The only surprise is that Skibb didn’t win by more
O’Donovan Rossa 1-16
NOEL HORGAN REPORTS
PERHAPS the most remarkable aspect of the county SFC round one tie at Páirc Uí Rinn last Saturday evening was that O’Donovan Rossa had just two points to spare at the finish.
They were clearly the better team over the hour, but the concession of three softish goals meant they made harder work of dispatching a limited Aghada side than should have been the case.
The bottom line, however, is that the Skibb men got the job done to register their first victory in their opening championship game since 2013, and manager Martin Bohane felt it was a particularly important result on that account.
‘It’s a monkey off our backs to get the win tonight, and it means we’ll enjoy going back training now for the next round,’ he said.
‘I’d be pleased enough with the performance, even if we did concede three goals, and there’s a lot for us to learn from this.
‘We are fully aware we made mistakes, but it’s great to have something to work on as well,’ said Bohane, who lauded the impact made by Kevin Davis up front for the winners.
‘In contrast to last season when he was injured and never got up to full fitness, Kevin got a lot of hard work done at the start of the year, and you could see it has paid off, as he was absolutely on fire tonight,’ remarked the Rossa boss.
That Davis displayed dazzling skills at corner forward was unquestionably the highlight of the Rossa’s performance, and Aghada were unable to curb his influence, despite using three different markers on him.
Cian Fleming also started most impressively in attack for Aghada, but O’Donovan Rossa’s outfield dominance, and, to a lesser extent, the tenacity of full back Sean Fitzgerald, served to reduce his threat as the game wore on.
Donal Óg Hodnett, ably supported by Colm Fitzgerald, showed his class to telling effect at midfield on occasions for the South-West men, and his inspirational point left them 0-4 to 0-2 to the good before a goal from Shane Bennett allowed Aghada to hit the front for the first time in the 13th minute.
The losers led again, 2-2 to 0-6, four minutes later after a side-line ball by the Rossa’s Paudie Crowley went astray, resulting in Cian Fleming setting Ronan Kennedy up for their second goal. Within a minute, however, O’Donovan Rossa regained the lead, courtesy of Kevin Davis, who fed by Donal Óg Hodnett, scorched in from the right wing to fire in a superb goal, and, as things transpired, they remained in front for the rest of the match.
While Aghada goalkeeper Andrew O’Donoghue saved well from Mark Collins at the expense of a ‘45, converted by Kevin Davis, in the 21st minute, O’Donovan Rossa went in at half-time 1-11 to 2-4 ahead.
They comfortably held the whip-hand in the second half when Mark Collins and Paudie Crowley regularly caught the eye in the half-back line as they applied the bulk of the pressure.
With the clock ticking down, O’Donovan Rossa led by 1-16 to 2-6, but Aghada’s Josh O’Shea and substitute Kevin O’Hanlon shared a late brace of points before O’Hanlon availed of some sloppy defending to poach a goal that helped to put a rather deceptive appearance on the scoreboard at the finish.
O’Donovan Rossa: K Davis 1-11 (6f, 1 45), D Óg Hodnett 0-2, S Crowley, D Hourihane, S Fitzgerald 0-1 each.
Aghada: C Fleming 0-4 (3f), K O’Hanlon 1-1, S Bennett, R Kennedy 1-0 each, J O’Shea 0-2, C Terry 0-1.
O’Donovan Rossa: R Price; E Fitzgerald, S Fitzgerald, C Long; M Collins, P Crowley, J Keohane; C Fitzgerald, D Og Hodnett; S Crowley, T Hegarty, S Carmody; D Hourihane, C Crowley, K Davis.
Subs: R Long for S Crowley (47), D O’Donovan for Hodnett (black card, 58).
Aghada: A O’Donoghue; T Hartnett, J O’Donoghue, K O’Shea; K O’Donoghue, J Tynan, A O’Connell; C Terry, M Leahy; A Berry, J O’Shea, C O’Driscoll; R Kennedy, C Fleming, S Bennett.
Subs: M O’Connor for O’Driscoll (47), K O’Hanlon for Bennett (47), D Creedon for Terry (59).
Referee: P O’Leary (Kilmurry).