Goleen carry Carbery hopes after reaching the last four
Abbey Rovers 0-7
John Murphy Reports
WHEN these two clubs met in the 2016 county junior C football final, Goleen won. They crossed paths in a county junior B quarter-final at balmy Brinny and the result was the same: another Goleen win.
Two points separated the teams three seasons ago, but this time the result on the scoreboard was more comfortable. Still, it’s not really a true reflection because while Goleen were the dominant force in the last quarter, their cause was helped when, playing into the breeze in the opening half, Rovers gifted them the only goal of the game after just five minutes.
A short kick-out by Abbey Rovers shot-stopper Johnny Batterberry misfired spectacularly as Goleen full forward Darren O’Donovan make a vital interception, crossed the ball into the path of Shane O’Leary, who flicked it to an empty net.
O’Donovan added a free, ageless veteran John Cullinane and his nephew Tadhg added two more points and at the close of the opening quarter the Carbery boys were 1-4 to 0-1 to the good and dominating all over the pitch.
Rovers grew into the game and they kept Goleen scoreless for the rest of the first half while adding four points by Philip Murphy, a brace by Niall Hazelwood and a real beauty by Muiris Brown, their star performer. This left a different complexion on the half-time score, 1-4 to 0-5 in Goleen’s favour.
Tadhg Cullinane from play and a free and a Shane O’Leary point seemed to indicate that Goleen had regained control with 20 minutes left, but Rovers had no notion of capitulating.
With wave after wave of Rovers attacks, it needed heroic last-ditch defending by Dan O’Callaghan, Sean Sheehan, Jack O’Driscoll, John Cullinane, Darren O’Donovan and the brilliant Padraig Reidy.
With Tadhg Cullinane (free) and Michael Sheehan pushing Goleen into the comfort zone, 1-9 to 0-5 ahead with eight minutes left, they took control again.
A wonderful solo sally by Patrick Scully brought an equally brilliant save from Batterberry who made up for his early error. Shortly afterwards the crossbar saved Rovers as a bullet by Shane O’Leary flew across a gaping goalmouth.
Goleen’s coach Gene O’Donovan readily accepted that it was far from plain sailing for a period, but was fulsome in praise of the effort from his charges.
‘People say that the main concentration in Castletownroche is on hurling but they have some fine footballers and were missing key players,’ O’Donovan noted.
‘That early goal inspired us but they came right back into the game. We could have got a couple of goals near the end when perhaps points were there for the taking, but overall we did well and the effort was outstanding.
‘We are in the semi-final yet again and it’s all to play for.’
Goleen: Shane O’Leary 1-1, Tadhg Cullinane 0-4 (2f), Michael Sheehan, Michael O’Reilly, John Cullinane, Padraig Reidy, Darren O’Donovan (f) 0-1 each.
Abbey Rovers: Muiris Brown 0-3, Niall Hazelwood 0-2, Dave Relihan, Philip Murphy 0-1 each.
Goleen: Ronan Kennedy; Jack O’Driscoll, Dan O’Callaghan, James Scully; Sean Sheehan, Daniel O’Driscoll, Padraig Reidy; Dave O’Leary, Paudie Scully; Michael Sheehan, John Cullinane, Patrick Scully; Tadhg Cullinane, Darren O’Donovan, Shane O’Leary.
Subs: Michael O’Reilly for Tadhg Cullinane (45), Andrew Murphy for Paudie Scully (54).
Abbey Rovers: Johnny Batterberry; JP Ryan, Thomas Barrett, Liam Sugrue; Adrian O’Donovan, Muiris Brown, Will Madden; Shay Mullane, Philip Murphy; Niall Hazelwood, Mark O’Callaghan, Pat Madden; Seamus Skinner, Dave Relihan, David Linehan.
Subs: Leon Farrell for David Linehan (44), Chris Relihan for Philip Murphy (55).
Referee: Rob Whelan (Aghada).