Damien Gore scores 11 points as Kilmacabea’s late burst clinches football title
THE KILMACS are back.
Six points in the last ten minutes powered Kilmacabea to victory over a fancied Bandon in a classic Clóna Milk South West U21 B football championship final at Ballinascarthy last Sunday.
This was the winners’ eighth title at this level, their last victory being back in 2013.
This was an absorbing contest, the sides level on six occasions, both goalkeepers bringing off some spell-binding saves with the pendulum swinging back and forth until the Kilmacs pulled away for a famous victory with that last unstoppable surge.
Kilmacabea manager Noel McCarthy was ecstatic with the triumph.
‘It was a real cliff-hanger. We knew if we could get ahead of Bandon towards the end we had a great chance of winning. This Kilmacabea team is a real determined group of lads. Their attitude all the year has been excellent, I’m really delighted for them, they deserve this result,’ McCarthy said.
‘They worked their socks off today, their football skills came to the surface and of course we finished very strongly. This is a huge boost for the club and we can integrate several of these lads into our junior team. I thought when we pulled three points ahead towards the end we would hang on, but we could never relax against what was a very talented Bandon team.’
Despite playing against the stiff breeze Kilmacabea drew first blood when Damien Gore bisected the uprights after a fine move involving their outstanding midfield duo of Martin Collins and Niall Boukett.
Bandon – with Adam Murphy, Jonathan Mulcahy, Mark O’Regan and Paul Lang prominent – soon showed they were up for this one as Lang and O’Regan (free) nosed them ahead by the sixth minute. In the run up to the latter’s score Kilmacabea goalkeeper Matthew O’Neill produced the first of a series of fabulous saves denying Adam Murphy from point-blank range.
The pace was unrelenting as Kilmacabea were putting huge pressure on the Bandon defence, thanks to the probing runs by a dominant half-back division of Darren Whooley, captain Diarmuid O’Callaghan and particularly Ellis Wilson.
Gore pointed a quartet of frees between the ninth and the 21st minutes, his influential meanderings outfield sending off alarm bells in Bandon’s defensive cover, while the forays of brilliant centre-forward Ian Jennings were proving a major threat. Against the wind Kilmacabea were sitting pretty, 0-5 to 0-3 ahead, but suddenly Bandon exploded into scoring action.
A wonderful burst up field by Aidan O’Mahony saw him drift past a maze of Kilmacbea defenders before planting the ball in the net in the 22rd minute for the game’s only goal. Murphy added a brace of points, O’Regan chipped in with another, as did O’Mahony, as Bandon turned a two-point deficit into a five-point advantage, 1-7 to 0-5, scoring an unanswered 1-4 between the 22nd and 27th minutes.
Amidst this scoring burst Bandon shot-stopper Ciarán McCarthy pulled off a top-drawer stop from Jennings, while at the other end a fabulous reflex save by O’Neill foiled Murphy.
Gore (free) and Jennings cut the margin to a goal, 1-7 to 0-7, as Bandon faced into the strong wind on the resumption.
Points by the lively Eoin O’Sullivan and two lovely scores by Kevin Whooley and Ian Jennings had an ever-improving Kilmacabea level, 1-7 to 0-10, by the 43rd minute. Murphy and Jennings traded points, before a blockbuster by the former scraped the top of the Kilmacs’ crossbar. Gore was now really on song and with his colleagues responding all over the field he drew Kilmacabea level in the 49th minute, 1-9 to 0-12.
The signs were ominous for a tiring Bandon outfit as Kilmacabea cut loose to finish in barnstorming fashion, a sublime score by Ellis Wilson followed by another quartet of white flags from the irrepressible Gore, with Jennings icing a now nicely-baked Kilmacabea cake.
It was an unfortunate case of déjà vu for Bandon – they lost last year’s final late on to Ibane Gaels – and despite two points by Adam Murphy in the closing minutes, the day belonged to a resurgent Kilmacabea outfit.
Kilmacabea: Damien Gore 0-11 (7f), Ian Jennings 0-3, Eoin O’Sullivan, Kevin Whooley, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Ellis Wilson 0-1 each.
Bandon: Adam Murphy 0-7 (2f), Aidan O’Mahony 1-1, Mark O’Regan 0-2 (1f), Paul Lang 0-1.
Kilmacabea: Matthew O’Neill; Gavin Daly, Seamus Murphy, Darragh Tobin; Darren Whooley, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Ellis Wilson; Martin Collins, Niall Boukett; Miles Tobin, Ian Jennings, Kevin Whooley; Eoin O’Sullivan, Damien Gore, Dan Lynch.
Subs: Tiernan Kerrisk for Daly (36), Daly for Boukett (bc, 53).
Bandon: Ciarán McCarthy; Clifford Niles, Kieran Walsh, Aaron Burns; Jordan Fenton-Lehane, Timothy McCarthy, Eoin Hurley; Adam Murphy, Joe O’Mahony; Paul Lang, Aidan O’Mahony, Mark O’Regan; Jonathan Mulcahy, Eoin O’Sullivan, Eoin Nolan.
Subs: Eolann McSweeney for Walsh (20), Jack Kelly for Niles (bc, 57), Ben Donegan for Nolan (57), Nelson McCarthy for Hurley (58).
Referee: Michael Collins (Clonakilty).