GER McCARTHY REPORTS
GARNISH produced a memorable display to overcome favourites Urhan and claim the 2016 Beara JAFC title in Castletownbere last Sunday.
A low-scoring game simmered to the boil during an intense closing quarter with Urhan fighting back from a two-point interval deficit to lead 0-6 to 0-4. Cillian O’Shea’s sending off for a second yellow card offence coupled with David McCarthy being forced out through injury dented the reigning champions’ hopes and a hungrier Garnish took full advantage.
The Allihies club tied the score at 0-7 apiece with five minutes to go before late Finbarr Sheehan and Fintan O’Sullivan efforts sealed a memorable win. Wild celebrations duly followed as family members, friends and supporters wept tears of joy and joined the winning squad in the middle of Castletownbere’s pitch.
This was an unexpected but thoroughly deserved Garnish victory. They were the more consistent team over 60 minutes and utilised an effective sweeper system thanks to man-of-the-match Hugh O’Sullivan’s standout performance.
In truth, Niall Cronin’s side should have won by a much wider margin, kicking 14 wides throughout the hour, but the Garnish manager had nothing but praise for his players shortly after the final whistle.
‘Words fail me when it comes to talking about this team and the work that they have put in,’ Cronin commented to The Southern Star.
‘They are a great bunch of lads and I’m only an outsider coming into such a tiny club but they have unbelievable heart and I’m absolutely delighted for them. We can’t field teams a lot of the time but this win makes all the training and work that’s been put in worthwhile.
‘As for Urhan, they are a great team but I couldn’t be prouder of the effort we put in today. God, we made hard work of it, played well in the first half despite all the wides but not as well in the second half. Look, we dug it out. We said we’d keep going until the end and the lads were outstanding. I couldn’t be happier for them and for the people of Garnish.’
Urhan began with the aid of a strong wind but struggled to make any headway and a fired-up Garnish capitalised with Joe Harrington setting up Sean Terry O’Sullivan for the game’s opening score inside the first minute.
O’Sullivan was fouled shortly after and Paul O’Neill tapped over the ensuing free to make it 0-2 to 0-0 after five minutes.
Garnish’s defence, brilliantly led by Hugh O’Sullivan throughout the hour, repeatedly turned over possession as an increasingly frustrated Urhan struggled to find any rhythm.
The green and gold men further extended their lead in the ninth minute after Finbarr Sheehan evaded a couple of defenders and split the posts much to the delight of his team’s supporters. Yet, despite their dominance, Garnish were guilty of wasting numerous chances before a long-range David McCarthy score finally got Urhan off the mark on 22 minutes.
A frenetic ending to the first half saw Fintan O’Sullivan float over his side’s fourth point ahead of goalkeeper Martin O’Sullivan producing a point-blank stop to deny Urhan’s Conor Lowney a certain goal. Shaking off that missed opportunity, the 2015 Beara champions reduced the deficit to two points on the stroke of half time courtesy of a converted Phillip O’Shea free.
Urhan’s renaissance continued at the beginning of the second period with Martin O’Neill scoring from an acute angle and Conor Lowney converting a free after Vincent Lehane had been fouled en route to goal.
Tied 0-4 apiece, Urhan suffered an unexpected setback when wing-back Cillian O’Shea was sent to the line following a second yellow card offence, reducing his team down to 14 men for the remaining 22 minutes.
Impressively, Urhan continued to press forward and made it five unanswered points in a row thanks to a Conor Lowney free and a cracking Martin McCarthy effort.
Garnish’s woes in front of goal threatened to derail their championship aspirations until Brian Terry O’Sullivan’s score – their first in over 20 minutes – made it a one-point game.
The same player was guilty of shooting wide with only Martin O’Sullivan to beat shortly after and Urhan counter-attacked from the resulting kick-out to move 0-7 to 0-5 ahead with Vincent Lehane scoring from distance.
Urhan lost David McCarthy to injury with ten minutes to go ahead of Finbarr Sheehan firing over a superb left-footed effort to make 0-7 to 0-6. Garnish were in full flow now and finally utilising their numerical advantage so it came as little surprise to see team captain Joe Harrington level the score following a swift breakaway on 55 minutes.
The loudest roar of the day occurred four minutes later when Garnish retook the lead courtesy of another excellent Finbarr Sheehan point. Although Urhan battled bravely right up until the end, Fintan O’Sullivan’s injury-time point sealed a famous 0-9 to 0-7 Garnish victory and kick-started celebrations that are probably still ongoing in the village of Allihies.
Garnish: Finbarr Sheehan 0-3; Fintan O’Sullivan 0-2; Sean Terry O’Sullivan, Paul O’Neill (1 free), Brian Terry O’Sullivan, Joe Harrington 0-1 each.
Urhan: Conor Lowney 0-2f; David McCarthy, Phillip O’Shea (1f), Martin O’Neill, Martin McCarthy, Vincent Lehane 0-1 each.
Garnish: Martin O’Sullivan; Oisin Millen, Eanna Murphy, David Harrington; Brian Walsh, Joe Harrington, Danny O’Sullivan; Brian Terry O’Sullivan, Brendan Dudley; Dean Henshaw, Sean Terry O’Sullivan, Fintan O’Sullivan; Paul O’Neill, Finbarr Sheehan, Hugh O’Sullivan.
Subs used: Ollie O’Sullivan for Dean Henshaw (40), Paul Murphy for Brendan Dudley (44) and Cormac O’Neill for Brian Walsh (54).
Urhan: Diarmuid O’Sullivan; Niall Dwyer, Cormac O’Shea, Danny O’Neill; Cillian O’Shea, David McCarthy, Aidan O’Neill; James Healy, Martin McCarthy; Kieran O’Sullivan, Conor Lowney, Brian Healy; Vincent Lehane, Martin O’Neill, Phillip O’Shea.
Subs used: Finbarr Dwyer for Brian Healy (38), Joe O’Sullivan for David McCarthy (49, inj), PJ Cadogan for Danny O’Neill (57, inj) and Luke Daly for Aidan O’Neill (57).
Referee: John Ryan (Macroom).