Clonakilty AFCB 2
Clonakilty Town 2
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
CLONAKILTY AFC B and Clonakilty Town got the New Year off to a terrific start following a 2-2 West Cork League Division 2 draw in Ballyvackey last Monday.
The traditional ‘Clonakilty Classico’ served up a cracking local derby with promotion-chasing AFC B having to settle for a point on a day newly-crowned champions Clonakilty Town were repeatedly thwarted by the home team’s goalkeeper Chris O’Donnell.
The visitors dominated possession and territory throughout much of the opening quarter with Danny Lane and Sean O’Reilly firing wide from distance. Goalkeeper Eamonn Harte was rarely troubled as Clonakilty AFC B struggled to settle into their usual rhythm.
Yet for all their dominance, the Division 2 champions were guilty of over-elaborating in the final third and failing to release a potent forward line comprising of Sean O’Reilly and Jonathan Leahy. Jerry Coughlan, Alan Murphy and Reuben Henry’s positive play kept Town on the front foot but Peter O’Donoghue and Ruaidhri Houlihan’s composed central defensive partnership ensured the score remained 0-0 until the quarter-hour mark.
It was at that point that Clonakilty AFC B punished their opponents’ profligacy. An unnecessary foul presented Colm Footman with a sight of goal and the Clonakilty AFC B winger’s set-piece delivery fell kindly for Ruaidhri Houlihane who slotted home from close range.
Clonakilty Town’s Jeff O’Donoghue stung Chris O’Donnell’s palms from a long-range free-kick but the loss of influential forward Sean O’Reilly to injury appeared a major blow until replacement, Eoin Ryan, made his presence felt. The sub drew an entertaining derby level after 31 minutes by forcing the ball over the line after Chris O’Donnell had tipped Alan Murphy’s initial effort back off an upright.
Neither side was content to settle for a 1-1 draw as O’Donnell dived bravely at Jonathan Leahy’s feet and Eamonn Harte denied Paul O’Driscoll towards the end of an exciting first half.
An increasingly confident Clonakilty Town came close to retaking the lead either side of the break with O’Donnell saving point-blank from Eoin Ryan and the striker’s namesake ending a dribble through the AFC B defence with a shot straight into the goalkeeper’s midriff.
The hosts were struggling to contain Town’s constant attacks and would have conceded a second were it not for poor finishing and Chris O’Donnell’s heroics. It took a Colm Footman effort that flew inches over the crossbar to spark Clonakilty AFC B into life but the same player wasted a golden opportunity, missing the target with only Eamonn Harte to beat after 56 minutes.
Rediscovering their first-half form, a series of corners and free-kicks helped Clonakilty Town reassert control before the visitors netted for a second time. Reuben Henry had a fine game for the Darrara-based club and his run and cross was directed into the net by Eoin Ryan to make it 2-1.
A pulsating closing quarter saw Clonakilty Town squander a succession of chances to kill off their opponents before Aidan Pendlebury’s cross ended with AFC B’s Colm Footman angling an effort narrowly wide. That attempt encouraged the hosts to press higher up the pitch and AFC B capped a dominant spell with Stephen Skinner converting from close range to make it 2-2 on 72 minutes.
Only a magnificent Chris O’Donnell finger-tip save prevented Jonathan Leahy from edging Town back in front shortly after and the Clonakilty AFC B net-minder ensured his side earned a share of the spoils with a string of superb saves before the final whistle shrilled.
Clonakilty AFC B: Chris O’Donnell, Peter O’Donoghue, Cian O’Hea, Jamie Shine, Ruaidhri Houlihan (captain), Paul O’Driscoll, Ger O’Donovan, Ben Van Bree, Stephen Skinner, Eoghan Houlihan, Colm Footman.
Subs: LJ O’Brien, Mark O’Sullivan, Aidan Pendlebury, Sam Kingston.
Clonakilty Town: Eamonn Harte, John Sheehan, Eoin P Ryan, Alan Murphy, Danny Lane, Jeff O’Donoghue, Sean O’Reilly, Finbarr Butler (captain), Reuben Henry, Jonathan Leahy, Jerry Coughlan.
Subs: Jason Kidney, Eoin P Ryan, Cian Crowley.
Referee: Anthony McDermott.