Clyda Rovers 3-7
O’Donovan Rossa 1-10
NOEL HORGAN REPORTS
WITH a couple of comprehensive victories under the belt, O’Donovan Rossa were entitled to fancy their chances of extending their winning run in the Bon Secours county senior A football championship at Clyda Rovers’ expense in Coachford.
Five points up, 1-4 to 0-2, with 20 minutes gone, it seemed as if they would have the measure of the Mourneabbey men, who had been forced to share the spoils with Newmarket and finished with the bare minimum to spare over Ilen Rovers in their two previous outings in Group A.
The form-book took a bit of a beating, however, as the Skibbereen side eventually relinquished the initiative, with gutsy Clyda transforming a four-point deficit into a three-point lead during the last ten minutes. The result earned the winners a semi-final slot, while the Rossas’ path to ultimate honours has become a bit more difficult to negotiate now that their next assignment will be a quarter-final tie.
Skibb manager Gene O’Donovan felt there were a couple of factors that militated against his side’s chances.
‘We lost two big players against Ilen Rovers the last day, but that shouldn’t be seen as an excuse, because we have a panel of 32 and all the players we used in this game tried their best,’ the Rossas boss said.
‘I think our big mistake was we focused too much on Clyda for the past few weeks, whereas we focused on our own game in our first two matches, so that’s a lesson we’ll have to take on board going forward.
‘The bottom line is we’re still in the championship. If we regroup and get everyone back to full fitness, I believe we have a realistic chance of winning it,’ remarked O’Donovan, who wasn’t happy with the treatment meted out to Skibb midfielder Donal Óg Hodnett on this occasion.
‘Everytime Donal Óg got a ball he was dragged to the ground, and how Clyda finished the match with 15 players is beyond me,’ O’Donovan blasted.
Hodnett was very much to the fore for the Rossas early on, bagging two fine points in the first half when free-taker Kevin Davis was their only forward to get on the scoresheet. Fed by Niall Daly, Davis grabbed a goal from play as well to make it 1-3 to 0-2 as the second quarter dawned.
Wing-forward David Cooney pulled a goal back for Clyda in the 26th minute before a brace of converted frees by Davis completed the scoring in the first half, allowing the Rossas to turn over 1-6 to 1-3 in front.
After impressive full-forward Daniel O’Callaghan found the net to earn Clyda parity within seconds of the resumption, the Rossas held their composure, responding quickly when great work by midfielder David Shannon led to the opening for a point from Elliot Connolly.
Further scores followed through Kevin Davis, from a free, and Niall Daly before Davis, placed by Kevin Hurley, pushed them 1-10 to 2-3 ahead approaching the last ten minutes.
Just when it seemed as if Skibb weren’t going to be knocked off course, Daniel O’Callaghan fired in goal number three for Clyda, and the complexion of the contest changed dramatically in the wake of it.
It’s fair to say Clyda came up with most of the answers on the run-in, hitting the front for the first time courtesy of an O’Callaghan point in the 56th minute before consolidating their position with two more scores at the death.
Scorers - Clyda Rovers: D O’Callaghan 2-3 (1f); D Cooney 1-1; E Walsh 0-2 (1f); C Corbett 0-1. O’Donovan Rossa: K Davis 1-6 (5f); D Óg Hodnett 0-2; E Connolly, N Daly 0-1 each.
Clyda Rovers: S Dennehy; A Walsh, C Kenny, D Buckley; P Kissane, S Kelly, M Forde; C Flanagan, K Graham; D Cooney, E Walsh, C O’Sullivan; C Corbett, D O’Callaghan, N Hanley. Subs: D Walsh for Hanley (ht), C O’Reilly for O’Sullivan (42), F O’Shea for Cooney (46), K Coffey for Buckley (48).
O’Donovan Rossa: R Price; D O’Donovan, D Daly, B Minihane; M Collins, D Hazel, O Lucey; D Shannon, D Óg Hodnett; B Crowley, K Hurley, E Connolly; N Daly, K Davis, T Hegarty. Subs: R Byrne for Lucey (35), L Connolly for Connolly (48).
Referee: J Ryan (Macroom).