As Ibane Gaels mentor Donal Holland said afterwards, you couldn’t script a finish like that. He was speaking after Ibane Gaels had performed the most amazing escape act in the history of Clona Milk South West U21B football finals, in Ahiohill on Sunday last.
Ibane Gaels 2-14
COIS FARRAIGE REPORTS
AS Ibane Gaels mentor Donal Holland said afterwards, you couldn’t script a finish like that.
He was speaking after Ibane Gaels had performed the most amazing escape act in the history of Clona Milk South West U21B football finals, in Ahiohill on Sunday last.
Picture the scene. A highly entertaining contest between favourites Bandon and Ibane had swung Bandon’s way in the second half following a third goal from dynamic full forward Adam Murphy. A gallant effort from underdogs, Ibane, who had played superbly against the breeze in the first half, seemed all in vain as the Lilywhites led by five points with only three minutes remaining in normal time. Then the fun started.
‘We were dead and buried,’ said Donal Holland.
‘We were told there was three minutes left when we got the first free and we decided to take the point, to just chip away at the lead if we could. We had it down to two in injury time when we got that lucky goal and followed with a quick point.
‘Our hearts nearly stopped when the referee signalled for that penalty in the last minute and we were delighted when it was only a free. The whole team was back on the goal-line for that free, which was cleared and it was all over. I really thought we were gone but what a comeback by the lads.’
It was drama galore as referee Mícheál McCarthy played eight minutes of injury time at the end and Ibane turned certain defeat into an amazing victory that left their opponents shattered and bewildered at the turn in events.
The Bandon lads had entered this final, their first in this grade, as hot favourites but found the superior physicality of the older Ibane side hard to cope with in the first half, even though they had the wind to their backs.
Ibane looked the better side in the first quarter as they built up a lead of 0-4 to 0-1, courtesy of three points from Jack Cahalane, two from frees, and one from classy Mark Crowley, who gave a man-of-the-match performance in the corner.
Bandon’s only reply came from Adam Murphy, who was to cause huge problems for the Ibane defence, despite a gutsy performance from full back Joe Sheehan, who, ironically, was to emerge as the hero of the hour.
Mark O’Regan (free) and Crowley swapped points before the first goal arrived in the 18th minute, a cracking effort from Adam Murphy that tied the scores, against the run of play as Joe Sheehan, Daniel Hurley, Gerry Crowley, Eoin Lawton, Oisín Dowling, Jack Cahalane and Mark Crowley spearheaded a strong Ibane challenge.
Undaunted, back came Ibane and three minutes later they had the green flag flying with a well-worked tap-in goal from Mark Crowley, set up by Cathal O’Donovan.
Bandon were now coming to grips with the Ibane challenge with Conor Lynch, Timmy McCarthy, Rory Fogarty, Eoin Nolan, Adam Murphy, Eoin O’Sullivan and the improving Jonathan Mulcahy driving them on.
After Mulcahy pointed, Bandon struck for their second goal in the 25th minute through Adam Murphy. Mulcahy closed an exciting first half with a point and it was Bandon in front by two points at the break, 2-4 to 1-5.
Points from Mark Crowley (2), impressive sub Daniel O’Driscoll and Jack Cahalane (free) were answered by scores from Mark O’Regan (free) and Mulcahy, off the top of the crossbar, and the sides were level, 2-6 to 1-9, at the end of a hectic third quarter.
When Cahalane pointed in the 48th minute, Ibane were back in front and seemed to be heading for victory. Enter full forward Adam Murphy again with his third goal for Bandon in the 51st minute, set up by Mulcahy, and the Lilywhites were suddenly in full flight. Points from Eoin Nolan and Mark O’Regan had the town lads five to the good with only three minutes remaining on the clock.
Then came the amazing finish. A pointed free from Jack Cahalane and a Daniel O’Driscoll scored chopped the lead down to a single goal. Bandon were getting jittery. Their nerves were apparent when Mulcahy was black-carded and Cahalane opted to tap over the close-in free to close the gap to two.
Then the roof caved in on Bandon when a sideline kick from Eoin Lawton sailed across the Bandon goalmouth, and Ibane full back Joe Sheehan lashed the breaking ball to the net to give his side the lead in the 65th minute.
From the kick-out Ibane were back and Crowley stretched the lead to two amid amazing scenes of excitement.
But it wasn’t over yet as Bandon had one last chance to save the game. After lethal Adam Murphy burst through on goal despite being marked by three Ibane defenders, he was dragged down and the whistle blew. The referee seemed to indicate a penalty but on consulting with his umpires, decided to award an ordinary 13m free, Bandon objecting strongly to the decision. Murphy had a go at a goal from the free which rebounded to safety off a packed goal-line and it was all over.
‘The amalgamation between Barryroe and Timoleague has proved a great success. The lads are now playing a much higher standard and are improving all the time,’ Donal Holland said.
‘Back in 2010 some of these lads played minor with Barryroe and were beaten by eight goals. Now they will be playing U21 A next season. If we want to maintain two intermediate teams we will have to be playing a higher standard in higher grades. This was a tremendous win for us against the odds.’
Ibane Gaels: Mark Crowley 1-5; Jack Cahalane 0-7 (5f); Joe Sheehan 1-0; Daniel O’Driscoll 0-2.
Bandon: Adam Murphy 3-1; Mark O’Regan 0-4 (3f); Jonathan Mulcahy 0-3; Eoin Nolan 0-1.
Ibane Gaels: Conor Madden; Daniel Hurley, Joe Sheehan, Brian Scannell; David Kiely, Patrick Maloney, Gerry Crowley; Eoin Lawton, Killian McSweeney; Jack Murphy, John Whelton, Cathal O’Donovan; Jack Cahalane, Oisín Dowling, Mark Crowley.
Subs used: Daniel O’Driscoll, Conor O’Regan, Stephen Madden, Darragh O’Donovan, Bill Fleming.
Bandon: Ciarán McCarthy; Kieran Walsh, Oisín Twomey, Conor Lynch; Eoin Hurley, Joe O’Mahony, Timmy McCarthy; Rory Fogarty, Eoin O’Sullivan; Eoin Nolan, Jonathan Mulcahy, Paul Lang; Mark O’Regan, Adam Murphy, Colm Fogarty.
Sub used: Jordan Fintan-Lehane.
Referee: Mícheál McCarthy (Kilmeen).