In finals, where it’s all on the line, you want your big players influencing the game, and that’s exactly what Carbery Rangers got yesterday when they needed it.
It would be easy to say that this was simply down to hunger and heart and desire, having lost to Ballincollig two years ago, but that would insult Carbery Rangers, as they were just as keen in 2014 but lost to a better side and I’ve no doubt that Ballincollig were hungry to win a second title yesterday too.
It came down to a few small things and they all went the way of Ross.
Of their total of 1-15, all- but two points came from play and in contrast to that, Ballincollig were a bit more reliant on Cian Dorgan, and to a lesser extent Ian Coughlan, from dead balls, especially in the first half.
Ross had one good goal chance and they took it (though you could argue that John Hayes had another late on but it was probably the right decision to go for a point), while Ballincollig had two chances, Seán Kiely shooting wide in the first half and Paul Shanahan denying Patrick Kelly late on.
You couldn’t have any argument with the outcome. To be fair to Ross, they’ve had a few disappointments over the years but they’ve always been there, they’ve always been very consistent.
It was their turn; they’re very worthy county champions and it’s tremendous for an awful lot of people down there who have put in huge amounts of work.
The big players stood up for them and the big difference was their ability to score from play. John Hayes set the pattern with two outrageous points from under the dressing rooms in the first half. All of John O’Rourke’s points were good, and you can’t forget that Séamus Hayes had two as well.
We always knew that John O’Rourke was a very good player but in the last few years he has been injured. This was probably his finest game for Carbery Rangers and hopefully next year he’ll be injury-free and Cork can benefit.
Despite the fact that Patrick Kelly was having great success at centre- forward for Ballincollig in the first half, I thought, the scores weren’t coming.
Cian Dorgan kicked one very good point but they weren’t kicking enough from play and then every time Ross attacked, they looked more dangerous.
It was actually a very enjoyable game of football, possibly a little bit loose at times for what you’d expect in a final, but it was one of the better games of the year. I suppose if you were looking for a difference from 2014 for Ross, it’s that they were more mature.
Their defence all year has been excellent — they only conceded three goals.
Two were in the first round against Clyda Rovers and the other was Dorgan’s penalty at the end yesterday.
They had their homework done with the match-ups. They put a centre-back, Thomas O’Rourke, in at full-back, a stronger guy to mark Ian Coughlan, and then they brought Brian Shanahan out to midfield alongside James Fitzpatrick and they were quite effective.
They picked up more breaks around the middle as the game went on.
Kevin MacMahon was detailed to pick up John Miskella when he went roaming and I thought he had a very good game.
He was very influential at the beginning of the second half, and picked up a pile of ball.
The goal they scored was tremendous. Jerry O’Riordan made the run from wing-back; it was lung-busting, and Chris O’Donovan kept his head.
It was huge, as they had been three points up but Ballincollig brought it back to a point.
Even though Ballincollig brought it back to three again, John O’Rourke got two massive points and that lifted Ross once more.
Just before the first of those though, Dorgan’s effort hit the post and nearly fell into Coughlan’s hands but he was after going in too far; it bounced out and Ross got a point.
That little bit of luck was on Carbery Rangers’ side and you couldn’t begrudge them.
It should be pointed out that Ballincollig could have given up when they went six points down but they kept at it. It made for a great final.
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