Castlehaven hold on as battling Clon’s brave comeback fails

Castlehaven 1-9 Clonakilty 1-7

For a considerable length of time, Castlehaven looked destined to garner the coveted laurels in comprehensive fashion and when they led by eight points entering the last quarter the die seemed well and truly cast for Clonakilty.

But Clonakilty, sparked by a goal out of the blue from full-forward Padraig Griffin, found a new lease of life and came agonisingly close to snatching a draw.

In what was a free-flowing first-half, both sides in this West Cork local derby were subjected to periods of fluctuating fortunes.

After Conrad Murphy snatched the lead for Clon with a pointed free in the third minute Castlehaven threatened ominously but were unable to find their finishing touch.

First Fra Cahalane soloed across the end line but his shot for goal hit the side netting and then, after being brilliantly placed by Cahalane, centre-forward Alan Crowley’s half volley was wide.

Clon amazingly survived this early Castlehaven burst and after the sides were level at two points following the opening quarter, another point from a free by Conrad Murphy edged the old traditionalists in front again. Then it was Clon’s turn to experience the trauma.

Midfielder Brendan Walsh found Griffin with an inch perfect delivery, but the Clon striker’s shot whistled narrowly wide.

Castlehaven then responded in determined fashion. Taking the game to Clon with flair the Haven proceeded to dominate.

Right corner forward Colin Crowley, who subsequently emerged as Clon’s tormentor-in-chief, rifled over two points in rapid succession. Padraig Hurley broke through and found the net, but was penalised for fisting the ball home.

There was now no holding a rampant Castlehaven side and an absolutely superb point from full forward Bernie Collins powered ‘The Haven into a 0-5 to 0-3 interval lead.

How Clon must have welcomed that half-time whistle. Castlehaven were firmly in control, with wing forward Stephen Connolly performing splendidly, and Clon, who had played with confidence early on, looked a very dejected bunch indeed.

Conrad Murphy, with his third point from frees, gave Clon’s flagging spirits a boost two minutes after the resumption.

But then utter calamity befell Owen O’Mahony’s side. A catalogue of defensive errors, in which a number of the Clon backs failed to clear their lines, allowed Castlehaven the opportunity of hitting the goal that proved to be a crucial score.

Gift-wrapping the ball to corner-forward Paudie Hurley and allowing Colin Crowley the freedom of the park, Clon paid a hefty price indeed as ‘man of the match’ Crowley made no mistake after receiving from Hurley.

Spurred by Crowley’s all-important goal, Castlehaven really went to town and five points in-a-row, without reply, propelled the new champions of Cork football into a 1-9 to 0-4 lead with 14 minutes remaining.

To say it was all over would be an understatement. But to their eternal credit, Clonakilty resolutely refused to fly the flag of surrender and magnificently staged one of the most sensational comeback’s witnessed in a county senior football showpiece.

Conrad Murphy came out of his shell. Substitute Howard Kenny was a revelation and when Padraig Griffin burst past two defenders to shoot an electrifying goal in the 53rd minute, Clonakilty were back from the dead.

Castlehaven wilted and lost their way as Clon came at them with a vengeance. A minute after Griffin’s fantastic strike, Conrad Murphy pointed another free to leave just three between them. But, disconcertingly, Clon fell by the wayside and squandered two great chances.

A scoreable free, taken by Murphy, fell short and left half forward Colin O’Donovan blazed wide.

Substitute Conor Murphy did manage to point two minutes into added time but it was too little to late as Castlehaven celebrated their third senior football championship success.

Scorers: Castlehaven: C. Crowley 1-4; S. Connolly 0-3; B. Collins and P. Hurley (free) 0-1 each

Clonakilty.P. Griffen 1-0; C. Murphy 0-5 (0-4 from frees); B. Walsh and C. Murray 0-1 each.

CASTLEHAVEN:L. Miles; D. Cahalane, L. Collins, A. Sheehy; P. Loughnane, R. Cahalane, T. O'Leary; D. Hurley, N. Cahalane; S. Connolly, A. Crowley, F. Cahalane; C. Crowley, B. Collins, P. Hurley. Subs. D. Burns for N. Cahalane (injured); B. Deasy for F. Cahalane; Brian Collins for Bernie Collins.

CLONAKILTY: E. Harte; T. O'Sullivan, D. O'Brien, C. O'Neill; N. McCarthy N. Hayes, D. Lyons; B. Walsh, Tony. Anglin; K. Meade, C. Murphy, C. O'Donovan; S. Quirke, P. Griffen, Timmy. Anglin. Subs. M. Griffen for McCarthy; H. Kenny for Tony Anglin; C. Murray for Meade; D. Cahill for Quirke; J. O'Mahony for Timmy Anglin.

Referee: D. Linehan (Nemo Rangers).

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