Bantry Blues 0-10
AFTER coming out on top in a local derby Rosscarbery will face Clonakilty in another West Cork battle in the Cork LGFA intermediate football championship.
Goals in either half were crucial in this Group A encounter in Ardagh, as Rosscarbery defeated Bantry Blues to reach the last four.
Bantry entered this game needing a victory to progress to the knockout stages. Ross just needed to avoid defeat and were looking to make it three wins out of three having already seen off Beara and Donoughmore.
Despite a slow start, the eventual winners netted goals thanks to confident Ciara Whooley and Máire O’Brien finishes. But t was Rosscarbery’s defence that ensured they made it through to another county semi-final. Eilis O’Brien, Claire Kingston and Catriona O’Mahony were superb throughout and never gave the Bantry forwards a free second. Sarah Hayes and Fiona O’Callaghan were outstanding in midfield with the experienced Laura MacMahon impressing before going off injured.
‘This team has been around a long time and always want to get to semi-finals and finals,’ Rosscarbery manager David Creedon said.
‘We are delighted to have got through our group. We knew Bantry were coming over here with a lot to play for. They had to win and they are a good side that are down from senior with only two years. We knew this game was going to be tough.
‘The two goals were crucial, especially the second one as it came so early in the second half. That gave us a big cushion, even though Bantry were the better team in the last 20 minutes, but we won and learned a lot from this game.’
Rachel Murphy was Bantry’s best player on the night and opened the scoring with a fine point. Rosscarbery roared back immediately with Sarah Hayes (two frees), Cáit Mennis and Laura MacMahon points making it 0-4 to 0-1.
Zara Barry had to go off injured and things got even worse for the Blues when Ciara Whooley found the top corner courtesy of a stunning effort. Ross led 1-6 to 0-1 at the first water break following a brace of Sarah Hayes frees.
A tight second quarter saw Rosscarbery’s defence stifle Bantry’s attack although Ellen O’Sullivan saw one shot rebound off a post. A Rachel Murphy free made it 1-6 to 0-2 at the interval.
Bantry’s hopes of mounting a comeback suffered an immediate blow two minutes after the restart. Laura MacMahon found Máire O’Brien and the latter immediately arrowed the ball into the net. MacMahon retired injured shortly after and then Sineád Lane was yellow carded, offering the Blues hope.
The visitors forced their way back into the game with three Rachel Murphy (two frees) and Ellen O’Sullivan points answered by Nadine Hayes and Fiona O’Callaghan. Next, Amy Dinnen raised a white flag to reduce the deficit to seven points with 15 minutes remaining.
The final quarter proved a war of attrition with Rachel Murphy yellow carded shortly after another Ellen O’Sullivan shot crashed back off the crossbar. That would have set up a grandstand finale but, although Eve Murphy and Rachel Murphy (free) scored late points, it wasn’t enough to prevent Rosscarbery from marching into the county semi-finals.
Scorers - Rosscarbery: Sarah Hayes 0-4 (4f); Ciara Whooley, Máire O’Brien 1-0 each; Cáit Mennis, Laura MacMahon, Nadine Hayes, Fiona O’Callaghan 0-1 each.Bantry Blues: Rachel Murphy 0-6 (4f); Amy Dineen 0-2; Ellen O’Sullivan, Eve Murphy 0-1 each.
Rosscarbery: Áine Kelly; Catriona O’Mahony, Eilis O’Brien, Sineád Lane; Maire O’Brien, Claire Kingston, Ciara O’Rourke; Sarah Hayes, Fiona O’Callaghan; Ellen O’Hea, Ellie Jennings, Hannah O’Hea; Ciara Whooley, Laura MacMahon, Cáit Mennis. Subs: Nadine Hayes for L MacMahon (33, inj), Megan Hayes for C Whooley (48).
Bantry Blues: Seadna O’Sullivan; Leah Murphy, Bernadette O’Flynn, Laura O’Sullivan; Lucy Coakley, Ann Coakley, Emma Spillane; Eve Murphy, Ellen O’Sullivan; Zara Barry, Rachel Murphy, Sarah Bishop; Mairead Dullea, Amy Dineen, Caitlin O’Mahony. Subs: Eve O’Sullivan for Z Barry (9, inj), Edel McGovern for B O’Flynn (23), Katie McCarthy for S Bishop (ht).
Referee: Fachtna McCarthy (Dohenys).