Ilen's momentum builds as O'Donovan kicks 1-8 to inspire Rovers
Ilen Rovers 2-11
GER McCARTHY REPORTS
ILEN Rovers claimed the RPH Division 3 county football league title following a thrilling win over Douglas at Clonakilty recently. Two teams missing a host of first team regulars severed up a cracking league decider played at championship intensity and highlighted by standout individual displays.
For Douglas, Eoin Cadogan was the solitary Cork senior available to the city side but led by example and drove his team forward at every opportunity. In attack, Brian Collins and Conor Russell fired over some glorious scores and accounted for 12 points of Douglas’ total.
On the opposite side, Sean O’Donovan had an afternoon to remember, notching 1-8 and leading a young Ilen forward division to victory. Peadar and Conor O’Driscoll also shone but it was the introduction of veteran Kevin O’Sullivan that proved the game’s turning point.
O’Sullivan scored a marvellous goal and added a point to help the West Cork club come from four down at the break to win the league trophy by a single point.
‘Last year we were very disappointed to be down in Division 3 as you want to be playing at the highest level you can,’ manager Flor O’Driscoll said afterwards.
‘Having said that, Division 3 proved very competitive and we played some really good teams in it. That’s why it was such a great game to be involved with today as it could have gone either way but we just pulled through in the end. That was just down to our character though and it helped us pull through in the end.’
Douglas were the better team in the opening half, moving the ball at pace and picking off some superb scores to lead 0-9 to 0-5 at the interval. Brian Collins and Connor Russell floated over three apiece against an Ilen side that took a while to get going and were reliant on Sean O’Donovan to stay in touch.
Persistent rain at the beginning of the second period didn’t deter Ilen Rovers with Sean O’Donovan netting a goal a minute after the restart. That kick-started a terrific spell with O’Donovan and Brian Collins exchanging scores to leave Douglas 0-15 to 1-9 ahead with ten minutes remaining.
It was at that moment that the game’s defining score arrived. Gaining possession right of the goal, Kevin O’Sullivan held off a defender and thundered a screamer into the top left-hand corner to push Rovers a point clear. Sean O’Donovan added a free before O’Sullivan fisted a point to make it 2-11 to 0-15 on the stroke of full time.
The match’s intensity rarely relented throughout an entertaining second half in which Peadar O’Driscoll and Eoin O’Sullivan’s running battle ended with the latter receiving a second yellow card. Brian Collins converted a late free but Ilen Rovers’ defence stood firm and denied their opponents an equaliser before celebrating on the Clonakilty pitch with their supporters.
Ilen Rovers: Sean O’Donovan 1-8 (5f); Kevin O’Sullivan 1-1; Tim O’Regan, Aaron O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
Douglas: Brian Collins (1f), Conor Russell 0-6 each; Liam Dineen 0-2 (1f); Brian Lynch, Sam Collins 0-1 each.
Ilen Rovers: Damien O’Sullivan; Paddy Minihane, Sean Minihane, Jack Collins; Brian Leonard, Dan O’Donovan, Dermott Hegarty; Peadar O’Driscoll, Conor O’Driscoll; Joe Hickey, Tim O’Regan, Conor Harrington; Sean O’Donovan (captain), Matt Bushe, Aaron O’Sullivan. Subs: Kevin O’Sullivan for C Harrington (ht), Barry Collins for S O’Donovan (38, blood), Sean O’Donovan for B Collins (39), Barry Collins for J Hickey (50), Hugh O’Neill for M Bushe (57).
Douglas: Brian Boyle; David Sheehan, Eoin Cadogan, Luke McGrath; Brian Lynch, Damien McSweeney, Kevin Hayes-Curtin; Eoin O’Sullivan, Liam Dineen; Brian Collins, David Hanrahan (captain), Sam Collins; Shane McCarthy, Shane Donegan, Conor Russell. Subs: Andy O’Farrell for S Donegan (ht), Darragh Kelly for S Collins (57).
Referee: Andrew Whelton (Clonakilty).