TOM LYONS REPORTS
NEW Carbery JAFC champions Kilmacabea’s first venture into the county championship proved a real test of their character in wet and slippery conditions in Blarney last Saturday.
Kilworth, the runners-ups in Avondhu, provided the opposition and it proved to be a real battle all through.
Kilmacabea emerged winners because they were the better footballers, had a very tight defence and had a couple of forwards capable of penetrating the opposing defence.
Ultimately, Damien Gore’s early goal was key, putting daylight between the sides in the 15th minute. Gore shot for a point from 30 metres out but his mishit shot deceived the goalkeeper to squeeze over the line at the butt of the upright. With scores highly scarce, it helped the Kilmacs to lead 1-3 to 0-2 at the break.
While the Kilworth side gave as good as they got in most positions, they lacked scoring power up front, kicking only two points from play as the Kilmac defence frustrated them.
‘We expected a tough battle from Kilworth,’ said Kilmac mentor Denis O’Driscoll.
‘We watched them last Saturday and even though they seemed to be out of that game at different stages, they battled away and never gave up. It was the same today. They were tough and hard-hitting, very defensive and we found it difficult to make headway against them.
‘The six-day turnover since the final meant we were a bit leaden and we played to suit them. They were very tight and we were hand-passing into traffic. When we started moving the ball around more we managed a few scores.’
The throw-in was delayed almost half an hour due to extra time in the Clonailty-Ballyhooly game and the Kilmacs were slow to settle in their first-ever county outing, in tough conditions.
Although Damien Gore, having the beating of the Kilworth full back line, pointed in the first minute, the Kilmacs didn’t score again for the following ten minutes as Kilworth hit hard and often. Paddy Moakley levelled for Kilworth before Diarmuid O’Callaghan shoved the Kilmacs in front again and though Gore’s goal came then, it failed to open the floodgates.
Kilworth were giving as good as they got at that stage and a dour second quarter produced only two points, Liam Whelan for Kilworth and Ger O’Donovan for the Kilmacs, leaving it 1-3 to 0-2 at half-time.
Defences reigned again in the third quarter. Tom Twomey kicked two frees for Kilworth but that was to be their total for the second half as Gore pointed a free for the Kilmacs before they extended their advantage in the final quarter with three unanswered points from Gore, O’Sullivan and Thompson to open a safe gap between the sides.
‘This was an entirely new experience for the team,’ said Denis O’Driscoll.
‘Winning the West Cork was fantastic but we told the players that this is a new opportunity that we will have to try to grasp, to put our best foot forward.
‘Today was a very big learning curve for us and there was a lot of nerves out there. We didn’t produce the quality of football we’re capable of because they drew us into a dogfight. The goal was definitely a lucky break for us and it gave us some breathing space.
‘We’ll hopefully be learning as we go along but this game was all about winning and we did that.’
Kilmacabea: Damien Gore (1f) 1-2, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Ger O’Donovan, Donncha McCarthy, Oisín O’Sullivan, Liam Thompson 0-1 each.
Kilworth: Tom Twomey 0-2f, Liam Whelan, Paddy Moakley 0-1 each.
Kilmacabea: Tim Donovan; Mark Jennings, Ciarán O’Donovan, Declan O’Sullivan; Donie O’Donovan, Clive Sweetnam, Sam O’Driscoll; Martin Collins, Joe Collins; Timmy Nyhan, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Ger O’Donovan; Donncha McCarthy, Richie O’Sullivan, Damien Gore.
Subs: Oisín O’Sullivan for Nyhan (27), Liam Thompson for Ger O’Donovan (46), Dan Lynch for Richie O’Sullivan (55), Eoin O’Sullivan for Gore (58).
Kilworth: Pat O’Brien; Brian Tobin, Mark O’Connor, Austin Hare; Ciarán Gowen, Dave Twomey, Liam Whelan; Eoin McGrath, James McCarthy; Jamie Sheehan, Paddy Moakley, Kieran Lane; Tom Twomey, George Heskin, Brian Sheehan.
Subs: Will Condon for Sheehan (19), Henry Allen for McCarthy (40), Justin Ahern for Moakley (48), Jason Twomey for Twomey (56).
Referee: Ian McCarthy (Bandon).