Hat-trick hero Ryan shoots Clon to final

Clonakilty CC 4-8 Belmullet CC 0-8

The result will give them hope of a first national title at this level when they play Athlone in the final in a couple of weeks.

Clonakilty laid the foundations for their victory in the first half when playing against the elements. Superbly marshalled in defence by centre back David Horan, full back Kevin O’Driscoll and ‘keeper Cathal O’Sullivan, they hit the Mayo school with 2-3 in the closing five minutes of the half and there was only going to be one winner after that.

Belmullet won the toss and elected to use the elements, and when Martin Geraghty pointed after a minute it looked the correct decision. However once Clon settled, they began to play marvellous possession football, with Denis O’Sullivan to the fore.

After Martin Geraghty added a second Belmullet point, their first in 17 minutes, Clon struck a purple patch which saw Paddy Ryan scoring two goals in a minute, helping his side to an interval lead of 3-3 to 0-3.

Clonakilty’s Ryan completed his hat-trick with a third goal seconds after the restart and Belmullet, who are already in the senior schools All-Ireland final, had a mountain to climb.

Belmullet rallied but Clon coped admirably. The Mayo side needed goals but a solid Clonakilty defence in which Kevin O’Sullivan, Olan Hayes and David Horan featured gave nothing away, and the Mayo side had to be content with picking off points.

The pressure yielded four Mayo points on the trot, two from Barrett, but in breakaway attacks the Clon attack kicked four points without reply, two by impressive centre forward Mark Evans, to put the seal on a splendid performance which augurs well for the final.

Scorers: Clonakilty: P. Ryan 3-1; M. Evans 0-4 (0-2 frees); J. O’Driscoll 1-0; D. O’Donoghue, G. O’Donovan, L. White 0-1 each. Belmullet: M. Geraghty 0-3; G. Barrett 0-2 (0-1 free); S. Mangan, U. Corrigan, M. Sweeney (free) 0-1 each.

CLONAKILTY: C. O’Sullivan; K. Callanan, K. O’Driscoll, J. Tobin; Diarmuid O’Sullivan, D. Horan, O. Hayes; B. O’Donoghue, Denis O’Sullivan; J. O’Driscoll, M. Evans, L. White; G. Holland, P. Ryan, G. O’Donovan. Subs: D. Fitzpatrick for Callanan; C. McCarthy for O’Donoghue.

BELMULLET: J. Healy; A. Doherty, O. Murphy, K. Rowland; D. O’Reilly, T. O’Donoghue, G. Sweeney; G. Barrett, U. Corrigan; S. Mangan, M. Sweeney, P. Gaughan; E. Reilly, M. Geraghty, D. Doherty. Sub: M. Markwick for Gaughan.

Referee: D. McGann (Clare).

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