Sam Maguires 2-10
Bantry Blues 0-5
TOM LYONS REPORTS
SAM Maguires justified their standing as favourites in this Rebel Óg West minor A football final in Aughaville when their scoring power saw them dispose of Bantry’s challenge with clinical efficiency in the second half.
The game changed in the space of three minutes at the end of the third quarter when Maguires struck for two decisive goals and from there to the end it was just a matter of how much the Dunmanway/Ballinacarriga lads would win by as the Bantry challenge evaporated.
There were some fine individual displays in this eagerly-awaited encounter, with most of them on the Maguires’ side. Keith White, who started at full forward and moved to centre forward in the second half but was liable to pop up anywhere, was the main fulcrum of the Maguires’ side and his work rate was immense.
Cork U17 player Fionn Herlihy was very strong in attack for the winners and caused lots of problems for a strained Bantry defence, winning and converting a vital penalty. Kieran Forbes and Bill Murphy were other forwards who provided plenty scoring power for the winners.
Rhys Coakley was a tower of strength at midfield for Maguires and his partner Cullan Barry showed great kicking ability. The Maguires’ defence played as a very solid unit in front of confident goalkeeper Stephen Daly.
For Bantry, full back Eric Dowling and strong centre back Eoghan Minehane, who made one memorable high catch, did their best to halt the Maguires’ tide while midfielder Kevin Coakley was the best fielder on view, in the real Barron mode. Shane McSweeney, Shane Crowley, Shane Murray and Kevin Clifford had moments up front but were often deprived of worthwhile possession.
The flying Keith White kicked the opening two points for Maguires and Cullan Barry pointed a 45 as the winners, who had been unavoidably late in arriving at the venue, got off to a bright start.
Shane Crowley pointed a free to open Bantry’s account and when Bill Murphy and Shane Murray (free) swapped points, it was Maguires in front by 0-4 to 0-2 at the end of a tame first quarter.
The second quarter began on a scrappy note, the highlight being the clash of the two number 11s, Fionn Herlihy and Shane McSweeney, who were marking each other. Scores were scarce, just two being registered as Keith White pointed a free and Shane Crowley closed the first-half scoring on the stroke of half time.
It was 0-6 to 0-3 at the break and it was looking good for Maguires on the restart when Bill Murphy pointed. However, they were dealt a blow when captain and centre back Jerry Farrell was black-carded in the 34th minute. Substitute Jason Daly did very well when introduced.
Bantry reduced the lead with a point from Kevin Clifford but them came the climax of the game when Maguires rattled the net twice. The first in the 41st minute was a well-worked score with Keith White and Fionn Herlihy involved before Kieran Forbes finished to the net.
Two minutes later, Herlihy cut through again and was hauled down in the parallelogram before converting the penalty kick himself.
Bantry were limited to a single score in the second half, a pointed free from Shane Murray in the dying minutes, although Maguires’ goalkeeper Stephen Daly saved well from Shane McSweeney. Cullan Barry (free and 45) and Keith White for Maguires added points for the winners.
Sam Maguires: Kieran Forbes 1-1, Keith White 0-4 (2f), Keith Herlihy 1-0 pen, Cullan Barry 0-3 (1f, 2 45), Bill Murphy 0-2.
Bantry Blues: Shane Crowley (1f), Shane Murray (2f) 0-2 each, Kevin Clifford 0-1.
Sam Maguires: Stephen Daly; David Farrell, Eoin Murray, Seamus Crowley; Declan Collins, Jerry Farrell, Darragh O’Connor, Rhys Coakley, Cullan Barry, Nathan O’Donovan, Fionn Herlihy, Kieran Forbes, Donncha Collins, Keith White, Bill Murphy.
Subs: Jason Daly for Jerry Farrell (black card, 34), Keith Forbes for Donncha Collins (38), Cian Collins for N O’Donovan (50), Gavin Lordan for D Farrell (50), Cian O’Neill for F Herlihy (58).
Bantry Blues: James Crowley; Shane Buckley, Eric Dowling, Patrick Goggin; Eoin Daly, Eoghan Minehane, Shane McSweeney; Kevin Coakley, Billy Foley; Shane Crowley, Liam Coakley, Tom Flynn; Kevin Clifford, Shane Murray, Timmy O’Driscoll.
Subs: Matthew Barry for L Coakley (half time), Ted Wiseman for T O’Driscoll (38), David O’Sullivan for P Goggin (46), Ciarán Thorton for S Buckley (46), Aidan O’Sullivan for S McSweeney (black card, 54), Paddy O’Neill for K Clifford (59).
Referee: Alan Long (Argideen).