O’DONOVAN ROSSA made no mistake at the second time of asking at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday to claim their third Cork Co U21 FC title in impressive style.
Rossa’s arrived determined to finish the job and went about it from the throw-in. The sides were level at 0-1 apiece after three minutes before Rossa’s took control, helped by the excellence of Shane Crowley and Paudie Crowley at midfield. In a blistering 10-minute spell, they rifled over five points, two from Kevin Davis, to open up a 0-6 to 0-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Carrig had little luck up front and had three efforts for scores come back off the upright. Coupled with that, usually reliable free-taker David Drake missed two scoreable frees, before he eventually found the target from a placed ball after his side had gone 20 minutes without a score.
That score didn’t trouble the West Cork side, however, and, with Davis and David Shannon sparkling in attack, they hit back with three further points, two by Shannon, to lead 0-8 to 0-3 after 25 minutes.
Carrig were badly in need of scores, but, despite the best efforts of Kevin Kavanagh, David Drake and Simon O’Brien, they could make little headway against a solid Skibb defence in which Jack O’Driscoll and Eoin O’Donovan gave nothing away, and the Carrigdhoun side had to settle for a Killian McIntyre point in injury-time which left Rossa’s 0-8 to 0-4 in front at the break.
Carrigaline badly needed a goal to get back into the game, but the West Cork side scored first on the changeover, a delightful point by Rob McCarthy in the 35th minute.
Rossa’s defensive play was superb, closing down their opponents without committing the foul and forcing the Carrig forwards to shoot under pressure, not always accurately.
However, the switch of Wayne Bruton from midfield to full-forward began to have the desired effect and three points by the Carrig forwards, threw the issue wide open.
As the tension mounted and time ticked away, Rossa’s lost a glorious chance to put the issue beyond doubt when Rob McCarthy’s effort was inches the wrong side of the upright. But he made amends seconds later with a fisted point to give his side a four point cushion, and when big David Shannon landed his third point of the game, the ‘Weeshie’ Murphy Memorial Cup was destined for Skibbereen for the third time, despite a late goal by Wayne Bruton for Carrig.
Rossa’s coach Shane Crowley couldn’t hide his delight afterwards. “All the week there was talk we had left it behind us the last day, but we were determined to prove that wrong today,
“Our game plan was to take the game to Carrigaline right from the start. We did that, got the early scores, which settled us and there was no disputing the better team won on the day.
“These are an exceptional crop of players. Nothing is too difficult for them, and with most of them eligible again next season, the future of the club is looking good.”
Carrigaline coach Alan O’Mahony was gracious in defeat, accepting that the better team beat his charges on the day.
“It might have been different had we had better luck around their goal. We had three efforts come back of the upright, missed a number of easy frees that on another day would have gone over. But you have to hand it to Skibb, they are a well tutored side, with some outstanding exponents of the game.”
Scorers for O’Donovan Rossa: R. McCarthy, D. Shannon 0-3 each; K. Davis (0-1 free), D. Óg Hodnett (0-1 free), T. Hegarty 0-2 each; S. Crowley, J. O’Donovan 0-1 each.
Carrigaline: W. Bruton 1-2; D. Drake 0-4 (0-1 free); S. O’Brien, K. McIntyre 0-1 each.
O’DONOVAN ROSSA: R. Price; R. Hodnett, S. Hourihane, E. O’Donovan; D. Hazel, M. Collins, P. Crowley; S. Crowley, D. Óg Hodnett; G. Minihane, R. McCarthy, K. Davis; J. O’Donovan, T. Hegarty, D. Shannon.
Subs: J. O’Donovan for Hourihane (half time); D. O’Regan for S. Crowley (59); H. Leonard for J. O’Driscoll (59); J. Davis for Hodnett (62).
CARRIGALINE: S. Mellet; D. Spillane, C. Allen, C. McSweeney; K. Kavanagh, C. Barry, S. Conlon; W. Bruton, S. Dwane; L. O’Regan, D., Drake, S. Gorman; K. McIntyre, S. O’Brien, C. O’Flynn.
Sub: C. Malone for O’Regan (40).
Referee: N. Barrett (Carrigtwohill).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved