A LOT done, but more to do – that was the assessment of Clonakilty Community College football manager Diarmuid O’Donovan after the school booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Corn Uí Mhuiri.
In their final group game Clon trailed Abbey CBS from Tipperary by five points inside the final quarter, but the West Cork school reeled off six scores in a row to snatch a 1-9 to 0-11 win, with Clon senior footballer Darragh Gough kicking an injury-time winner.
This result saw Clon top their group and go directly to the quarter-finals in the new year.
The Barryroe duo of Luke Murphy (1-0) and Olan O’Donovan (0-2) combined for 1-2 with Darragh Gough (0-3), Timothy Cullinane (0-2), Michael O’Donovan (0-1) and Cillian Twohig (0-1) all contributing to the success.
Clon manager Diarmuid O’Donovan was pleased with the victory but knows his side is capable of much more.
‘Obviously we were delighted with the win but we spoke afterwards as a management that we weren’t really happy with the performance because we know what this group is capable of, but definitely we were pleased with the character they showed in the end to grind it out,’ said O’Donovan.
‘In the second half you could see the experience shown by the older lads helped us take over the game. Fellas like Darragh Gough, Olan O’Donovan and Timothy Cullinane really came into it. We showed great composure to come back and win in the end. We know a draw would have done us but the winners go straight into a quarter-final so that was an added bonus.’
This is a very youthful Clonakilty CC team by Corn Uí Mhuiri standards but O’Donovan highlights the importance of bringing through the younger players to get them up to standard with top-level schools’ football.
‘There are only five Leaving Certs starting and one of them is the goalkeeper so you’ve only four outfield players. On top of that we’ve four transition years starting on the team, but it’s key for them to get that experience at this level,’ the Clon CC boss explained.
For Clon to go deep into this competition in the new year, O’Donovan notes the value of getting more training sessions and games into his team.
‘Probably the biggest problem is trying to gel all the lads together,’ he explained.
‘We have an unbelievable pack of forwards and the talent we have is brilliant. Four of the six forwards have either played or trained with the Cork minors but it’s trying to get them to play with each other is the main thing. They’re used to being main players in the clubs, so the aim is to get them to link up better,’ O’Donovan said.
‘We haven’t got the opportunity to train or play as many games as we would like to. We now have five or six weeks to work on that. It’s great that we have the Simcox Cup to play and that will help the lads come together.
‘It’s hard at the moment with the U21 championship to get lads to train and play with the school but hopefully now with that finishing in a couple of weeks we will have the opportunity to get lads to train and get used to each other because we definitely have the forwards to beat any team. Once we get that sorted we can go a long way in this competition.’