BY KIERAN McCARTHY
KILMACABEA’S dreams of county junior A football championship glory were shattered in the cold of Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.
Early in the second half the Carbery champions led 2-6 to 0-7, but they’d only score two more points in the next 27 minutes, while Duhallow runners-up Dromtarriffe struck for 2-2 – including two goals from super sub Darren O’Connor and the winning point from centre back Jack Murphy as the game roared into injury time.
Credit Dromtarriffe’s heroic comeback, but Kilmacabea will also know they let this game slip from their grasps when they were in control. This is one that got away and it will hurt.
The Carbery champions led 2-4 to 0-7 at the break – the goals coming from Ian Jennings, who flicked home a free from Daniel O’Donovan that was dropping short, and then Timmy Nyhan, who palmed a rebound over the line after Richie O’Sullivan’s shot was saved. At this stage, they led 2-3 to 0-4 after 19 minutes, and looked the more comfortable team, with captain Niall Hayes a colossus all through.
Dromtarriffe stayed in touch, and three points before the break from Shane Collins narrowed the gap.
Then Kilmacabea won a penalty. Ian Jennings was fouled following a surging run from the sideline. But Daniel O’Donovan’s low penalty was saved by goalkeeper Dan Mann.
The Carbery side’s 2-4 to 0-7 half-time lead was swelled to five after the break when Damien Gore and Daniel O’Donovan (free) were on target. Kilmacabea were in control now.
But when Dromtarriffe moved midfielder Seamus O’Sullivan to full forward, it unsettled the Kilmacabea defence, and long balls in caused problems, and led to goals for sub Darren O’Connor, his second in the 53rd minute tied the game at 2-8 apiece.
It was anyone’s game now, playing switching from end to end, and it was Jack Murphy that kept his nerve with a fine finish as the game hit injury-time. In the four extra minutes played, Kilmacabea had their chances of levelling, but poor shot selection and a shot dropped short cost them dearly.
So, it’s Dromtarriffe that win promotion to intermediate and a Munster junior adventure awaits, while Kilmacabea must regroup over the winter and get ready to go again.
Kilmacabea: Damien Gore 0-5 (1f), Timmy Nyhan 1-1, Ian Jennings 1-0, Daniel O’Donovan (2f) 0-2.
Dromtarriffe: Darren O’Connor 2-0, Daniel O’Keeffe 0-5 (4f), Evan Murphy, Shane Collins, Conor O’Callaghan, Jack Murphy 0-1 each.
Kilmacabea: Matthew O’Neill; Sam O’Driscoll, Niall Hayes, Darren Whooley; Donnacha McCarthy, Clive Sweetnam, Donie O’Donovan; Daniel O’Donovan, Martin Collins; Joseph Collins, Richie O’Sullivan, Diarmuid O’Callaghan; Ian Jennings, Damien Gore, Timmy Nyhan.
Subs: Ger O’Donovan for T Nyhan (45); Dan Lynch for R O’Sullivan (45); Liam Thompson for J Collins (53); Ciaran O’Donovan for S O’Driscoll (58).
Dromtarriffe: Dan Mann; Cormac Mahony, Conor Cremin, Sean Howard; Thomas Howard, Jack Murphy, Brian O’Keeffe; Adam Buckley, Seamus O’Sullivan; Evan Murphy, Denis Donoghue, Michael Healy; Conor O’Callaghan, Shane Collins, Daniel O’Keeffe.
Subs: Mark O’Connor for M Healy (21); Jack Buckley for T Howard (black card, 35); Darren O’Connor for S Collins (43).
Referee: Pat O’Leary (Kilmurry).