Herlihy and Donegan combine to hit 3-12 for Bandon school
Hamilton HS 3-17
Skibbereen CS 1-12
THE deadly inside duo of Fionn Herlihy and Ben Donegan has ensured Hamilton High School’s passage to the play-off stages of the Corn Uí Mhuirí senior football championship.
The dangerous double act accounted for 3-12 between them against Skibbereen Community School in the Pool C West Cork derby played on Friday in Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s 4G pitch.
Hammies had already beaten DSL Macroom so this second win puts them into the play-offs, irrespective of the result of their next game against Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, who had beaten Skibb in the first round.
Skibbereen, who trailed by one point at half time but scored only one point in the second half, are now out of contention following two defeats. They were outplayed by a Hammies side that is already looking forward to the clash with Corca Dhuibhne.
‘We struggled in the first half and took a long time to settle,’ said Hammies’ mentor John O’Sullivan.
‘Their forwards were very sharp and dangerous and we knew we would have to gain control at midfield in the second half if we were to win. We explained to the lads at half time and, fair play, they did exactly what we wanted in the second half. We won midfield hands down and the lads inside did the rest.
‘Our team is not as physically strong as last season but we have more scoring forwards and that is making a big difference. We’ll be turning to hurling now for the next few weeks and then we’ll think about Corca Dhuibhne.’
There was little between the sides in the first half, Hammies playing with the breeze, and with both sets of forwards looking very sharp, we had plenty of scores. The dynamic Herlihy and Niall Lawton shoved Hammies in front before lively Elliot Connolly, play and free, levelled.
The first goal arrived in the tenth minute when Donegan took an Adam Walsh-Murphy pass to billow the Skibb net. When Murphy followed with a point it was looking good for the Bandon school.
Credit Skibb with great heart, as they roared back with an Aaron O’Sullivan goal in the 13th minute and even though Herlihy put Hammies two in front, back came Skibb with two points from frees by Elliot to end a great first quarter, 1-4 to 1-4. Hammies hit a good patch starting the second quarter with two points each from Herlihy and Donegan, Skibb managing only one from Eoin O’Neill. But once again Skibbereen responded well and points from Gavin Foley, the spirited Kevin O’Donovan and Aaron O’Sullivan to draw level again, 1-8 each.
In a game of flowing fortunes Hammies hit the front again and, following a Herlihy point, Donegan struck for his second goal of the day, set up by Aaron O’Leary.
Amazingly, Skibb lifted themselves again and finished a marvellous first half of sparkling football with three points in a row from Alf Minihane, O’Donovan and Connolly to finish the half only a point in arrears, 2-9 to 1-11.
Sam Burchill, Michael McCarthy, the strong Dermot Hegarty, Alf Minihane, O’Donovan and Elliot were all showing promising form for Skibb but the wheels truly came off in the second half against a stronger and more determined Hammies.
With Adam Kenneally taking control at midfield, well assisted by Cian McCarthy, and Tim Twohig, David Mucklan and Eoghan Collins putting up the shutters in defence, it was all Hammies in the second half, especially as they were winning most of the kick-outs from the Skibb goal.
After Niall Lawton had pointed a free, the third goal arrived in the 38th minute when Darragh O’Shea set up Herlihy and there could have been a few more, the ball flying just over the crossbar.
Three points from Herlihy, two from Donegan and one each from Lawton and Adam Walsh-Murphy brought Hammies’ total to 3-17 before Connolly had Skibbereen’s only point in the second half, from a free, in the last minute.
Hamilton HS: Fionn Herlihy 1-8 (2f), Ben Donegan 2-4, Niall Lawton 0-3 (2f), Adam Walsh-Murphy 0-2.
Skibbereen CS: Elliot Connolly 0-6 (4f), Aaron O’Sullivan 1-1, Kevin O’Donovan 0-2, Eoin O’Neill, Gavin Foley, Alf Minihane 0-1 each.
Hamilton HS: David Curtin (Ahan Gaels); Harry Lillis (Bandon), Tim Twohig (do.), David Mucklan (Valley Rovers); Eoghan Collins (Newcestown), Seán Barry (Valley Rovers), Cullan Barry (Sam Maguire); Adam Kenneally (Valley Rovers), Cian McCarthy (St Oliver Plunkett’s); Niall Lawton (Valley Rovers), Darragh O’Shea (do.), Adam Walsh-Murphy (do.); Aaron O’Leary (do.), Ben Donegan (Bandon), Fionn Herlihy (Sam Maguires). Subs: Sean Sexton for H Lillis (19), Eolann McSweeney for A O’Leary (53), Conor Hurley for A Kenneally (56).
Skibbereen CS: Rory Courtney (Castlehaven); Jack Collins (Ilen Rovers), Sam Burchill (Castlehaven), Liam Browne (do.); Eoin O’Neill (Ilen Rovers), Michael McCarthy (Tadhg MacCárthaigh), Seán Bohane (Castlehaven); Dermot Hegarty (Ilen Rovers), Jamie Shanahan (O’Donovan Rossa), Aaron O’Sullivan (Ilen Rovers); Gavin Foley (Castlehaven), Alf Minihane (do.), Kevin O’Donovan (do.), Andrew Whelton (do.), Elliot Connolly (O’Donovan Rossa).
Sub: Conor O’Neill (Ilen Rovers) for E O’Neill (47).
Referee: Cathal Egan (St Nick’s).