O’Donovan Rossa 0-10
KATE O’Donovan’s heroics helped O’Donovan Rossa overcome Castlehaven in a thrilling Cork ladies’ football junior C county final replay at Dunmanway.
Replays rarely match the intensity or entertainment value of their predecessors but this encounter was the exception to the rule.
Despite some poor shooting, this was a terrific game that will live long in the memory and remained in the melting pot until the final ten minutes.
Up to that point, there was little to choose between two well-matched sides who tackled and surged forward with a ferocity that added to an already intense local derby. It is to both clubs credit that not one player took a backward step when the game was on the line.
Both were guilty of squandering numerous chances scoring opportunities but a more clinical Castlehaven led 0-8 to 0-6 with ten minutes remaining.
Enter Kate O’Donovan to write her name into the O’Donovan Rossa history books. The Skibbereen forward reduced the deficit to a single score ahead of an equally impressive point to level matters on 52 minutes.
A previously dominant Haven were struggling to get out of their half at this juncture. The roar that greeted O’Donovan Rossa and Kate O’Donovan’s third point in a row underlined how the pendulum was shifting as a marvellous encounter inched towards the final whistle. Then a wayward Castlehaven kick-out was seized upon by O’Donovan Rossa and Kate O’Donovan fired over her team’s insurance score.
The drama didn’t end there however, as Castlehaven net-minder Rachel Deasy produced a superb save and the tireless Shelly Daly surged clear at the opposite end only to angle her shot across Skibbereen’s goal and inches wide.
The final whistle heralded the conclusion of a superb advert for ladies’ football in West Cork. It was 0-3 apiece after after 19 hectic minutes of an opening half Rossa’s kicked eight wides. Next, Skibb’s Laura O’Mahony edged her side in front ahead of a terrific save from team-mate Aoife Leonard. Grainne Cullinane levelled matters shortly before the break prior to Rachel O’Driscoll (Castlehaven) and Nora Crowley (Skibbereen) exchanging points.
Emer McCarthy restored O’Donovan Rossa’s lead but Castlehaven were the better side in a third quarter that saw the eventual losers push two points in front.
Consecutive scores from the Haven’s full-forward line of Sarah O’Donovan, Katie Cronin and Grainne Cullinane looked to have put the game out of Skibbereen’s clutches with ten minutes to go. Kate O’Donovan had other ideas and the O’Donovan Rossa player’s four points without reply cemented a county title for the Skibbereen club.
O’Donovan Rossa: Kate O’Donovan 0-4, Laura O’Mahony 0-2, Fionnuala O’Driscoll, Fiona Leonard, Nora Crowley (1f), Emer McCarthy 0-1 each.
Castlehaven: Katie Cronin 0-3 (3f), Sarah O’Donovan, Grainne O’Sullivan 0-2 each, Rachel O’Driscoll 0-1.
O’Donovan Rossa: Aoife Leonard; Christine Fitzgerald (captain), Aoife Whooley, Eadaoin Fitzgerald; Deirdre Connolly, Sharon Stoutt, Aideen Bohane; Lisa Harte, Laura O’Mahony; Emer McCarthy, Fionnuala O’Driscoll, Kate O’Donovan; Nora Crowley, Fiona Leonard, Triona Murphy. Subs: Enya Breen for D Connolly (ht), Sarah Hurley for F O’Driscoll (47).
Castlehaven: Rachel Deasy; Aideen Santry, Niamh O’Sullivan, Margaret O’Regan; Jessica McCarthy, Shelly Daly, Aine Daly; Rachel Whelton, Siobhan Courtney (captain); Rachel O’Driscoll, Sarah O’Donovan, Brianna O’Shea; Katie Cronin, Orla O’Sullivan, Grainne O’Sullivan. Subs: Kate Browne for B O’Shea (ht), Alice O’Driscoll for K Browne (54).
Referee: Justin Murphy (Castletownroche).