Cloughduv proved too strong for Ballinameela in this Munster Club JFC final in Mallow yesterday, bringing the curtain down on a marvellous year for the Cork champions. The victory was built upon their first-half performance into the wind, having taken control just before the break.
Ballinameela won the toss and opted to play with the elements. Cloughduv deployed a sweeper and the Waterford side found it difficult to deal with the overload. They were guilty of being wasteful with opportunities, hitting nine wides alone in the opening half.
Player-manager David Phelan, who lined out at centre-back and was one of five brothers who saw action, said it was a disappointing end for Ballinameela, but he was looking on the bright side.
“We wanted to go far. Ardmore won last year, Ballysaggart (2013) and Modeligo (2014) before them. We are a very small rural club outside Dungarvan. We have 90 members and 45 players. There are great lads in the club and they are a credit to their parish really.
“We would have hoped for more. It was a very strong Cloughduv team. We had a lot of wides with the wind. They played a sweeper system and we never really figured it out. I wish them well in the rest of the championship.
“We were relegated last year, but we got things going again and we improved this year, we got our status back. We have a good panel now and we got a good few people in.”
The game stood at five points apiece after 20 minutes, which was a fair reflection, as Ballinameela had struck six wides to one. The Verling brothers Mark (1) and Brian (3) and James Moynihan were on target for Cloughduv, while the Phelan brothers Brendan (3) and Brian and Jim Curran the opposition.
Ballinameela were finding the going tough. Brian Verling was inspirational for Cloughduv, foraging deep out the field, he also scored nine of his side’s 17 points, while Ger Ahern mopped up what ball came his way in defence, as did Eoghan Clifford at full-back.
The three points scored before the break would steer matters in their favour. A swift move involving Dave O’Leary, Donal Corkery and finished by Mark Walsh provided the first point. Brian Verling notched the other two. They got their noses in front 0-8 to 0-6 as Joe Mullins sounded the half-time whistle.
Brendan Phelan then made it a one-point match, but crucially, Cloughduv pressed on again through Andrew Cronin and Brian Verling (3). Mark Walsh put five points between the teams midway through the second-half. The Muskerry men had a good hold on proceedings now. Ballinameela’s first point from play of the second half was not registered until five minutes from time, and that came off the stick of centre-back David Phelan.
Meanwhile, Cloughduv were working hard, typified by one excellent passage of play, heroic defending resulting in a magnificent Mark Verling point. When Joe Ryan opened his account, they would enjoy their biggest margin of seven points, 0-15 to 0-8, and 10 minutes left to play.
At this juncture, goals went abegging, one at either side. Cloughduv were saved by the woodwork, while Moynihan couldn’t stretch far enough to get to Mark Verling’s pass.
Brendan Phelan and David Phelan swapped points with Ryan and Brian Verling and, while Ballinameela’s Paul Curran had the last say, they had no answer to the overall support play of Cloughduv, who can look forward to the All-Ireland series with a lot confidence.
Scorers for Cloughduv:
B Verling (0-9, 0-7 frees), M Walsh, M Verling and J Ryan (0-2 each), J Moynihan and A Cronin (0-1 each).
Scorers for Ballinameela:
Brendan Phelan (0-6, 0-5 frees), P Curran (0-2), J Curran and Brian Phelan (0-1 each).
J Buckley; P Buckley, E Clifford, S Curzon; G Ahern, B Ahern, D O’Leary; M Walsh, A Murphy; M Verling (Capt), A Cronin, D Corkery; B Verling, J Ryan, J Moynihan.
G Egan for D Corkery (34), D O’Sullivan for G Ahern (43), A Twomey for S Curzon (47), K Barry Murphy for A Cronin (53), K Walsh for D O’Leary (60).
D Looby; R Shine (Capt), M Shine, K Looby; K Phelan, D Phelan, L Looby; P Curran, T Curran; L O’Brien, Brian Phelan, C Culloo; C Buckley, Brendan Phelan, J Curran.
M Culloo for C Buckley (40), E Walsh for C Culloo (42), M Phelan for J Curran (52).
Joe Mullins (Clare).