BRENDAN KENNEALLY REPORTS
A STRONG second-half performance turned what looked like impending defeat into a thrilling victory and earned Kilmurry the Macroom Motors Mid Cork U21C football championship title at Rusheen on Saturday.
Having played with the wind, Kilmurry were a goal in arrears, 0-4 to 1-4, at half time. Indeed, early in the third quarter they went a point further behind and also trailed 0-6 to 1-6 in the 40th minute.
The winners had been getting on top, however, and the game was beginning to be played in the Macroom half of the field. Point by point Kilmurry cut the deficit to draw level. Michael Fitton’s point in the 47th minute had Kilmurry in front and playing with renewed drive. A smashing goal from centre back Conor Kelleher in the 55th minute was a huge boost. As Macroom failed to add to their tally the winners went on to take the title.
Playing with the wind, Kilmurry opened the scoring with an early Laurence Aisling point, but a free from Shane Meaney had Macroom level by the third minute. Back came Kilmurry with points from Jack Devine and Alex Aisling. Macroom were doing well at midfield with Cillian O’Donovan and Jack Sexton on top and Kilmurry defenders were forced to foul to contain the numerous attacks – Shane Meaney punished them with two points from frees to leave it 0-3 each after 11 minutes.
Meaney (free) for Macroom and Joe McGinn for Kilmurry swapped scores, and just before half time Macroom struck for what could have been a decisive score – a goal from Cillian O’Donovan who surged forward from midfield and combined with Bradley O’Shea before smashing the ball to the Kilmurry net. This gave Macroom a 1-4 to 0-4 lead, with the wind to their backs in the second half.
Kilmurry introduced two substitutes at the break, both of whom were to score, but it was Macroom who had the first point, from a Mark Hunt free. Joe McGinn matched this with a free and Laurence Aisling’s 34th-minute point cut the gap to two points. Kilmurry goalkeeper Stephen O’Donoghue made a terrific double save to deny Macroom but Macroom did get a point from play from Shane Meaney in the 40th minute to open up a gap once again.
Macroom were not to score again as Kilmurry began to drive forward and much of the remainder of the game subsequently was played in the Macroom half. Points from McGinn, Aaron O’Mahony and Denis Dullea had Kilmurry level in the 46th minute and Michael Fitton fired over the lead point a minute later.
Macroom were on the ropes and Conor Kelleher’s goal in the 52nd minute was a near knock-out blow.
Denis Dullea added a point but in the 58th minute fortune did not favour Macroom as Dylan Twomey’s punched cross was met by Mark Hunt but after consultation, the umpires disallowed the score and Macroom did not get another chance.
Scorers - Kilmurry: C Kelleher 1-0; J McGinn 0-3 (3f); L Aisling, D Dullea 0-2 each; A Aisling, J Devine, M Fitton, A O’Mahony 0-1 each.Macroom: C O’Donovan 1-0; S Meaney 0-5 (4f); M Hunt 0-1 (f).
Kilmurry: Stephen O’Donoghue; Eoin Keane, Gearóid O’Mahony; Darragh Linehan (captain), Conor Kelleher, Aaron O’Mahony; Laurence Aisling, Rory Duggan; Alex Aisling, Patrick Barry, Jack Devine; Alan Desmond, Joe McGinn. Subs: Denis Dullea, Michael Fitton (both ht).
Macroom: Liam Holland; Darragh Kiernan, James Galvin; Sam Kelleher, Jack O’Riordan, Robert Lucey; Cillian O’Donovan, Jack Sexton; Kieran Doody, Shane Meaney, Bradley O’Shea; Dylan Twomey, Mark Hunt. Sub: Gerry Kelleher
Referee: Peter Cotter (Dripsey).