Two goals in the second half key for Skibbereen side
O’Donovan Rossa 2-11
Randal Óg 2-6
A DOUBLE goal blast midway through the second half was instrumental in O’Donovan Rossa advancing to the final of the county junior B hurling championship for the first time since 2013.
They had to battle hard to overcome the challenge of fellow West Cork side Randal Óg in a highly entertaining semi-final in Clonakilty on Sunday evening.
‘We got a great start but then they came into it big time. For about 15 minutes before the break we seem to lose all the 50/50 balls,’ Skibb manager Ian Breen said.
‘Our experienced lads really showed in the second half. We tightened up and when they got the goal we responded well. We got the penalty, our goalkeeper was on fire and Kevin Cotter got a super goal. We picked off our scores after that our experience was vital.’
It was the Skibb men who settled first. Flor Crowley again orchestrated matters from midfield and the Cotters, Kevin and Stephen, were rampant in the half-forward line as Alan Foley (free), Flor Crowley (two frees), and Kevin Cotter (two from play) raised five white flags in the opening ten minutes. Randals’ only reply was a Shane Patterson point. After Sam Kingston and Foley (free) had swapped points, Randals hit a purple patch. They hit four points in a row without reply, from Eoin O’Donovan (two frees and a 65), and the dangerous Séadhna Crowley to tie the scores at 0-6 each in the 24th minute.
It was the Skibb men who retired at the break in front when Kevin Crowley pointed on the stroke of half time, 0-7 to 0-6.
Kevin Crowley and Foley stretched the gap to three but when Randals’ sub Conor O’Donovan goaled following a great solo run through the defence, it was all square, 0-9 to 1-6.
Points from Foley (free) and Kevin Cotter had Skibbereen two in front before the hard-working Stephen Cotter was fouled in the square in the 45th minute and Foley trotted down the pitch to beat fellow-goalkeeper, Patrick Lynch, from the penalty spot.
Four minutes later Kevin Cotter hit the score of the game when he doubled high in the air on a Flor Crowley centre to send a rasper high into the roof of the net.
Randals had a mountain to climb, eight points in arrears, but they laid siege to the Rossa goal in the closing ten minutes, with Eoin O’Donovan, Patrick Crowley, Ger Lynch, Séamus Crowley and Conor O’Donovan giving their all.
Missed frees didn’t help their cause as they failed to raise a single white flag in the second half, and when they were forced to go for goal in the closing stages, they found Alan Foley unbeatable between the Rossa sticks.
As tempers became a little frayed, Rossas’ Flor Crowley was unfortunate to receive a late red card which will keep this long-serving Rossa hurler out of the final. Randals finally found the key to unlock the Rossa defence in the 62nd minute when Conor O’Donovan lashed home a ground shot for his second goal but it was too little and far too late as Rossas qualified for the county final against either White’s Cross or Rathpeacon.
O’Donovan Rossa: Alan Foley 1-4 (1-0 pen, 4f), Kevin Cotter 1-3, Flor Crowley (2f), Kevin Crowley (1f) 0-2 each.
Randal Óg: Conor O’Donovan 2-0, Eoin O’Donovan 0-3 (2f, 1 65), Shane Patterson, Sam Kingston, Séadhna Crowley 0-1 each.
O’Donovan Rossa: Alan Foley; Shane Crowley, Colm Crowley, Niall McCarthy; Shane Carthy, Daniel Kingston, Conor Long; Flor Crowley, Mark O’Driscoll; Stephen Cotter, Kevin Cotter, Alan Keane; Rob Long, Kevin Crowley, Jack O’Driscoll.
Subs: Denis O’Regan for S Crowley (38), Patrick Crowley for K Crowley (45), Daniel Breen for S Cotter (55).
Randal Óg: Patrick Lynch; Kieran O’Brien, Brian Dullea, Barry Lynch; Damien McCarthy, Ger Lynch, Eoin O’Sullivan; Shane Patterson, Seamus Crowley; John Collins, Sam Kingston, Eoin O’Donovan; Donncha Collins, Séadhna Crowley, Patrick Crowley.
Subs: Conor O’Donovan for D Collins (35), Cian O’Neill for S Kingston (54), Stephen Crowley for B Lynch (55).
Referee: Andrew Whelton (Clonakilty).