BANDON had to fight off a late Urhan comeback before advancing to the final of the Clona Milk Carbery U21B football championship in Aughaville in Easter Saturday.
Bandon, beaten finalists for the past two seasons, are favourites to win the championship and after Adam Murphy goaled twice in the second half and they surged into an eight-point lead, they looked to be heading for a comprehensive victory.
But Urhan refused to accept the inevitable and put in a powerful rally, not only holding Bandon scoreless for the remainder of the game but actually closing the lead to two points before time ran out on them.
‘Of course we were disappointed to come so close at the end, without catching them – but we can have no complaints,’ said Urhan manager John O’Neill.
‘The game was lost just after the break when they kicked 2-3 and we managed only a point.
‘We are very happy to have played three games in the championship as it will really bring on these lads. Only one player is over the age next season.
‘We’re trying to get the club back to a strong position and to play positive attacking football, none of this defensive stuff. These games against good Carbery teams will really bring us on. It’s been a very good championship.’
Bandon got off to a flyer in this game with Adam Murphy, who was to torment the Urhan back line, kicking two points within the opening two minutes. However that blistering start didn’t last and they managed only one other point in the first half, from Ben Donegan.
Urhan, with Seamus Lyons and Eamonn O’Shea prominent at the back, fought back well to level but were hit by a Bandon goal from Eoin Nolan in the 17th minute.
Amazingly, that was to be their last score of the first half and it was Urhan who raised the next three white flags to draw level, 1-3 to 0-6 at the interval. Jamie O’Sullivan, Philip O’Shea and Luke O’Sullivan were the main scorers for the Beara side.
The game was won and lost in the opening stages of the second half as Bandon hit a purple patch with intermediate player Adam Murphy doing the main damage, kicking a pair of goals.
Points from Eoin Nolan, Timmy McCarthy and Paul Lang compounded the damage, all within ten minutes of the restart, and Urhan, whose only response was a single point, were in serious trouble.
Murphy, Jeremy Collins, Rob O’Driscoll, Eoin O’Sullivan, Aidan O’Mahony, Eoin Nolan and Joe O’Mahony were all prominent for the winners during this devastating burst of scoring.
Just as in the first half, Bandon shut down on the scoring board following that burst and for the next 20 minutes Urhan gallantly played their way back into the game. Danny O’Neill moved back on Murphy and kept him quiet, and he was well supported by the outstanding Eamonn O’Shea, Alan O’Donoghue, Cillian O’Shea, Ciarán O’Sullivan, Philip O’Shea and Jamie O’Neill.
Points by point Urhan cut back the lead, with O’Neill, O’Sullivan, Philip O’Shea and Luke O’Sullivan all raising white flags.
Three in a row had the lead down to two and Bandon were really struggling to survive with two minutes left.
Urhan did have chances to snatch a winning goal but found Bandon goalkeeper Ciarán McCarthy in unbeatable form between the posts.
Bandon: Ciarán McCarthy; Jeremy Collins, Kieran Walsh, Eoin Hurley; Rob O’Driscoll, Joe O’Mahony, Jordan Fenton-Lehane; Eoin O’Sullivan, Aidan O’Mahony; Timmy McCarthy, Eoin Nolan, Paul Lang; Mark O’Regan, Ben Donegan, Adam Murphy.
Subs: Conor Calnan for M O’Regan, Harry Lillis for R O’Driscoll, Nelson McCarthy for E Hurley, Aaron Burns for J O’Mahony (black card).
Urhan: Gerard Dunne; Daniel Elphick, Conor O’Sullivan, Joseph Sheehan; Seamus Lyons, Danny O’Neill, Eamonn O’Shea; Alan O’Donoghue, Cillian O’Shea; Ciarán O’Sullivan, Philip O’Shea, Joseph O’Sullivan; Jamie O’Neill, Luke O’Sullivan, Mícheál O’Shea.
Subs: Emmet Lyons for J Sheehan, Cathal O’Sullivan for A O’Donoghue.
Referee: John Forbes (Dohenys).