Courcey Rovers 1-14
JOHN NEWMAN REPORTS
A POWERFUL final quarter that saw them outscore Ballymartle by 1-5 to 0-1 resulted in Courcey Rovers being crowned South East U21B football champions on a beautiful Good Friday evening in Belgooly.
This 13-a-side final produced an abundance of free-flowing football and raised the question – is this the answer to Gaelic football’s problems? There was no pulling, no dragging and no dangerous tackles.
Up to Sean Twomey’s superb goal in the 49th minute that saw Courceys draw level at 1-9 each, Ballymartle appeared to have the winning of this final in their control.
However, Rovers powered ahead. They had that scent of success in their nostrils and a better team plan due mainly to the introduction of good substitutes and fresh legs.
Ballymartle, on the other hand, who had to line out minus two of their best forwards and having given their all, could not contain Rovers’ rousing finish.
Following a flurry of fine football which set the tone for the entire game the sides scored six points by the 13th minute with Chris Healy (2) and Jason Murphy Ballymartle’s providers while Martin Collins, DJ Twomey and Niall Moloney shared the spoils for Courceys.
Then, just on the 15th minute, Ballymartle bagged their goal when Jason Murphy’s shot edged inside the upright after goalkeeper Dylan Fitzpatrick appeared to be shadowed by David Higgins.
That score then set the margin for the remainder of the half and just as in the opening quarter both sides shared six points with Ballymartle’s outstanding player Chris Healy their sole scorer while the Twomeys, DJ and Sean, found the target for Courceys to leave Bally in front 1-6 to 0-6 at the break.
Ballymartle maintained the momentum after the break. Led by the O’Leary brothers and the hard work of Eoin Redmond and Stephen McAllister, they still led by 1-9 to 0-7 after 40 minutes.
DJ Twomey, who had kept Courceys in touch, continued to prove his worth both from play and placed balls. By the 45th minute, Rovers were back in the game 1-9 to 0-9.
Three wides on the trot slowed their progress, while the defensive deeds of Bally’s Dillon O’Sullivan and Adam Murphy were also to factor before Sean Murphy, now at full forward, took a pass from Killian Coghlan and slotted the ball into the right corner of the net to level matters at 1-9 each.
Now in full flight, Courceys began to tack on the scores from Denis Coghlan (2), sub Killian Hickey and another brace from DJ Twomey. They were all unanswered until Chris O’Leary converted in added time.
Following the game South East Board chairman Pat Desmond presented the Gael Linn Cup to the victorious captain Liam Collins, while Myles Barry, vice chairman of the board, announced and presented the Declan O’Neill Furniture & Carpentry man-of-the-match award to Courcey Rovers’ DJ Twomey.
Courcey Rovers: DJ Twomey 0-7 (5f), S Twomey 1-2 (1f), D Coghlan 0-2, M Collins, N Moloney, K Hickey 0-1 each.
Ballymartle: C Healy 0-7 (6f), J Murphy 1-2, S McAllister 0-1.
Courcey Rovers: D Fitzpatrick, D Coghlan, W Joffrey, S Allen, L Collins, T Russell, K Coghlan, S Twomey, R Sweetnam, M Collins, N Moloney, B Ryan, DJ Twomey.
Subs: S Russell for N Moloney, K Hickey for R Sweetnam, J O’Donovan for B Ryan.
Ballymartle: C Barry, D O’Sullivan, S Dorney, A Murphy, Eoghan O’Leary, Evan O’Leary, C Healy, E Redmond, J Ryan, S McAllister, J Murphy, D Lordan, D Higgins.
Sub: R Mooney for J Ryan.
Referee: Alan O’Connor.