FIVE points up after five minutes and five points down after 25 minutes, Castlehaven conquered Clonakilty with a three-goal blast in the third quarter to complete the championship/league double in Rebel Óg West U16A football.
This championship final in misty Rosscarbery produced a cracking contest of two distinct halves.
After a blistering start in which they shot into a five-point lead, courtesy of a goal from Richie Burchill and points from Jack Cahalane and Liam McCarthy, the Haven lost their way completely as Clon grabbed control of the match and displayed great movement and attacking play.
Liam Knowles had Clon’s opening point in the eighth minute and David Price added a second but it was still looking good for the Haven when the rampaging Cahalane and impressive Robbie Minihan kicked two points, to lead by six after ten minutes.
Then the game was turned on its head when Knowles was set up for a superb goal by Clon’s best player Conor Daly in the 12th minute.
From here to half time it was all Clon as they hit the front in the 16th minute when a Daly pointed free was followed by a smart David Price goal, 2-3 to 1-4.
Three points in a row by Daly had Clon five points to the good in the 24th minute.
Castlehaven did rally before the break when the unstoppable Cahalane kicked the last point of the half. It was 2-6 to 1-5 at the break.
The comeback began when Cahalane cut through the Clon defence for a cracking goal in the 33rd minute. Even though Clon answered with two Daly points, the next Haven goal arrived in the 40th minute, courtesy of Robbie Minihane.
Sides level, the Haven hit the front with another goal, two minutes later, from Jamie O’Driscoll. There was just no holding them after that as Clon’s cultured play of the first half disintegrated in the face of Haven tenacity and spirit.
Points from Jack O’Neill and Robbie Minihane had the Haven in front by 4-7 to 2-8 by the end of the third quarter.
Struggling Clon were thrown a life-line in the 48th minute when Daly hit the net with a soccer-style finish to cut the lead to two points. That was to be Clon’s last score as the Haven defence, inspired by outstanding full back Sean Bohane, shut up shop and Cahalane led the Clon defence a merry dance up front as he followed a Bohane point with three white flags in a row.
Castlehaven: Jack Cahalane 1-6 (2f), Robbie Minihane 1-2, Richie Burchill, Jamie O’Driscoll 1-0 each, Sean Bohane, Jack O’Neill, Liam McCarthy (f) 0-1 each.
Clonakilty: Conor Daly 1-6 (4f), David Price, Liam Knowles 1-1 each.
Castlehaven: Rory Courtney; James McNulty, Sean Bohane, Thomas O’Mahony; Jack Baudins, Tiarnan Collins, PJ O’Donovan; Robbie Minihane, Liam McCarthy; Donncha O’Donovan, Jack Cahalane, Richie Burchill; Jamie O’Driscoll, Cormac O’Neill, Donncha Maguire.
Subs: Jack O’Neill for R Burchill (black card), Fiachra Collins for PJ O’Donovan.
Clonakilty: Jack Enright; Chris Kenneally, Dylan Geaney, Kevin McCarthy; David O’Sullivan, Dan Peet, Shane Dullea; Steven O’Hea, Tim McCarthy; Eoin Downey, Jake McLaughlin, David Price; Liam Knowles, Conor Daly, Aaron Griffin.
Sub: Cian Downey for A Griffin.
Referee: Michael O’Mahony (Kilbrittain).