Hamilton HS 3-13
Skibbereen CS 0-8
REPLAYS often take on a life of their own and so it was with the replay of the Dr Herlihy Cup football final for secondary schools’ first year pupils in Dunmanway on Saturday week
The drawn game the previous Sunday had proved a thriller with Hamilton High staging a great second-half comeback to force a draw but there was no doubting the better team this time as the Bandon school proved far superior on the day.
Hamilton really hit top form in this replay and even though they again waited until the second half to stamp their authority on proceedings on the scoreboard, the hard work was done in the first half against the breeze.
Skibbereen played their best football in the first half with the breeze but their lead of two points at the break was never going to be enough to keep Hammies at bay in the second period.
As it was, three perfectly-timed goals in the 35th, 40th and 45th minutes, all superb team efforts, eased Hamilton’s path to their fourth title in a row in this competition.
With the breeze, Skibbereen started very well and looked impressive as Niall Daly kicked two quick points, play and free. Even though Darragh McCarthy pulled one back for Hamilton, it was Skibb on top in the early exchanges with Paddy French, Jack O’Neill, Shane O’Connell, Adam Johnson, Niall Daly and Paddy McCarthy all impressing.
Points from Johnson and Cawley stretched Skibb’s lead to three points by the tenth minute but all efforts to bring their dynamic corner forward Liam McCarthy, who had created wreck in the drawn game, into play were thwarted by a tight-marking Paddy Gaffney and the Hamilton tactic of cutting off the supply of ball.
Darragh McCarthy blasted just over the crossbar and Niall Kelly pointed a free as Hamilton cut the lead to a point, 0-4 to 0-3, by the end of the first quarter.
Skibb again took control and good points from Daly (2) and Jack O’Neill put them four in front. Just when it looked as if Skibb might build up a good half-time lead they were hit by a Hamilton revival that yielded points from Olan Corcoran and Kelly to cut the lead to two points by the break, 0-7 to 0-5.
The second half told a far different story to the first half as Hamilton upped the pace of their football with the breeze to their backs and took complete control of the game.
With Paddy Gaffney, Evan O’Shea and Fionn Ustianowski sealing off the defence and Jack Callanan and Niall Kelly dominating midfield, the Bandon side poured forward looking for scores. Up front the combination work of Olan Corcoran, Darragh McCarthy, Ronan Crowley, Eoin Guinane, and strong captain Conor O’Sullivan was outstanding as they piled on the pressure.
Darragh McCarthy kicked a quick point and even though Skibb goalkeeper Mark Cooke brought off a great save from O’Sullivan, Hamilton made the first break-through in the 35th minute when Ronan Crowley finished a flowing move to the Skibb net.
Guinane added a point but in a rare break-away, Skibbereen almost goaled when Liam McCarthy, showing what he could do if not watched closely, drove just wide of the upright.
Another flowing team move saw Darragh McCarthy raising another green flag for Hamilton in the 40th minute and the outstanding Corcoran, dictating matters up front for Hamilton, kicked a point before O’Sullivan found good space to finish to the net in the 45th minute. It was 3-8 to 0-7 as the last quarter began and to Skibb’s credit, they refused to give up despite the scoreline, but this was Hamilton’s day as McCarthy, Corcoran and Kelly added points before Skibb again were out of luck when Niall Daly’s rasper came back off the crossbar.
Skibb had their only point of the half from Paddy McCarthy, before Hamilton finished a good outing with points from Ciarán O’Donovan and Conor O’Sullivan.
It finished 3-13 to 0-8 as Hamilton completed the four-in-a-row and the Dr Herlihy Cup was presented to winning captain Conor O’Sullivan by Brian Herlihy, son of the late Dr Michael Herlihy, with Barry Herlihy also in attendance.
Hamilton HS: Darragh McCarthy 1-4 (1f), Conor O’Sullivan 1-1, Ronan Crowley 1-0, Olan Corcoran (1f), Niall Kelly (2f) 0-3 each, Eoin Guinane and Ciarán O’Donovan 0-1 each.
Skibbereen CS: Niall Daly 0-4 (1f), Jack O’Neill, Adam Johnson, Eoghan Cawley, Paddy McCarthy 0-1 each.
Hamilton HS: Eoin McSweeney (Newcestown); Tim O’Leary (Bandon), Paddy Gaffney (do.), Ian O’Donovan (Ahán Gaels); Evan O’Shea (Valley Rovers), Matthew Woods (do.), Fionn Ustianowski (Kilbrittain); Jack Callanan (Bandon), Niall Kelly (Newcestown); Eoin Guinane (Valley Rovers), Jonathan O’Leary (do.), Olan Corcoran (Ahán Gaels); Darragh McCarthy (do.), Ronan Crowley (Kilbrittain), Conor O’Sullivan (Ahan Gaels).
Subs: Cian Johnson (Bandon) for T O’Leary (46), Ciarán O’Donovan (Newcestown) for R Crowley (48), Adam Casey (Valley Rovers) for I O’Donovan (53), Jason Kelleher (Valley rovers) for E Guinane (55), James Burrows (Newcestown) for F Ustianowski (55).
Skibbereen CS: Mark Cooke (Kilmacabea); Paddy McCarthy (Clann na nGael), Jason Hurley (Tadhg MacCárthaigh), Joseph Bohane (Castlehaven); Paddy French (do.), Jack O’Neill (do.), Hugh O’Donovan (Clann na nGael); Adam Johnson (Gabriel Rangers), Daniel Buckley (Castlehaven); Niall O’Sullivan (Clann na nGael), Niall Daly (Ilen Rovers), Cathal Hegarty (Tadhg MacCárthaigh); Eoghan Cawley (Ilen Rovers), Liam McCarthy (Kilmacabea), Shane O’Connell (Castlehaven).
Subs: Cathal O’Sullivan (Tadhg MacCárthaigh) for N O’Sullivan (40), Gavin McCarthy (Clann na nGael) for E Cawley (48).
Referee: Frank Quill (Bantry Blues).