BY KIERAN McCARTHY
DAVID Lowney’s return from injury is a big boost to Clonakilty ahead of the all-West Cork county Premier 2 minor football championship final against Bantry Blues in Castlehaven next Monday night, October 5th, at 8pm.
The Clon senior had limped off with a hamstring injury in Clon’s semi-final win against Castlehaven, but he made a return to action in his club’s Cork SFC relegation final win against Aghada last Sunday in Brinny. He scored a goal in that game.
‘We should have a clean bill of health heading into Monday night’s clash with Bantry now that David Lowney has fully recovered from his recent injury. He played a big part in helping retain the club’s senior status last Sunday,’ Clonakilty minor selector Ger McCarthy explained.
Bantry Blues are sweating over the fitness of a few players ahead of this county final, and manager Arthur Coakley is expecting a tough task for his side.
‘If we can get over the few injury problems we have then we will give Clon a good game but you can’t escape the fact that they are favourites,’ Coakley said.
‘They are dripping in talent, they have some serious players, and there are fellas on their team that are even outshining their county minors from this year, so that shows you what we are up against.
‘We are after coming through a few hard, physical games that have taken their toll, but we are confident that once a few lads get over the niggles they have then we will give a good account of ourselves.’
Bantry have played two teams twice to get to the county final, as they beat Valley Rovers in round one (4-9 to 0-12) and in a quarter-final (2-13 to 0-10), before they needed a replay to beat Fr O’Neill’s in the semi-final (1-12 to 0-6 in the replay after a 1-17 to 2-14 draw in the first match).
Clonakilty have beaten Glanmire (2-15 to 4-6), Glenville (3-11 to 1-6), Ilen Rovers (1-18 to 1-7) and Castlehaven (1-13 to 1-11) to reach this stage, with Ross Mannix on fire in the semi-final win against the Haven, kicking 1-7.
Add in Tiarnán O’Connell, Mark White, David Lowney and Sean McEvoy and you can appreciate why the Bantry boss has bestowed Clon with the favourite’s tag.
But Clonakilty are just as wary of the Bantry challenge, as Ger McCarthy points out.
‘Bantry are going to be formidable opposition as they already beat us in the league earlier in the year and played extremely well in overcoming Father O’Neill’s after a replay in the county semi-final,’ McCarthy explained.
‘Arthur Coakley is a phenomenal player but Bantry possess a strong squad and it should make for a cracking final between two West Cork clubs who like to play attacking football.
‘I honestly don’t think there will be much in it. Hopefully, our forwards will click and our backs will be able to contain a talented Bantry Blues attacking division but the reality is that there’s little to choose between these teams so it should make for a great West Cork occasion.’
West Cork teams have fared well in this particular competition over the years with Beara (2009), Sam Maguires (2010), Valley Rovers (2011) and Clonakilty (2013) all capturing the Premier 2 minor football title. Kiltha Óg (2012) and Aghada (2014) have also been on the winner’s podium in recent years.