TOM LYONS REPORTS
THEY were lighting the bonfires and celebrating on the Mizen Peninsula when Goleen captured the Bandon Co-op Carbery junior B football title for only the third time in their chequered history.
Sixty years ago, 1959, the title was won for the very first time and they had to wait until 2011 to capture the second. Now the men of 2019 have earned immortality in the GAA history of the peninsula and little wonder they celebrated in style when the Bill Nolan Cup was handed to captain Dan O’Callaghan, who dedicated the victory to the men of 1959.
Goleen had double cause to celebrate this great win because they entered this game as rank outsiders against a Newcestown side that had won the title two years ago. Although Goleen had beaten Newcestown in Round 3 of the round-robin championship, that was against a vastly depleted Newcestown side and few rated the chances of the Mizen men against a full eastern outfit.
However, from the word go, Goleen turned all predictions on their head. Playing superb combination football in the first half, they dominated proceedings, while in the second half they defended heroically as Newcetown swept forward in waves.
‘We were given no chance to win this this one but that really drove us on,’ said manager Gene O’Donovan.
‘The lads were really up for this final and beating Newcestown two weeks ago showed we could win it. We did miss a lot of scores in the first half and we made it tough for ourselves but the lads really worked for this one.
‘They are a phenomenal bunch of lads and if I asked them to stay training to 12 o’clock, they would. It’s the real genuine village spirit.’
On a perfect night for football, on a superb sod under lights, Newcestown had the opening score from Cian Healy but it was Goleen who thundered into the game. With Paudie Scully and David O’Leary dominating play, Goleen were playing most of the good football as the ageless warrior John Cullinane, the general of the forward division, kicked an equalising point and hard-working full forward Tadhg Cullinane put them in front.
With ace forward Darren O’Donovan having a rare off-day from play and frees, Goleen missed chances before Newcestown’s best forward, Kieran Kelly, levelled the scores for the second, and last, time.
Outstanding wing back Padraig Reidy surged forward to split the posts, a lead Goleen were not to lose again, and Michael O’Reilly doubled the advantage. Although Cian Healy’s free narrowed the gap to one, a Tadhg Cullinane point made it 0-5 to 0-3 at the end of a Goleen-dominated first quarter.
Goleen continued their form into the second quarter. The scoring slowed after Michael O’Reilly shoved Goleen three in front but the vital score of the game arrived in the 20th minute when a mix-up in the Newcestown goalmouth saw John Cullinane usher the ball to the net. But it was Newcestown who closed the first-half scoring with a point from impressive centre back James Kelleher, as Goleen led 1-6 to 0-4 at half time.
The second half produced a different story as Newcestown emerged a much more determined side, with veteran John Crowley, Mark Courtney and James Kelleher marshalling a much-tighter defence, Rick Bradfield taking control at midfield against a tiring Goleen side, and Kieran Kelly, Gerard O’Driscoll and Cian Healy trying hard up front.
Points from Kelly and Bradfield closed the gap, and there were further scores from Cian Healy (two frees) and Kieran Kelly to close the lead to two points twice in the closing 20 minutes, but that was as close as they got against tenacious Goleen tackling.
The closing minutes were played out in a welter of excitement with some strong runs by a rejuvenated Darren O’Donovan, great leadership by John Cullinane and courageous defending by Daniel O’Driscoll being vital for Goleen.
During the second half, Goleen managed only two points from man-of-the-match Daniel O’Driscoll, and Tadhg Cullinane (free), but they were vital scores as they provided the winning margin at the end.
Goleen: John Cullinane 1-1; Tadhg Cullinane 0-3 (2f); Michael O’Reilly 0-2; Padraig Reidy, Daniel O’Driscoll 0-1 each.
Newcestown: Cian Healy 0-4 (3f); Kieran Kelly 0-3; Rick Bradfield, James Kelleher 0-1 each.
Goleen: Ronan Kennedy; Jack O’Driscoll, Dan O’Callaghan, James Scully; Padraig Reidy, Daniel O’Driscoll, Michael Sheehan; Paudie Scully, David O’Leary; John Cullinane, Darren O’Donovan, Shane O’Leary; Patrick Scully, Tadhg Cullinane, Michael O’Reily.
Subs: Sam Coughlan for S O’Leary (40), Sean Sheehan for M O’Reilly (47), Isaac Solomen for P Reidy (50), Danny Cullinane for M Sheehan (59).
Newcestown: Cathal Clarke; Mark Courtney, John Crowley, Mark Shorten; Gerard Murphy, James Kelleher, Evan Shorten; Bryan O’Connor, Rick Bradfield; Kieran Kelly, Padraig Collins, James Curran; Patrick Kenneally, Cian Healy, Cathal Cadogan.
Subs: Gerard O’Driscoll for G Murphy (28), Denis Fahey for P Kenneally (40).
Referee: Alan Long (Argideen Rangers).