Leonard was the star of the show

May 13th, 2018 1:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Captain fantastic: Micky Farr presents the Liam Farr Cup to Stephen Leonard, captain of the Ilen Rovers team that defeated Carbery Rangers in the Clona Milk U21A FC final at Castlehaven. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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Tom Lyons picks the U21A and U21B teams of the South West championships


IT had been our intention to pick a Carbery U21 football team from the games we saw in the Clona Milk U21A and B championships, which have just finished. 

However, having gone through all the teams involved, we ended up with so many promising young footballers that it would be almost impossible, and unfair, to pick out a mere fifteen. 

Instead we decided to pick a team, plus subs, from the A championship and likewise from the B. 

It would be really interesting to see the teams in real opposition on the playing pitch. We haven’t included the C grade as we weren’t in a position to watch those games and that championship has yet to be finished.  

As usual, the U21 grade provided some marvellous games despite the vagaries of the weather in March and April, with numerous games being postponed. The B grade was every bit as competitive, and the standard almost as high. Time was when the town teams competed in A and the rural teams in B but those days are long gone with the rural clubs now every bit as strong as the urban. 

Some may have found it strange that the A final rested between two rural teams, Ilen Rovers and Carbery Rangers, while the B final featured two big towns, Skibbereen and Bandon but such are the vagaries of grading teams.

More and more injuries are playing a big part in championships and this season we saw two of the prominent U21 stars in the division, Mark Buckley of Dohenys and Damien Gore of Kilmacabea, watching from the sideline. Both, if fit, would have been automatic on our chosen teams.

What made these teams difficult to pick was that some teams played established stars in positions far different from their normal positions. 

For instance, Clonakilty played their Cork senior goalkeeper Mark White at midfield, thus depriving him of being our automatic selection as goalkeeper on our A team. Likewise, Ronan Walsh of Castlehaven is an established senior corner back and was in that position in our team last season. However, he was played at midfield by the Haven U21 selectors this season.


Carbery U21A Football Team 2018

Goalkeeper: Emmet Hourihane (Ilen Rovers) – There was very little between all the goalkeepers this season but the Ilen man was rock steady and in control of his defence all season. (Sub, John Patrick Eady, Carbery Rangers)

Right corner-back: Paddy O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers) –Steady, dependable and a fine marking back, impressed in all outings. (Sub, Kevin Keohane, Kilmeen).

Full-back: Rob Hegarty (Carbery Rangers) – A driving, exciting player, impossible to round and fiercely competitive. A bright senior future in store. (Sub, Seán Buttimer, Ahán Gaels)

Left full-back: Jack Collins (Ilen Rovers) – Played mostly at full back but too good a defender to leave off the team. Has all the makings of a rising star. (Sub, Paul Daly, Clonakilty).

Right half-back: Liam O’Donovan (Clonakilty) – Never less than totally committed in victory or defeat. A great attacking wing back with marvellous drive and pace. (Sub, Hugh O’Neill, Ilen Rovers).

Centre-back: Seán Minihane (Ilen Rovers) – A host of outstanding centre backs in the championship, the Ilen man was an inspiring figure for his team once free of injury. (Sub, Cian Daly, Carbery Rangers).

Left half-back: Patrick Bohane (Castlehaven) – Continued his promising form from last season and is showing all the signs of a fine attacking wing back. (Sub, Dylan Scannell, Ahán Gaels).

Midfield: Mark Hodnett (Carbery Rangers) – Strong, mobile and a fine score-getter. Outstanding in every game. (Sub, Ronan Walsh, Castlehaven).

Midfield: Tom Bushe (Ilen Rovers) – A lovely, rangy, athletic midfielder, plenty pace and well able to score. Great work-rate. (Sub, Gearóid O’Donovan, Ahán Gaels).

Right half-forward: Matthew Draper (Ahán Gaels) – Slightly out of position but this talented, classy, exciting forward had to be included for his scoring exploits. (Sub, Donal Collins, Ilen Rovers).

Centre-forward: Cathal O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) – Strong, forceful, whole-hearted and possesses a lethal left leg. Scores in every game. (Sub, David Lowney, Clonakilty).

Left half-forward: Cathal Maguire (Castlehaven) – Again slightly out of position but outstanding attacker with a great eye for goal. (Sub, Jason Hickey, Ilen Rovers).

Right corner-forward: Stephen Leonard (Ilen Rovers) – The outstanding player of the championship. Unmarkable at times and the scorer of vital goals. A rich talent. (Sub, Darragh Hayes, Carbery Rangers).

Full-forward: Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys) – One of the best young footballers to emerge from Dunmanway, exciting to watch and deceptively strong. (Sub, Seán McEvoy, Clonakilty)

Left corner-forward: Conor Cahalane (Castlehaven) – On his day one of the best forwards in Carbery and can play in any position. (Sub, Aaron O’Sullivan, Ilen Rovers).

Carbery U21B Football Team 2018

Goalkeeper: Paul Minihane (O’Donovan Rossa) – Outstanding shot-stopper and brave to a fault, should make a great senior keeper for Rossas in the future. (Sub, Ciarán McCarthy, Bandon).

Right corner-back: James Kelleher (Newcestown) – Strong, tough, fearless and a fine man-marker. Always alert. (Sub, Jeremy Collins, Bandon).

Full-back: Eoin Fitzgerald (O’Donovan Rossa) – Classy footballer with great positional sense and great to lay off the ball. (Sub, Kieran Walsh, Bandon). Left corner-back: Colin Crowley (Owen Gaels) – Lively, pacy, adventurous and full of running. A spirited player. (Sub, Niall Fitzgerald, O’Donovan Rossa).

Right half-back: Eamonn O’Shea (Urhan) – A real competitor, and always looking for the ball. Skilful and promising. (Sub, Sam Dewey, Kilbrittain).

Centre-back: Joe O’Mahony (Bandon) – Fiercely competitive, a rallying force and always on the go looking for possession. (Sub, Shane O’Driscoll, O’Donovan Rossa).

Left half-back: Brian Minihane (O’Donovan Rossa) – Utterly dependable, does his job without fuss and never knows when he’s beaten (Sub, Gearóid O’Donovan, Newcestown).

Midfield: Seán Fitzgerald (O’Donovan Rossa) – The talented work-horse of the Rossa side, everything revolves around him. (Sub, Seán O’Donovan, Newcestown).

Midfield: Seán Ryan (Owen Gaels) – Fierce work-rate, great heart and loves his football, a wonderful attitude. (Sub, Jack Cowap, O’Donovan Rossa).

Right half-forward: Colm Dineen (Newcestown) – Non-stop action, always looking and moving, fine finisher and great team-man. (Sub, Ciarán Nyhan, Owen Gaels).

Centre-forward: Rory Byrne (O’Donovan Rossa) – Big, strong, rangy, talented footballer and marvellous work-rate. (Sub, Ben Murray, Owen Gaels).

Left half-forward: Dylan Hourihane (O’Donovan Rossa) – Stylish, speedy, skilful and a marvellous work-rate. Play anywhere in the forward line. (Sub, Eoin Nolan, Bandon).

Right corner-forward: Elliot Connolly (O’Donovan Rossa) – Fast, lively, nippy, dangerous and a real poacher near goal. Exciting to watch. (Sub, Josh O’Donovan, Kilbrittain).

Full-forward: Adam Murphy (Bandon) – One of the most exciting and unpredictable forward talents in the division. Has a great eye for goal and is always competitive. Three goals in the final showcased his promise. (Sub, Philip O’Shea, Urhan).

Left corner-forward: Philip Wall (Kilbrittain) – A real poacher, lovely ball player and full of running. Hard to tie down. (Sub, Ben Donegan, Bandon).

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