BRENDAN KENNEALLY REPORTS
AFTER watching Iveleary hit top form to win back-to-back Ross Oil Mid Cork junior football crowns, Don Murphy hailed the winner’s display.
Murphy is part of the four-strong Iveleary management team – along with John McNulty, John F O’Callaghan and Dan Kelleher – and the quartet, all former players, were delighted with their team’s impressive performance.
‘The opening 15 minutes was the best ever that we have seen from this team,’ Murphy lauded, and added, ‘we are privileged to be with them.’
Ominously for the rest, he added: ‘there is more in them still and we must push on now.’
It’s two JAFC titles in a row for Iveleary – the first time the club has achieved this – and eight in total after this comprehensive victory over Aghinagh at Macroom on Sunday afternoon.
Iveleary, appearing in their fifth successive final, were sensational at times while Aghinagh, appearing in only their fourth final ever and yet to win a title, were overwhelmed in the opening quarter and never really recovered sufficiently thereafter to create uncertainty about the outcome.
The winners were simply magnificent from the throw-in and had registered 1-6 to their opponent’s single point in that opening period. Team captain Cathal Vaughan opened the scoring with a point after two minutes and Chris Óg Jones had another three minutes later.
Three points in two minutes followed with Jones, Aaron O’Donovan and Brian Cronin on target, as Aghinagh were reeling under the onslaught. Then in the tenth minute Iveleary struck for their first goal, Jones feeding Conor O’Leary who spilled the ball in the parallelogram when appearing to be fouled but Chris Óg Jones was lurking to slide the loose ball to the net from close quarters to make it 1-5 to 0-0.
Liam Twohig got Aghinagh on the scoreboard at last in the 13th minute with a point from a free but Iveleary quickly replied.
The sides then swapped scores and after 20 minutes, with Iveleary leading 1-9 to 0-3, this game was clearly all over.
Iveleary had three forwards in superb form in Cathal Vaughan, Brian Cronin and Chris Óg Jones and their defence, flying fit, disciplined and totally focussed was in control against an Aghinagh attack lacking a good supply of quality ball.
Donal Corkery battled very hard up front for Aghinagh, Liam Twohig pointed the frees, some from difficult angles, but they were up against what has become a very formidable Iveleary defence.
In the ten-minute run up to half time, Aghinagh steadied the ship with a point apiece from William Coakley and Twohig, but Iveleary had three in reply. Ten points separated the teams at the break, 1-12 to 0-5, and it was obvious that Aghinagh would only be fighting for pride in the second half.
Iveleary never lost control in the second period but Aghinagh did improve substantially and some of their points were beautifully taken. Liam Twohig had the first score of the half after three minutes, pointing a free from out on the left corner, Brian Cronin hit two long-range points in reply and Cathal Vaughan added another from out near the sideline.
Twohig tried to work a goal from a free but the defence cleared its lines and the Aghinagh marksman pointed the next two frees to narrow the deficit to 1-15 to 0-8 by the 47th minute.
Spirited Donal Corkery had another Aghinagh point, Jones replied and when Twohig pointed his sixth free, Conor O’Leary pointed in reply, ten points still the gap between the teams with less than ten minutes remaining.
Aghinagh were fighting on and their efforts were rewarded in the 54th minute when Declan Ambrose kicked a superb goal with a bullet-like drive from an awkward angle. Within a minute Iveleary had their second goal, Brian Cronin fastest to react in a goalmouth scramble.
As the game ran its course, Brian Cronin pointed an Iveleary free, the only Iveleary score not coming from play, Chris Óg Jones had two more and Brian Cronin sent over another to complete an impressive afternoon’s work for the champions.
Next up for Iveleary is a county JAFC tie with Lyre this Sunday and trainer John McNulty feels that ‘we won’t have a problem keeping their feet on the ground. Last year we fell flat against Dromtariffe and paid a heavy price. We must sustain this level of performance now that we are out in the county again.’
Iveleary: C Óg Jones 1-8; B Cronin 1-7 (1f); C Vaughan 0-3; A O’Donovan, S Lehane, C O’Leary 0-1 each.
Aghinagh: D Ambrose 1-0; L Twohig 0-6 (6f); D Corkery 0-3; Wm Coakley 0-1.
Iveleary: Joe Creedon; Barry Murphy, Ciarán O’Riordan, Ger O’Riordan; Kevin Manning, Sean O’Leary, Sean O’Riordan; Sean Lehane, Daniel O’Riordan; Conor O’Leary, Cathal Vaughan, Barry O’Leary; Chris Óg Jones, Brian Cronin, Aaron O’Donovan.
Subs: Finbarr McSweeney for S Lehane (50), Ger McSweeney for A O’Donovan (53), Donal Cotter for G O’Riordan, Patrick O’Riordan and Mick Lucey for K Manning and D O’Riordan (both 60).
Aghinagh: Paul O’Sullivan; John Lynch, Dermot O’Callaghan, Sean Kelleher; Adam O’Leary, Dave Barry, Aodh Twomey; Gearóid O’Sullivan, Michael O’Brien; Declan Ambrose, Donal Corkery, Richard O’Sullivan; William Coakley, Micheál Corkery, Liam Twohig.
Subs: Con Buckley for M Corkery (45), Trevor Burns for D Barry (47), Matthew McCarthy for M O’Brien (52), Sean Horgan for A O’Leary (55), Micheál Horgan for R O’Sullivan (57).
Referee: Pat O’Leary (Kilmurry).