O’Donovan Rossa 3-9
Randal Óg 0-8
TOM LYONS REPORTS
GOALS at vital stages helped O’Donovan Rossa hurlers win the South West junior B hurling championship.
The Skibb men beat the defending champions Randal Óg and the bad weather at Dunmanway to get their hands on the title.
With the rain lashing down, and slightly favouring the Castle men, it was the champions who started brighter with points from Eoin O’Sullivan and the energetic Seadhna Crowley, before Rossas struck for their first goal in the 12th minute when a long drive from outstanding wing back Jack O’Driscoll somehow found its way to the Randal net.
Rossas were in front and never to be caught as they led at the break by a single point, 1-2 to 0-4, the points coming from Kevin Crowley and Kevin Cotter, set up by his brother Stevie. Randals responded with scores from sub Conor O’Donovan, and Séadhna Crowley.
At that stage Randals were down to 14 men, centre forward Sam Kingston being red-carded in the 20th minute.
As the rain lashed down even harder on the restart, Rossa’s Caheragh star, Mícheál O’Donovan, made a major contribution when he pointed from play and then touched home their second goal, set up by super-sub Rob Long and Alan Keane in the 37th minute.
In between those two scores Randals had pointed twice, through wing back Stephen Crowley and classy centre back Ger Lynch (free). Their rising hopes were rudely shattered by O’Donovan’s goal and from here on Rossas were in cruise control.
The full-back line of Shane Crowley, Colm Crowley and Darren Lynch put up the shutters to such an extent that goalkeeper Alan Foley hardly touched the sliotar until the closing minutes, while Hughie Leonard and Jack O’Driscoll were supreme in the half back line.
For the remaining 25 minutes of the second half Randals were limited to two pointed frees from Lynch, while Rossas piled up the scores at the other end, with the Long brothers, subs Rob and Conor, and the Cotter brothers, Kevin and Stevie, outstanding, along with Mícheál O’Donovan and Alan Keane.
Rossas also ruled supreme at midfield where the evergreen Flor Crowley gave another man-of-the-match performance, his ball control in terrible conditions being top class and his calmness on the ball inspiring his team-mates. He got great assistance from another Caheragh stalwart Mark O’Driscoll whose strength was vital on the night.
Conor Long’s goal in the 43rd minute really finished the game as a contest and the points flowed from Kevin Crowley (free), Rob Long (2), Kevin Cotter (free) and Flor Crowley (play and free).
Randals didn’t die without a struggle and they spent the final minutes camped around the Rossa goal but there was just no way through a solid Rossa defence.
For Randals, Ger Lynch was a class act at centre back against a hard-hitting, strong Rossa half-forward line and he got good assistance in defence from Kieran O’Brien, Barry Lynch and Stephen Crowley. Shane Patterson and Seamus Crowley tried hard at midfield against an in-form Rossa pairing but up front Randal’s struggled against the extra Rossa defender, despite good efforts from Séadhna Crowley, ageless John Collins and Patrick Crowley.
O’Donovan Rossa: Mícheál O’Donovan 1-1, Jack O’Driscoll and Conor Long 1-0 each, Kevin Cotter (2f) 0-3, Rob Long and Flor Crowley (1f) 0-2 each, Kevin Crowley 0-1f.
Randal Óg: Ger Lynch 0-3f, Sé adhna Crowley 0-2, Stephen Crowley, Eoin O’Sullivan and Conor O’Donovan 0-1 each.
O’Donovan Rossa: Alan Foley; Shane Crowley, Colm Crowley, Darren Lynch; Denis O’Regan, Hughie Leonard, Jack O’Driscoll; Flor Crowley, Mark O’Driscoll; Stevie Cotter, Kevin Cotter, Mícheál O’Donovan; Patrick Paison, Kevin Crowley, Alan Keane.
Subs: Rob Long for P Paison (ht), Conor Long for M O’Donovan (40), Dan Breen for K Cotter (47), Niall McCarthy for K Crowley (54), Patrick Crowley for S Crowley (55).
Randal Óg: Patrick Lynch; Kieran O’Brien, Damian McCarthy, Barry Lynch; Cian O’Neill, Ger Lynch, Stephen Crowley; Shane Patterson, Seamus Crowley; Eoin O’Sullivan, Sam Kingston, John Collins; Gavin Hunt, Séadhna Crowley, Patrick Crowley.
Subs: Conor O’Donovan for G Hunt (23), Eoin O’Donovan for C O’Neill (40), Colm McSweeney for P Crowley (52).
Referee: Michael Collins (Clonakilty).