Sport

Meet West Cork's comeback kings

April 5th, 2017 9:00 AM

By Southern Star Team

The Riverside Athletic team that won the 2015/16 WCL Premier Division title.

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A few weeks have passed since Barcelona’s incredible comeback victory against PSG in the Champions League, and it’s given us a chance to put together a few local sporting comebacks of note. KIERAN McCARTHY gets us started with these five

 

LET’S go back to May 2008 when Riverside Athletic, needing a win to retain their WCSL U16 league title, found themselves 3-0 down at home in Ballineen to Bunratty United with 25 minutes left in their last game. Their crown was slipping.

Bunratty were superb up to that point, Simeon Lipitch, Sean Evans and Eddie Goggin all scoring to move them 3-0 in front.

Down and out, Riverside responded. The heroics began.

Rory Baggott converted a penalty with 25 minutes left. Game on.

Jason Collins bundled the ball over the line five minutes later from a corner to make it 3-2.

With two minutes to go, Baggott bagged his second goal, a thundering volley.

Deep in injury-time Riverside won a free on the edge of the Bunratty penalty box. Baggot wrapped his foot around the ball, curling home a stunning goal for his hat-trick and the U16 league title for Riverside.

The Riverside Athletic team included Brian Corcoran, Denis O’Driscoll, Cormac Lordan, Jason Collins (captain), Neil Crowley, Luke Murphy, Rory Baggott (man of the match), Sean Ryan, Brian McCarthy, John Daly, Neville Maybury, Michael O’Driscoll, Noel Lane, Niall Kelleher, Mark O’Driscoll and Gearoid Harrington.

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Adrigole’s footballers also deserve a mention for their part in the text-book definition of a game of two halves. It was a 2015 IFC relegation play-off against Millstreet on October 10th that year in Dunmanway.

The Beara men were abject in the first half and trailed 2-7 to 0-1 at half time – a Paul Green point was all Adrigole could show for their first-half efforts.

The second half was incredible as they rattled off 2-8 without reply, with Kevin Goggin and Darragh Carey scoring goals, the latter coming three minutes from the end, to edge them in front, 2-8 to 2-7.

Somehow Millstreet fashioned an equaliser two minutes into injury time thanks to Michael Vaughan to take this tie to a replay (2-8 apiece) that the Duhallow men won two weeks’ later.

 

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Maybe it’s just coincidence or maybe they’re programmed not to give up, but another Riverside Athletic comeback makes this list. This time we’re looking at the 2013/14 Division 1 play-off between Riverside and Clonakilty Town, the winner to earn promotion to the Premier Division. Clonakilty led 4-0 at half time – Jonathan Leahy, Dan Walker, Jack O’Mahony and an own goal putting them in control – but back came Riverside to win 5-4 after extra time, Stephen Keohane getting the winner. Riverside won promotion to the WCL Premier Division and last season won that title for the first time.

 

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We have our GAA correspondent Tom Lyons to thank for digging up this comeback from the archives; September 18th, 1966 in Bandon to be more precise.

Tom has christened this as ‘the greatest comeback in a South West junior final’, and we’re not going to disagree with a man of such experience.

So, the 1966 South West JAFC final, for the Little Norah Cup, saw Dohenys take on Newcestown. In the ’65 decider, Dohenys hammered Newcestown (2-9 to 1-0) but the following season was a lot closer.

With five minutes left, Newcestown led by 2-4 to 1-2.

Dohenys’ first point from play came in the 56th minute, John Crowley then raced through for a great Dohenys goal to close the gap to a single point, 2-4 to 2-3. 

In the last minute Dohenys were awarded a free near the sideline, 40 yards out, and the ball was played in to Doheny full back Mick Farr who buried it in the net. 

The final whistle blew immediately, Dohenys winners by 3-3 to 2-4, daylight robbery against a far superior Newcestown team. Dohenys, captained by DD Lyons, went on to win the county title and Newcestown won the county the following year.

 

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In last year’s South West U21B FC final, Bandon led Ibane Gaels by five points with three minutes left in Ahiohill. Given the comebacks you’ve already read about, you know what happens next.

Jack Cahalane added an Ibane free, Daniel O’Driscoll scored another point, Cahalane tapped over an injury-time free to make it a two-point game. Ibane full back Joe Sheehan then, incredibly, scored a 65th minute goal before Mark Crowley added another point for the winners who won 2-14 to 3-9. It was a first-ever SW U21 title for the Barryroe/Timoleague combination and they went on to land the county title.

 

If you have recollections of any great comebacks in West Cork sport, email us: [email protected]

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