GER McCARTHY REPORTS
THE midfield pairing of Jeremy Ryan and Ricky O’Flynn inspired Ballinascarthy to a nine-point victory over Clonakilty in the West Cork Junior A hurling league final at Ahamilla.
A league decider played out amid atrocious weather conditions saw Bal gain some semblance of revenge for their Carbery JAHC loss to Clonakilty earlier in the year by claiming a second consecutive West Cork league title.
Ryan and O’Flynn contributed twelve points, including some terrific long-range efforts on an evening the winners adapted better to the conditions and used their greater physical strength to secure the trophy.
Clonakilty were missing a host of starters and lost midfielder Liam O’Donovan to an eye injury inside the first minute. Yet, aside from Thomas Clancy’s scoring ability, the Brewery Town struggled to recover from a six-point half-time deficit and could have little complaint about the final outcome.Although delighted with his team’s victory, Ballinascarthy manager Brendan O’Driscoll made a point of expressing his disappointment at the league final’s scheduling: ‘I have to put on record my disappointment that we were only given two days’ notice, as were Clonakilty, to play a league final,’ commented O’Driscoll.
‘I am only saying this because, from my point of view, over the last four or five years, we have always taken this league very, very seriously. In fact, we have gone as far as to give this (Carbery) league preference over the Cork county league only for our players to be treated very unfairly in my opinion.
‘It definitely wasn’t a night for fancy hurling considering how bad the conditions were. I was delighted with the lads’ togetherness, application and determination. This is our second league title in a row and winning trophies is the best habit for a group of young players. You’d have to be thrilled seeing a performance like that so late in the year.’
Ballinascarthy were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead after 10 minutes courtesy of Jeremy Ryan (free and a 65), Seamus McCarthy and Ricky O’Flynn points. Thomas Clancy kept Clonakilty in touch before the eventual winners stretched their lead to five at the quarter-hour mark.
The hosts’ Cian O’Donovan walloped a shot inches over the crossbar and Alan Murphy added another point to leave a goal between the sides ahead of a crucial turning point.
Bal’s Ben Murray got on the end of a move that spanned the entire length of the pitch before dispatching the sliotar in off the crossbar and beyond Mark White to make it 1-8 to 0-5. Next, Ballinascarthy were awarded a penalty after Mikey Kirby was hauled down in the square, but Jeremy Ryan walloped the ensuing opportunity over the crossbar. A Sean McEvoy point left Clonakilty trailing by six at the interval.
Any chances of a Clon comeback were quickly snuffed out when Jeremy Ryan (two) and Ricky O’Flynn long-distance efforts further increased Ballinascarthy’s lead, 1-12 to 0-6. Creditably, Clonakilty continued battling in deteriorating weather conditions with two Thomas Clancy efforts preceding a pair of Ben Murray points on 48 minutes.
Clancy and Ryan exchanged points to leave Ballinascarthy 1-15 to 0-9 ahead with eight minutes to play before the former fired a close-range free into the back of the net. That proved Clonakilty’s final contribution to the scoreboard however as Ballinascarthy put the seal on an impressive victory with Ben Murray and two Jeremy Ryan scores completing the scoring.
‘We hadn’t picked up a hurley in the last four weeks so to give that type of performance on such a horrible evening was very heartening to see,’ concluded Ballinascarthy’s Brendan O’Driscoll.
‘There’s a trophy at the end of it and, considering it’s been such a long year, this will give everyone a boost heading into next year.’
Ballinascarthy: Jeremy Ryan (0-9, 1 free, 1 65), Ben Murray (1-4), Ricky O’Flynn (0-3), Sean Ryan and Seamus McCarthy (0-1 each).
Clonakilty: Thomas Clancy (1-6, 4 frees), Alan Murphy, Cian O’Donovan and Sean McEvoy (0-1 each).
Ballinascarthy: Ger Kirby; JC O’Flynn, Chris Ryan, David O’Brien; Luke Murray, Eoin O’Brien, Colm Crowley; Ricky O’Flynn (captain), Jeremy Ryan; Cillian Cullinane, Sean Ryan, Seamus McCarthy; Darragh Hennessy, Mikey Kirby, Ben Murray.
Substitutes: David O’Brien for D Hennessy (40), David Walsh for S McCarthy (52), David McCarthy for M Kirby (52), Cathal Cullinane for D O’Brien (57), Ciarán Deasy for S Ryan (58).
Clonakilty: Mark White; Ciarán Crowley, Pa O’Sullivan, David Walsh; Denis Murphy (captain), Shane Collins, Sean O’Donoghue; Alan Murphy, Liam OíDonovan; Cian O’Donovan, Thomas Clancy, Sean McEvoy; Stephen O’Connell, Timmy Anglin, Colm Crowley.
Substitutes: Eoin Deasy for L O’Donovan (2, inj), Martin Scally for C Crowley (ht), Sean White for S O’Connell (35), Stephen Fitzpatrick for M Scally (45, inj).
Referee: Seamus Crowley (Argideen Rangers).