Randal Óg 1-11
NOEL HORGAN REPORTS
A BRACE of points deep in stoppage time swung a thrilling Bon Secours county junior B (divisional) football championship final in Randal Óg’s favour at Páirc Uí Rinn recently.
Victory completed a double for the Ballinacarriga men who had already won the 2021 county championship comprising clubs with their first team operating at junior B level, and it was especially sweet for a couple of reasons.
The manner in which they pulled the game out of the fire was obviously something to savour, but the fact that the vast majority of the players had tasted defeat in the junior B hurling decider the previous weekend also meant they appreciated this success all the more.
Randal Óg manager David Aherne felt his main task in the lead-up to the game was to ensure the players put the disappointment of their loss to Belgooly in the hurling decider behind them.
‘We were trying all week to make sure the lads were fully fired up for the challenge, because we were worried they’d be deflated so soon after losing the hurling. They showed us again they are a very special group by bringing a second title this year to a club that had never won a county in football before,’ remarked the elated Randal Óg boss.
Aherne suggested the Carbery standard-bearers could have won the match more decisively had they made the most of their chances over the hour. When their only goal of the game arrived from Sean Daly, resulting from good work by substitute Paraic Galvin and Padraig O’Sullivan, it made it 1-9 to 0-9 in the 47th minute. It appeared to be just the boost Randal Óg required to press home their superiority on the run-in.
With seasoned stalwarts such as John Carey, who made a number of powerful bursts upfield from full back, Mark O’Sullivan at midfield, substitute Diarmuid O’Riordan and ace markman Gary Murphy providing much of the inspiration, Dripsey snatched the initiative in the last quarter to get within sight of victory.
‘We would have crumbled in the past if something like that happened, but we’re a different team now,’ said David Aherne.
‘We kept our composure, passed the ball around for a few minutes before Peter Collins, as he’s been doing all year, took on the responsibility to put it over the bar for the equaliser. Then Barry O’Driscoll got the winner with his bad leg, and we’ve been getting the players to practise kicking with both feet in training all season, so you’d have to say it paid off tonight.’
That Dripsey were just two points adrift, 0-8 to 0-6, at the interval owed much to their goalkeeper John Hogan, who brought off a couple of good saves – the second foiling a powerful drive from close-range by Padraig O’Sullivan in the 12th minute.
Aided by two points from full-forward Eoghan Maher, who was forced to retire injured in the 19th minute, Dripsey were 0-3 to 0-2 ahead at the time, but Peter Collins quickly brought Randals back on terms from a free. They weren’t to fall behind again before the break, although it took a couple of late points from corner back Eoin Murray and the ever-threatening Sean Daly to separate the sides at half time.
Dripsey moved up a gear on the resumption, gaining parity at 0-9 apiece courtesy of a Gary Murphy point in the 46th minute, but then came the goal from Sean Daly which sent Randal Óg’s prospects soaring.
Following Dripsey’s gutsy recovery, Randal Óg’s resilience was put to the test big-time, but they weren’t found wanting, with the last-gasp scores from Peter Collins and Barry O’Driscoll getting them over the line.
Scorers – Randal Óg: S Daly 1-2; B O’Driscoll 0-3 (1f); Seadhna Crowley 0-2; P Collins 0-2 (1f); E Murray, D Collins 0-1 each.Dripsey: G Murphy 0-7 (5f); E Maher, D O’Sullivan 0-2 each; K Kelleher, Mark O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Randal Óg: C Murray; E Murray, Seamus Crowley, I Crowley; S Patterson, Cian O’Neill, P Duggan; K Dullea, Seadhna Crowley; D Collins, P O’Sullivan, P Collins; B O’Driscoll, Conor O’Neill, S Daly. Subs: Stephen Crowley for E Murray (inj, ht), P Galvin for Seadhna Crowley (43), C Duggan for O’Sullivan (inj, 55).
Dripsey: J Hogan; J Buckley, J Carey, D O’Sullivan; C O’Connell, M O’Connell, T Griffin; Mark O’Sullivan, M O’Riordan; D O’Sullivan, G Murphy, A Murray; S Murray, E Maher, K Kelleher. Subs: Martin O’Sullivan for Maher (inj, 19), D O’Riordan for O’Connell (36), J O’Riordan for A Murray (50), E O’Connell for Kelleher (52), J Casey for S Murray (59).
Referee: C Nolan (Bishopstown).