Macroom were arguably more deserving of a victory which brought them their first title in the grade in 20 years. And that was something manager Noel Twomey and inspiring team captain Fintan Goold could take particular pride in.
For his part, Kildorrery coach Ronan Sheehan’s disappointment was balanced by the regret for the personal hurt experienced by O’Brien after he had done so much to overcome the club’s frustration of consecutive failures in the junior and intermediate finals in 2007-’08.
The closeness of the exchanges over the first quarter reflected what was to prove a very evenly-contested game, with scores level in the 10th (0-1 each) and 20th (0-3 each) minutes. Macroom made the early running and a shot from which Sean Kiely scored their third point would almost certainly have ended up in the net but for a fine reflex save by ‘keeper Brendan Hannon.
Notably, because of the unerring accuracy of Andrew O’Brien’s free-taking, Kildorrery were in front for the first time in the 21st minute. And, around this time Macroom selectors were concerned not only by some poor finishing but that Fintan Goold was not involved very much in the play at centre-back. However, a switch to midfield benefited the Cork panellist – and, more pertinently, the team –while Philip Corrigan also saw more action after he moved back.
Nevertheless, they finished the half with seven wides and were a point behind (0-5 to 0-4), after strong play on the right flank from John Howard and Tom Monaghan highlighted a stronger threat from the Kildorrery attack.
That was confirmed on the resumption when Howard pointed and the O’Brien (also influential in general play) added another score. Sensing their vulnerability, Macroom raised their standard, led by Goold who kicked over a vital 36th minute score. That was created by his brother David, who was to make a contribution after moving to wing-forward.
The momentum was with Macroom, except that they ran up a further seven wides before Brendan Lynch brought them level in the 47th minute. Kildorrery pressure yielded two frees which Andrew O’Brien put over with ease before the hard-working Garry Morris popped up with his second point for Macroom, in the 52nd minute. Then a wayward tackle by Kildorrery defender Jerry McCarthy resulted in a penalty and while David Goold’s kick was saved by the goalkeeper, he got the rebound into his hands and buried it in the roof of the net.
Kildorrery weren’t finished yet, with Mike Monaghan pointing immediately following the kick-out.
Then came O’Brien’s dramatic miss – from what seemed a dubious penalty awarded against goalkeeper James O’Connell after he tackled Tom Monaghan as he attempted to dribble the ball into the small square.
In remaining time, Macroom won more possession, added a point through Ciarán Murphy and ensured victory when Fintan Goold made a vital catch after Michael Walsh had lofted in a high ball.
Scorers for Macroom: D. Goold (1-1, one free, penalty); G. Morris (0-3, one free); S. Kiely (0-2); F. Goold, B. Lynch and C. Murphy (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kildorrery: A. O’Brien (0-6, three frees, two ‘45’s); T. Monaghan (0-2); E. O’Connor and J. Howard (0-1 each).
MACROOM: J. O’Connell; B. O’Donnell, E. O’Mahony, R. Buckley; M. Cahill. F. Goold, C. Murphy; S. Kiely, P. Corrigan; T. Dineen, G. Morris, S.D. Quinlan; B. Lynch, D. Goold, O. Murphy.
Subs: C. O’Sullivan for Dineen (ht.) J. Ryan for Quinlan (45).
KILDORRERY: B. Hannon; S. Kelly, T.P. Murphy, J. Cremin; Jerry McCarthy, M. Walsh, R. McEniry; S. Fitzgerald, A. O’Brien; J. Howard, D. White, E. O’Connor; T. Monaghan, M. Monaghan, D. Kelly.
Sub: John McCarthy for Howard (25).
Referee: James Dorgan (Nemo Rangers).