Ref abandons final after mentor orders players off

WHAT a terrible shame that 78 minutes of delightful football had to be marred by just one moment of madness yesterday in Inchigeela.

St Brogan's, Bandon 3-12 Boherbue Comp 1-12 (match abandoned)

With two minutes of extra-time to expire in the Munster Vocational School's JAFC final, referee Pat Roche from Banteer was forced to abandon proceedings. The bizarre situation occurred when a Boherbue player fell to the ground after a tackle, incensing mentor Joe Carroll. And when Roche allowed play to continue, a furious Carroll became further enraged. Within seconds, an ugly brawl developed involving parties from both sides.

Carroll then ordered his players off the field declaring "this is total bad refereeing. We had a player (Johnny Sullivan) kicked while on the ground and no action was taken. We have it on video."

Referee Roche then abandoned the game: "I asked the Boherbue captain Denis Kelleher to bring his team back out on the field," he explained, "but when they refused, I was left with no option but to call the game off."

No trophy was presented and the matter now rests with the Munster Vocational Council, who await the referee's report.

The tragedy is that the final was well-marshalled overall; was played in good spirit and it will be an injustice if St Brogan's are not allowed the victory.

The debate afterwards should have been of Bandon's three lightning-fast goals in extra time. But ne'er a mention, as it all got lost in the madness of the final few minutes.

Sad, too, when you consider that this grade is confined to U15½ and that some of these passages of play were far beyond those years. Take Daniel O'Callaghan, the Bandon full forward who plays his club action with Ballinhassig. He oozed with class, shooting 1-8. The only blip was his dismissal in added time for a second yellow card.

On the forty, Ronan McCarthy chipped in with 1-3 he is another crucial link in the scoring machine.

Boherbue were not without their stars either. Despite trailing 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, midfielder Kevin O'Sullivan was their leading light, and in the forward line, David Scannell was always dangerous, while the imperious Liam Collins ended the day with eight marvellous points.

Bandon were heading for home at the three-quarter stage, leading 0-10 to 0-6, but a peach of a goal from Paul Cremin ensured a titanic battle to the finish. And when Collins levelled with two pointed frees in the final three minutes, nobody complained at the prospect of extra time.

Two sets of 10 minutes ensued. However, the speed-dial had only turned 30 seconds when the enormously talented O'Callaghan rocked the net. Twenty seconds later McCarthy followed suit. And when substitute Gary Twomey registered his major, the seal of victory had been applied.

The Bandon sideline turned to celebration. They changed over with a seven-point cushion and in essence the final 10 minutes were becoming elementary until the dispute which brought proceedings to a premature end.

Scorers: St Brogan's: D. O'Callaghan 1-8 (0-3 frees), R. McCarthy 1-3, G. Twomey 1-0, D Crowley 0-1. Boherbue: L. Collins 0-8 (0-7 frees), P. Cremin 1-1, D. Kelleher, C. Fitzgerald and D. Scannell 0-1 each.

ST BROGAN'S: A O'Driscoll; P Hartnett, A O'Leary, R Twomey; C O'Donovan, G O'Riordan, D McCarthy; D Lynch, R Cashman (capt); D Crowley, R McCarthy, C Cullinane; O Keane, D O'Callaghan, R Kayne. Subs: G Twomey for R Kayne (40 mins), F Keane for C Cullinane (66 mins), M Sexton for F Keane (77 mins).

BOHERBUE: Niall O'Connor; Niall O'Connor, D Fitzgerald, S Murphy; A J O'Connor, T Carroll, L O'Keeffe; K O'Sullivan, T Murphy; C Fitzgerald, D Kelleher (capt), P Cremin; D Scannell, L Collins, J Curtin. Subs: J Ryan for J Curtin (36 mins), J Sullivan for C Fitzgerald (45 mins), D O'Connor for T Murphy (56 mins).

Referee: P Roche (Banteer).

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