JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
CHAMPIONS Kilmacabea’s bid to capture back-to-back South West JAFC titles is off to the ideal start.
Following their facile trap-to-line ten-point first-round victory over a depleted Kilbrittain at Ardfield on Sunday, they fired a warning shot to all pretenders to their throne that they will be the team to beat.
At best Kilbrittain would have been stretched to the limit in containing the speedy Kilmacabea forward sextet who benefited from the service provided by their midfield duo of Martin Collins and Daniel O’Donovan, but with the black and amber missing eight of last year’s final panel and losing Josh O’Donovan to a straight red card in the 43rd minute, what had already been a mountain suddenly became an insurmountable Everest.
In reality, Kilmacabea were never really troubled. They hit the Kilbrittain woodwork three times in the opening half, twice by full forward Ian Jennings and once by Donie O’Donovan.
Additionally, they won two penalties, the first saved, the second buried with conviction by the returning Daniel O’Donovan after a lovely one-two between Donnacha McCarthy and Ian Jennings in the build-up in the 29th minute.
With Darren Whooley and Niall Hayes soundness personified in defence and the forwards firing on all cylinders, Kilbrittain struggled to cope.
Josh O’Donovan, Tom Harrington and Declan Harrington scored first-half points but they trailed 1-8 to 0-3 at the interval.
There was to be little respite on resuming as points by Daniel O’Donovan and Martin Collins inside two minutes piled on the agony for the losers.
In fairness, they battled gamely despite being reduced to 14 men, as Philip Wall (frees) and a lovely Ross Cashman point in the 52nd minute brought crumbs of solace.
But the Kilmacs were not to be denied as they emptied the bench with Damien Gore marking a return to action with a cracking point in the dying moments.
Kilmacabea: Daniel O’Donovan 1-5, (1-0 pen, 3f), Sam O’Driscoll, Damien Gore (1f) 0-2 each, Donnacha McCarthy, Clive Sweetnam, Dan Lynch, Martin Collins 0-1 each.
Kilbrittain: Philip Wall 0-2f, Ross Cashman, Declan Harrington, Tom Harrington, Josh O’Donovan 0-1 each.
Kilmacabea: Matthew O’Neill; Mark Jennings, Darren Whooley, Thomas Jennings; Declan O’Sullivan, Niall Hayes, Donnacha McCarthy; Daniel O’Donovan, Martin Collins; Clive Sweetnam, Diarmuid O’Callaghan, Sam O’Driscoll; Dan Lynch, Ian Jennings, Donie O’Donovan.
Subs: Damien Gore for Ian Jennings (48), Ciarán O’Donovan for Mark Jennings (48), Pádraig Burke for Ciarán O’Donovan (black card 51), Timmy Nyhan for Donie O’Donovan (53), Ellis Wilson for Pádraig Burke (inj56).
Kilbrittain: Seamus O’Brien; Seán Crowley, Nick O’Donovan, Sam Dewey; James Hurley, Owen Sexton, Sam Shorten; Ross Cashman, Oisín Dewey; Morgan Madden, Tom Harrington, Josh O’Donovan; Philip Wall, Maurice Sexton, Declan Harrington.
Subs: Ryan Lombard for Oisín Dewey (ht), Patrick O’Mahony for Morgan Madden (ht), Dylan Twohig for Tom Harrington (54), Aaron Holland for Sam Shorten (54).
Referee: Michael Collins (Clonakilty).