SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD Eoin O’Donovan is county novice 1 champion for 2020. The Belgooly youth had escaped from a few tight corners on a wonderful run to the final and had to pull out the stops again in an entertaining play-off with the championship’s surprise packet, Danny Coughlan from Caheragh.
The contest took place at a sun-drenched South West venue, Shannonvale, last Saturday. The coarser surface to ‘Desmond’s’, on which the opening half was played, represented the Mid Cork champion’s best chance to gaining early leeway but he couldn’t shake off the determined Coughlan and less than 20 metres was all he had to show at this juncture.
The pick of the exchanges to that point was their sixth throws around the ‘quarry bend’. Coughlan had taken a surprise lead with his fourth but fell 50 behind to a well-drilled fifth by O’Donovan. Coughlan’s sixth was cut with great precision but O’Donovan’s response was even better, one he whipped away to maintain his lead.
He had the chance with his eighth to rise the shot of odds but didn’t make it out and it was Coughlan who led again on the rise to ‘Sam’s’. O’Donovan followed a big one of Coughlan’s to the ‘lane’ and rose big odds with his thirteenth.
When he made sight at ‘Campbell’s’ well ahead of his rival, it looked comfortable for the Belgooly contender, but here Coughlan unleashed a beauty that ran past the ‘pit entrance’. O’Donovan’s response was good but short of the line. However, his win was sealed when the Carbery champion’s final effort fell right too soon. Gretta Cormican presented the Mick Hegarty Cup, dedicated to her late father, to the new champion and he was wished well in his future endeavours by chairman, Michael Brennan. A potential county double can be achieved with U18 next in line for O’Donovan but there is quality aplenty in this grade too starting with a semi-final battle with strong City champion Michael O’Donoghue.