Courageous Clonakilty battle fiercely to hold off brave Inniscarra rally

Clonakilty 1-15 Inniscarra 2-11
It was a close-run thing, but Clonakilty held on to claim the Premier 2 MFC title at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.

Having been denied in the county U21 final by a late Valley Rovers burst, Clon were nervy as a three-point lead had been shrunk to just one as full-time neared. As Inniscarra midfielder Seán O’Donoghue made a marauding run towards goal, the West Cork side must have feared the worst.

O’Donoghue, whose partnership with Aaron O’Raw made Inniscarra the better side for much of the second half, decided to go for goal instead of an equalising point, but Clon managed to defend stoutly and ensure they took the cup.

Clon must be commended for the character they showed in the second period. Having led 1-9 to 1-4 through David Lowney soon after the restart, they looked like they would be comfortable winners, but a game Inniscarra side fought back.

O’Donoghue made a driving run and found O’Raw, who produced a Valerie Mulcahy-like pirouette to evade goalkeeper Niall McCarthy and finish, and two further points from him and one each for O’Donoghue and Tomás O’Connor had them in a great position.

Clonakilty had been denied territory due to Inniscarra’s midfield dominance but they didn’t panic and Seán McEvoy, man of the match Jack Cowhig and sub Ross Mannix had them level by the midway point in the half.

From there they drove on, with Cowhig very impressive, and his free, which he won himself, put them 1-15 to 2-9 ahead with five minutes left. O’Donoghue’s free kept Inniscarra in it though and had Tomás O’Connor’s shot been a few inches lower, it would have drawn them level — instead it came back off the crossbar.

Jack Hayes’s free made it a one-point game, but Clon showed enough fortitude. It is to Inniscarra’s credit that the game was still up for grabs so late as they looked like being well-beaten early on.

Lowney’s goal capped a great Clon start as they led by 1-5 to 0-1 inside 20 minutes, but David Barry’s penalty had Inniscarra back in it, and with four points in it at half-time, 1-8 to 1-4, they were well in contention. They fell short, but lost no honour in doing so.

Scorers for Clonakilty: J O’Mahony, J Cowhig 0-5 (two frees) each, D Lowney 1-1, S McEvoy 0-2, E Ryan, R Mannix 0-1 each.

Scorers for Inniscarra: A O’Raw 1-2, J Hayes 0-4 (two frees), D Barry 1-0 (penalty), T O’Connor, S O’Donoghue (frees) 0-2 each, D O’Keeffe 0-1.

CLONAKILTY: N McCarthy; E Deasy, C O’Donovan, D McCullagh; T O’Connell, J Henry, M White; C O’Crowley, P O’Regan; E Ryan, D Lowney, JP Maughan; J O’Mahony, J Cowhig, S McEvoy.

Subs: R Mannix for Maughan (40).

INNISCARRA: L Geaney; C Griffen, C Barrett, S Lynch; K O’Herlihy, J Roche, J O’Dwyer; A O’Raw, S O’Donoghue; L Collins, E Baxter, D O’Keeffe; J Hayes, D Barry, T O’Connor.

Subs: C Brown for Griffen (49), D O’Sullivan for O’Connor (53), O’Connor for Baxter (58), D Hyland for O’Keeffe (60).

Referee: D Daly (Brian Dillons).

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