Randal Óg 2-9
RANDAL Óg have completed the first leg of what they hope will be a Carbery junior B double.
Two goals in two minutes just before the break put Randals in the driving seat in the RCM Tarmacadam junior B hurling final at sunny Ahiohil recently. It meant the winners led by seven points at the break.
It could have been even better early in the second half but Patrick Crowley’s penalty was superbly saved by Kilbrittain goalkeeper Aaron Holland. Still, Randals led by seven with 20 minutes remaining.
Then came the heart-stopping comeback by Kilbrittain as they took complete control of the game, holding Randals scoreless for over 25 minutes as they cut back the lead, point by point.
However, the courageous defending by the Randals’ backs prevented Kilbrittain from getting the goal they needed. None shone more lustrous than veteran Randal defender John Collins whose clearances under pressure in the closing minutes drew rounds of applause all round.
‘I was heartened because even if we lost it, we had played well, given our all,’ said proud Randal Óg manager Ger Collins, brother of John.
‘It was a fantastic game of hurling, another step up the ladder for us as a team. Three years ago we managed to beat their third team, this was a big step up against their top junior side.
‘We have some good young lads coming through and they have to be playing against, and beating these better teams if we want to achieve. That’s my aim as coach all the time.’
Although Patrick O’Mahony, who accounted for nine of Kilbrittain’s points, got fired-up Kilbrittain on the scoreboard first from a free, it was Randals who began to look the better side as the half progressed. With Eoin O’Donovan, Declan Collins and Cathal Duggan forming a dangerous full-forward line, the Castle men were 0-6 to 0-3 ahead at the first water break following some fine scores from Donncha Collins (2), Ger Lynch, Patrick Crowley and O’Donovan. O’Mahony and Cian O’Leary had points for Kilbrittain.
Kilbrittain upped their game in the second quarter, with O’Mahony, Sam Dewey, Ryan Lombard, Seamus O’Sullivan, Eamonn Lyons and Cian O’Leary leading the charge. Points from Lyons, O’Mahony (65) and O’Leary had the sides level in a free-flowing contest, before Eoin O’Donovan shoved Randals back in front in the 23rd minute. Then came the two scores that decided this final.
In the 29th minute, Donncha Collins fielded a high ball from Patrick Crowley in front of the Kilbrittain goal and beautifully turning his man, rifled a rasper to the net. Within two minutes they were back again and when Eoin O’Donovan one-handed a ground ball to the net after the Kilbrittain backs failed to clear, Randals were in the driving seat, 2-7 to 0-6 in front at the break.
Within two minutes of the restart came Holland’s penalty save after Eoin O’Donovan had been fouled in the square. Then Donncha Collins and Eoin O’Donovan swapped points with O’Mahony (2) as Randals still led by seven, 2-9 to 0-8. Amazingly, Randals weren’t to score again as Kilbrittain upped the intensity of their hurling and took control. Patrick O’Mahony rifled over four frees and Eamonn Lyons added two from play as the gap closed to one. The excitement was ferocious as Randals’ full back, Shane Patterson, saw a second yellow. A few minutes later, Kilbrittain sub Oisín Dewey was red-carded.
It was time now for the Randal backs to cover themselves in glory in front of solid goalkeeper Patrick Lynch, none more so than the ageless John Collins. The Randals’ goal led a charmed life as Kilbrittain laid siege but, somehow, their net stayed intact and when one last Kilbrittain chance was missed in the 36th minute, the final whistle blew.
‘The spirit we showed in the end was incredible,’ said manager Ger Collins.
‘I’m thrilled because we just took that next step up the ladder That was as hard a game as you’d get in B, you’d rate them as an A team. It’s hard going when you’re a small dual club and now we must turn our attention to the football final. We didn’t play up the double aspect but it’s there now to be won. But this win is a huge step up for us. We’re absolutely thrilled.’
Ahiohill’s new pitch was in immaculate condition for its first final and the St Oliver Plunkett’s club took all necessary precautions on the day. The trophy was presented to stand-in captain John Collins by Tom Lyons, chairperson of the Carbery Board.
Scorers - Randal Óg: Eoin O’Donovan, Donncha Collins 1-3 each; Patrick Crowley, Ger Lynch, Kevin Dullea 0-1 each. Kilbrittain: Patrick O’Mahony 0-9 (6f, 1 65); Eamonn Lyons 0-3.
Randal Óg; Patrick Lynch; Eoin O’Sullivan, Shane Patterson, Conor O’Neill; John Collins, Conor O’Connell, Ger Lynch; Peter Collins, Seamus Crowley; Séadhna Crowley, Kevin Dullea, Patrick Crowley; Donncha Collins, Eoin O’Donovan, Cathal Duggan. Subs: Liam O’Donovan for Conor O’Neill (53), Sam Kingston for Kevin Dullea (55).
Kilbrittain: Aaron Holland; Sean Crowley, Darragh Considine, Darren Burke; James O’Donovan, Sam Dewey, Eoghan Byrne; Ryan Lombard, Seamus O’Sullivan; Darragh Hayes, Eamonn Lyons, Dylan Twohig; Ciarán Byrne, Cian O’Leary, Patrick O’Mahony. Subs: Kieran Murphy for C Byrne (27), Oisín Dewey for D Hayes (40).
Referee: Stephen Murphy (Bandon).