Éire Óg 1-11
AUBERT TWOMEY REPORTS
ÉIRE Óg overcame the wind and the rain, as well as Ballincollig, as they retained their Muskerry U21A football championship title at Annahala recently.
Both teams had to endure exceptionally trying weather conditions and the quality of play suffered as a consequence.
Éire Óg, the holders, were fancied to get the better of neighbours Ballincollig in this contest as they were physically the stronger side and they had 11 of the team that captured the Muskerry title in 2019.
The one worry for their mentors, however, was the indifferent form the team displayed during the qualifying games for last Saturday's final. Things worked out fine for the Bride Valley side, as the players were at their best for the big occasion, particularly last season's All-Ireland U20 winning Cork footballers, Jack Murphy and Colm O’Callaghan. It means that Ballincollig were up against it for the hour.
Éire Óg scored first when Jack Murphy pointed a free, but they were then off target with a couple of efforts from play. Ballincollig then initiated an effective move which ended with an excellent delivery from Liam O'Connell to Darragh Dorgan with the latter fisting the ball to the Éire Óg net.
That was as good as it got for Ballincollig, however, as Éire Óg dominated the exchanges for the remainder of the opening half.
The reigning champions raised seven white flags to their opponents’ two, and they were also recorded five wides, so they were not flattered to be leading 0-8 to 1-2 at half time.
Ballincollig tried their utmost to turn their situation around when the action resumed and a point from Evan Cooke gave them a brief lift.
But they were unable to sustain their attacking efforts and their position became more acute when substitute Darragh O’Mahony was presented with a black card.
The ten minutes of action with 14 players meant that Ballincollig were now completely on the back foot for that period. The winners failed to maximize their scoring opportunities and they left two goal chances go a-begging before a powerful effort from Joe Cooper found the net in the 41st minute. There was no way back for Ballincollig following this blow and their only reply was a point in the closing minutes from Fentan Denny.
Éire Óg will be very satisfied with the retention of their U21 football title and they can face the county championship with a good degree of confidence. They will need to be more clinical with their scoring opportunities, but this U21 team certainly has potential.
Éire Óg: Dylan Foley 0-4 (2f); Joe Cooper 1-1; Jack Murphy 0-2 (1f, 1 45); David Kirwan, Mark Kelleher, Rian O’Flynn, Hugh Murphy 0-1 each.
Ballincollig: Darragh Dorgan 1-0; Stephen Wills 0-2 (2f); Evan Cooke, Fentan Denny 0-1 each.
Éire Óg: Adam O’Riordan; Jerome Kelleher, Sean O’Flynn, Colm McGoldrick; Diarmuid Dineen, Colm O’Callaghan, David Twomey; Jack Murphy, Matt Brady; Hugh Murphy, Dylan Foley, Rian O’Flynn; David Kirwan, Joe Cooper, Mark Kelleher.
Subs: Tommy Murphy for Kirwan (40), Killian Sheehan for M Kelleher (43), Shane Quigley for J Kelleher (44).
Ballincollig: Chris Walsh; Chris Twomey, Jordan Murray, Sean Walsh; Karl Walsh, Fentan Denny, Liam O’Connell; Conor O’Leary, Sean Dore; David McCullagh, Evan Cooke, Harry Ahern; Stephen Wills, Darragh Dorgan, Mark Oldham.
Subs: Darragh O’Mahony for McCullagh (ht), Adam Wills for O’Leary (36), Josh Cotter for K Walsh (43), James Falvey for Oldham (53), Cathal Quirke for Ahern (56).
Referee: David Murnane (Macroom).