Dramatic Griffin strike earns Clonakilty replay

Clonakilty 2-7 UCC 0-13

All seemed lost for the west Cork side as the Students looked comfortable with a three point advantage with time running out but Griffin, a former UCC player himself, wormed his way past a couple of defenders before driving a blistering shot to the corner of the net to give his side a second bite of the cherry which they just about deserved.

UCC fielding a team that included 10 Kerry players got off to a great start when they won a penalty in the opening minute after Donncha Walsh was taken down going through but Billy Sheehan’s poorly struck kick was saved by Clon keeper Eamon Harte who also denied the UCC captain from the rebound.

There was a great edge to this game helped in no small way by the inclusion of a number of former UCC players on the Clon side in Padraig Griffin and Conrad Murphy but it was the tussle between UCC full back Ronan O’Connor and Clon full forward Alfie Harte which attracted the most attention. Twice in the opening five minutes they were seen locked together on the ground and both consider themselves fortunate to have stayed on the field.

Clon’s more aggressive football saw them forge two points clear after 10 minutes, Colin O’Donovan scoring two excellent long range efforts. However, UCC gradually began to take control particularly around midfield where Paul Galvin and Michael O Se won oceans of possession and with Billy Sheehan leading the attack in style and Conor Brosnan unerring from frees the Students led 0-6 to 0-3 after 20 minutes and Clon looked in trouble.

Struggling to cope with the precision passing of the Students, Clon’s overworked defence were forced into conceding frees which Conor Brosnan punished every time. However, the west Cork side finished well and with Padraig Griffin and John Connolly applying a lot of pressure up front Clon finished the half with two points by Colin O’Donovan and for all their superiority UCC could only manage an 0-7 to 0-5 half time lead.

As the skies darkened and the drizzle began to fall UCC kicked over three points in a row and in the space of four minutes led by double scores 0-10 to 0-5. It might have been more but for a brilliant save by Clon keeper Eamon Harte who denied Billy Sheehan.

A game that was gradually beginning to go UCC’s way was thrown open in the 45th minute when the outstanding Padraig Griffin was grounded after a great run and Colin O’Donovan showed marvellous composure in stroking home the resultant penalty.

Unfortunately the west Cork side could not build on that score despite the best efforts of Griffin and Conrad Murphy. In contrast UCC had the facility to respond to the danger and in typical fashion they added three points without reply and looked to be heading for round three until Griffin struck for that dramatic equaliser.

Scorers - UCC: C. Brosnan (0-6, 0-4 frees), B. Sheehan, P. Galvin (0-2 each), M.D. Cahill, K. O’Keeffe, R. Hussey (0-1 each).

Clonakilty: C. O’Donovan (1-4, 1-3 frees), P. Griffin (1-1), N. McCarthy, C. Murphy (0-1 each).

UCC: D. McInerney; B. Breathnach, R. O’Connor, N. Lynch, M. Phelan; T. Kenny, S. Curran, K. O’Keeffe, M. Ó Sé, D.Walsh, B. Sheehan, P. Galvin; M.D. Cahill, C. Brosnan, E. Twiss. Subs: D. O’Sullivan for Twiss, R. Hussey for Walsh.

CLONAKILTY: E. Harte; C. O’Neill, D. O’Brien, L. Lyons; N. McCarthy, D. Lyons, M. Griffin; N. Hayes, T. Anglin, C. O’Donovan, J. Connolly, P. Griffin, C. Murphy, A. Harte, K. Meade. Subs: T. O’Sullivan for M. Griffin, C. Calnan for K. Meade, T. Anglin for J. Connolly.

Referee: A.J. Cronin (Mayfield).

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