Champions defend their junior football crown to complete the three-in-a-row
EANNA Murphy lets his football, like his fish and chips, do the talking.
By day he’s a fisherman and runs Murphy’s Mobile Catering & Dursey Deli, and in his spare time he’s Garnish captain.
On and off the field, the 24-year-old knows how to serve up a winning combination, and his battle with Urhan danger man Conor Lowney was telling during Saturday night’s Beara JAFC final at wet and windy Adrigole.
Apart from Lowney’s 18th minute goal chance that he should have buried, but instead drove wide, full back Murphy came out on top, just like Garnish came out on top to win their third Beara title in a row.
‘This doesn’t happen too often, it’s been 20 years since Ganish have done this, won a three-in-a-row, so it’s pretty special,’ explained Murphy, captain of the past two seasons.
Much like his early battle with Lowney, there was little to separate both teams in the opening quarter, but as the game wore on, Garnish took control, their physical advantage telling as they dealt with the wet and windy conditions better than Urhan.
‘It was exactly the battle we thought it would be, the day lent itself to that sort of a game,’ Garnish selector Tadhg O’Sullivan says.
‘There is never much between the two teams but we played great stuff in the second half, we played controlled football and the more the game went on, the more we got on the top.’
Garnish have a habit of starting slow and it was the same here. Urhan kicked a score through Concubhur Harrington, who was a handful in the early stages, and they looked dangerous in attack.
A pair of Paul O’Neill frees pushed Garnish ahead but they weren’t making use of the strong wind at their backs, and instead it was Urhan, with minor Ciarán O’Sullivan a willing runner, that were shading proceedings. Concubhur Harrington levelled the game after an initial shot at goal was blocked, and after Fintan O’Sullivan scored Garnish’s first point from play, Urhan missed a glorious chance of a goal.
Aidan O’Neill and Concubhur Harrington combined to set up Conor Lowney for a goal chance, with a Garnish defender’s slip allowing him extra space, but Lowney shot wide.
Garnish went up the other end, and a quick line ball from Gary O’Sullivan set Sean Terry O’Sullivan free, and he curled over a superb effort with the outside of his right boot to stretch his side’s lead, 0-4 to 0-2.
By now, Garnish were getting a hold of the game, with man-of-the-match Brian Terry O’Sullivan coming into the game in midfield, winning ball, and either driving forward at the heart of the Urhan defence or playing clever balls forward into space. Jack O’Sullivan was getting forward from the half-back line too, causing Urhan problems and winning frees.
Jamie O’Neill and Lowney (free) levelled the game by the 22nd minute, but Garnish finished on top with points from Paul O’Neill and two Fintan O’Sullivan frees to lead by three at the break, 0-7 to 0-4.
‘We weren’t concerned with the three-point lead at half time because with this bunch of fellas, the longer the game goes on, the more they get to the pace of it and they can then dictate it. That’s exactly what happened, even if it did get messy with the wind and the rain, but we got control and didn’t leave go,’ Tadhg O’Sullivan said.
Despite playing into the wind, it was Garnish who added to their tally first when Fintan O’Sullivan converted a free. It took Urhan 13 minutes of the half to score as Jamie O’Neill pointed a free after Ciarán O’Sullivan was fouled.
Scores were scarce now, the weather worsening, but Garnish dealt with the conditions better with Sean Terry O’Sullivan finishing off a fine move to push the defending champs 0-9 to 0-5 ahead at the three-quarter stage.
Another Fintan O’Shea free made it a double-score lead in the 53rd minute, and the goal that Urhan needed now didn’t look likely as they struggled to get in behind the stubborn Garnish defence where Hugh O’Sullivan, Jack O’Sullivan and Dara Henshaw all worked hard.
Brian Terry O’Sullivan, after another direct run, missed a goal chance that would have put the result beyond doubt, but that chance showcased the running game Garnish use and that worked against the westerly wind blowing in.
Concubhur Harrington reduced the deficit as the game headed into 11 minutes of injury-time that saw both teams add one further score each, with the winner’s lead rarely under threat.
Brian Terry did see red for a second yellow in the 11 minutes of injury time played, but it mattered little, his work was done, as was Garnish’s, who were singing in the rain after the final whistle.
‘Football’s coming home,’ they sang after the cup presentation, and the Cormac O’Sullivan Cup is quite comfortable in Garnish now, ready for its third winter in a row there.
Garnish: Fintan O’Sullivan 0-5 (4f), Paul O’Neill 0-3 (3f), Sean T O’Sullivan 0-3.
Urhan: Concubhur Harrington (1f), Jamie O’Neill (2f) 0-3 each, Conor Lowney 0-1f.
Garnish: Martin O’Sullivan; Dara Henshaw, Eanna Murphy, Brian Walsh; Hugh O’Sullivan, Joe Harrington, Jack O’Sullivan; Fintan O’Sullivan, Brian T O’Sullivan; Gary O’Sullivan, Paul O’Neill, Sean T O’Sullivan; Sean Henshaw, Finbarr Sheehan, Dean Henshaw.
Subs: David Harrington for G O’Sullivan (ht), Paul Murphy for S Henshaw (41), Ross Murphy for Jack O’Sullivan (60), Cormac O’Neill for F O’Sullivan (60).
Urhan: Diarmuid O’Sullivan; Danny O’Neill, Aidan O’Neill, Daniel Elphick; Eamonn O’Shea, Cormac O’Shea, Ciarán O’Sullivan; Dan Dwyer, Conor Lowney; Dave McCarthy, Martin McCarthy, Alan O’Donoghue; Concubhur Harrington, James Healy, Jamie O’Neill.
Subs: Cillian O’Shea for D McCarthy (36), Martin O’Neill for Alan O’Donoghue (42), Conor O’Sullivan for J Healy (48), Enda Lowney for C O’Sullivan (60, inj).
Referee: Martin Hegarty (Castletownbere).