Ilen Rovers 3-17
WEST CORK GAEL REPORTS
ILEN Rovers’ inaugural appearance in the Paddy Minihane Invitational Cup final proved to be a successful one as they dethroned current holders Dohenys at Bantry last Monday.
This turned out to be a cracking game of free-flowing football, interspersed with some excellent scores from both teams.
Defences were in benevolent mood on occasions during the course of the hour, hence the high scoring returns. Nevertheless, Dohenys’ final tally could have been much greater, given the fact that they squandered, at least, four glorious goal-scoring opportunities.
Ilen were delighted with the win, having garnered some silverware at last, given the topsy-turvy nature of their season, as manager Johnny Holland explained.
‘We had a long season, picking up a lot of injuries, but this win sets us up nicely for 2016,’ Holland said.
The Ilen boss felt that their excellent start – they led 2-4 to 0-3 at the close of the opening quarter – set them up nicely to withstand Dohenys’ second-half rally.
‘We needed those two early goals, Dohenys really came at us after half time, but we rallied and took a few good scores to see us through. We are in relegation trouble at the moment, but this win is a confidence booster,’ Holland said.
Certainly, that early two-goal salvo rocked Dohenys, as after both teams had been level three times inside the first ten minutes (0-3 to 0-3), the danger being presented by Ilen’s trio of Dan MacEoin, full forward Kevin O’Sullivan and Alan Holland augmented by the ability of Sean O’Donovan to win possession on the 40 was soon evidenced on the scoreboard.
In a hectic foray Kevin O’Sullivan was fouled and a penalty awarded. Excellent Dohenys goalkeeper Darren Kelly brought off a fantastic save from Alan Holland’s drive, but he was powerless as Holland stroked the ball home from the rebound in the tenth minute.
Three minutes later a marvellous move involving MacEoin and O’Sullivan saw the latter’s thundering drive being parried by the advancing Kelly, only for O’Donovan to nip in and force the ball over the line.
Superb play by Dohenys midfielder Eoin Lavers, who slipped over a neat point in the 16th minute, and the emergence of Mark Buckley and Mark Quinn in the inside line of attack as a positive scoring duo, boosted the loser’s quest, resulting in a Dohenys penalty in the 18th minute.
A sniping run by Lavers saw him being grounded, but Quinn’s effort flew over the crossbar.
It proved a costly miss, as, a minute later, Ilen’s Conor O’Driscoll and Kevin O’Sullivan set-up Sean O’Donovan for his second goal. Dan MacEoin sent over a real beauty, and it was 3-5 to 0-5, by the 21st minute.
Dohenys came back with a Mark Quinn goal after good work by Patrick McCarthy and Mark Buckley. The latter added a free just before half time, as Dohenys trailed 3-7 to 1-6.
Ilen resumed with Tom Bushe partnering Conor O’Driscoll in the middle of the park, but it was a more committed Dohenys, with two fine scores by Mark Quinn (free) and Denis Healy, that cut the deficit still further.
It was all Dohenys now as they came forward relentlessly, but poor finishing was to prove their bugbear. Mark Buckley and Declan O’Dwyer had two glorious chances, but both shots just whistled wide of the target.
Ilen substitute Jack Bushe earned his spurs with two magnificent points in rapid succession, but still plucky Dohenys refused to capitulate. Eoin Lavers and Mark Buckley had fantastic scores in the 43rd and 44th minutes, 3-11 to 1-10, but Dohenys just could not get those elusive goals.
Both sides emptied their benches, but it was a composed Ilen, with points by Kevin O’Sullivan and Dan MacEoin (now operating at centre forward), who comfortably withstood the Dohenys siege to run out facile victors.
Ilen Rovers: Sean O’Donovan 2-1, Alan Holland 1-3, Dan MacEoin 0-6, Kevin O’Sullivan 0-3 (1f), Jack Bushe 0-2, Tom Bushe, Conor Harrington 0-1 each.
Dohenys: Mark Buckley 0-7 (4f), Mark Quinn 1-2 (1f, 0-1 pen), Eoin Lavers 0-3, Denis Healy 0-2.
Ilen Rovers: Daniel Hickey; Sean Minihane, Josh Pickett, Ciarán Cotter; Paddy Minihane, Alex Hassett, Eoin O’Donoghue; Conor O’Driscoll, Peadar O’Driscoll; Aidan Coughlan, Sean O’Donovan, Tom Bushe; Dan MacEoin, Kevin O’Sullivan, Alan Holland.
Subs used: Jack Bushe for Coughlan (38), Conor Harrington for O’Donoghue (41), Brendan Duggan for Conor O’Driscoll (45), Stephen Leonard for O’Donovan (50), Daniel O’Driscoll for Paddy Minihane (53), Paddy Hickey for Pickett (56).
Dohenys: Darren Kelly; Barry O’Donovan, Tom Collins, Sean Daly; Noel Collins, Donal Rice, David Collins; Eoin Lavers, Denis Healy; Declan O’Dwyer, Patrick McCarthy, Gerry McCarthy; Mark Buckley, Daniel McSweeney, Mark Quinn.
Subs used: Gareth Crowley, Ray Jennings, Alan Sheehan, John Crowley, Cathal O’Donovan.
Referee: Frank Quill (Bantry Blues).