’Connor, Declan O’Sullivan for O’Mahony.
Bantry Blues: Michael Casey; Sean Hodnett, Savo Dragas, Eoghan Minehane; Kieran Hanley, Kevin Coakley, Shane Keevers; Ronan O’Mahony, Gavin Cronin; Eoghan O’Shea, Michael Healy, Tim Foley; Daniel Murray, Arthur Coakley, Shane McCarthy.