JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
KILMEEN’S sojourn in the lower ranks of football in West Cork has been short, but sweet.
Following this emphatic 11-point victory over a disappointing, but hard-trying Dohenys second outfit in the final of the Bandon Co-op JBFC at Ballinacarriga, Kilmeen have re-joined the higher echelons of football society at the first attempt and will compete again at A level in 2023.
It was a trap-to-line triumph based on a rock-solid defensive formation, a dominant midfield pairing and an attack that was lethal on the many chances afforded to them.
In contrast, Dohenys struggled to put together positive moves, the one exception being talented full forward Gareth Crowley who emerged as their leading talisman. Fittingly, he was at the end of a move instigated by Daniel McSweeney to billow the Kilmeen rigging deep in second-half injury-time.
In the interim Kilmeen sowed the seeds of victory and reaped a bountiful opening-half scoring harvest that saw them take a commanding 2-7 to 0-4 lead into the interval break.
A blistering opening quarter with Damien O’Gorman, Don McCarthy, Darren Santry, Óige Scannell, Shane O’Donovan and unerring free-taker Oisín O’Sullivan all playing leading roles was of paramount importance to the result.
Dohenys, too, were in trouble around the middle third where Brian and Jonathan Deasy held sway but the work ethic of Tadhg O’Leary, Daniel McSweeney, Darragh Collins, Cathal Daly and Nathan O’Donovan could not be faulted, while on the mark Gareth Crowley was a tireless forager.
Steadily, Kilmeen built up a commanding first quarter lead with points by Oisín O’Sullivan (free), Don McCarthy and Darren Santry and then the early breakthrough. A delightful delivery by Danny O’Sullivan saw the lethal Shane O’Donovan smash the ball past Adrian Cronin.
Dohenys’ first shot in anger came in the 15th minute as Steven O’Donovan’s attempt was blocked down, but a minute later Brendan McCarthy parted to Crowley who fired over their opening white flag. O’Sullivan (free) and a brace by Darren Santry extended the winner’s lead, now 1-7 to 0-1 by the 23rd minute. However, a neat Dohenys move involving Cathal Daly, Niall Hurley and Darragh Collins resulted in Dohenys’ second score by the latter.
Unfortunately, in the very next attack their citadel fell for a second time. The two Deasys, Brian and Jonathan, were both involved before O’Gorman crashed home Kilmeen’s second goal.
Undaunted, Dohenys battled on and the nearest they came to goaling saw Nathan O’Donovan’s blistering drive superbly saved by Kilmeen shot-stopper William Tyner.
Gareth Crowley pointed two further frees prior to the interval in what proved to be Dohenys’ best period in attack.
On resuming O’Sullivan and Crowley swapped white flags, but despite Dohenys reshuffling their attack and emptying the bench, Kilmeen went on to assume cruise control. A deluge of points by O’Sullivan, O’Gorman, Scannell and substitute James Clancy had them out the gap and ready to celebrate well before South West Board chairman Aidan O’Rourke presented the cup to Brian O’Donovan, captain of the victorious Kilmeen team.
Kilmeen manager Mike Burke felt their fast start was really beneficial, while the continued high tempo helped enormously to enable them wrest control of the game.
‘We opted for a fast start, as we did in the last couple of games, but importantly we continued at that level to pick off the scores and get the job done. They worked hard all year and today got their just rewards. Dylan Coffey came on at half time and when Dohenys applied the pressure he was very effective as a defensive sweeper,’ Burke explained.
‘Part of the strategy was to get back up at the first attempt and happily we achieved that today. We play the Muskerry winners in the county, I think in October, and we will prepare accordingly and give it our best shot.’
Kilmeen: Oisín O’Sullivan 0-5 (5f); Damien O’Gorman 1-2 (1f); Darren Santry 0-3; Shane O’Donovan 1-0; Don McCarthy, Óige Scannell, James Clancy 0-1 each.
Dohenys: Gareth Crowley 1-4 (2f); Darragh Collins 0-1.
Kilmeen: William Tyner; Liam O’Brien, Sean Deasy, Cian Murphy; Danny O’Sullivan, Brian O’Donovan, Don McCarthy; Brian Deasy, Jonathan Deasy; Shane O’Donovan, Óige Scannell, Kevin Keohane; Oisín O’Sullivan, Damien O’Gorman, Darren Santry.
Subs: Dylan Coffey for Brian Deasy (ht), James Clancy for Darren Santry (ht), MD Keohane for Óige Scannell (40), Joe Bailey for Shane O’Donovan (46), Daniel O’Leary for Cian Murphy (51).
Dohenys: Adrian Cronin; Jack McCarthy, Tadhg O’Leary, Kevin Cotter; Josh Burke, Padraig O’Mahony, Daniel McSweeney; Darragh Collins, Cathal Daly; Brendan McCarthy, Steven O’Donovan, Niall Hurley; Ray Jennings, Gareth Crowley, Nathan O’Donovan.
Subs: Ellis Farrell for Jack McCarthy (18), Darren Kelly for Niall Hurley (35), Dave Mawe for Brendan McCarthy (38), Alan Brickley for Cathal Daly (46), Eoin Buckley for Ray Jennings (52).
Referee: Sean Levis (Muintir Bháire).