The Clyda Rovers corner-forward enjoyed a frustrating opening to Saturday’s provincial decider, kicking three wides inside the first quarter and watching in bewilderment as Miltown-Malbay captain Eoin Cleary prevented his goal effort.
Murphy eventually opened the Cork outfit’s account on 10 minutes, but, by this juncture, their opponents had raced four points clear and were threatening to pull out of sight.
“It was worrying the way Miltown started,” he said. “We just said to keep doing what we had been doing all year. If we lost by a point or won by a point, we vowed we would come off that field exhausted. That was the frame of mind we had all year and we stuck to that.”
Conor Cleary (free) kicked the opening score less than a minute in, with Eoin Curtin doubling Miltown’s advantage in the subsequent action. The Cork side, coming off second best in most departments, particularly midfield, were clearly off colour and their cause wasn’t aided by successive wides from Murphy and O’Shea.
At the other end the Clare champions continued on their merry way — Eoin and Conor Cleary swinging over further minors. Murphy eventually put Clyda on the board, but far from the pendulum swinging in their favour, the corner-forward would experience a testing spell with the boot – Clyda fans watching in frustration as the wide count soared.
From the ensuing kick-out following Murphy’s white flag, possession was worked to Padhraic O’Mullane who spotted an opening in the Miltown-Malbay defence, offloading to the unmarked corner-forward.
Murphy rounded ’keeper Niall Quinn with ease and as the Clyda contingent rose in expectation of a goal, Curtin appeared from nowhere to perform the necessary heroics. Murphy missed the subsequent ’45, dropped a further placed ball effort short, and then had a third wide moments later.
“If you keep shooting, especially myself, they are bound to go over eventually. We had a couple of wides. We just kept shooting and they did eventually start to roll over. We drove it on from there.”
Drive on he did. Murphy knocked over four on the bounce in the second quarter as Clyda finally began to make their dominance pay.
Conor Flanagan ensured it wasn’t a one-man-show on the run to the break, cementing a remarkable overtaking display. “We were happy to be two up,” continued Murphy. “Miltown played a lot of the football for the first 15 minutes. We were relieved to be ahead and felt we had a lot more in us. It was crucial we pushed on in the second-half. Football is all about momentum. We didn’t want them to get one or two, then it would have been a draw game.”
Paudie Kissane and Murphy stretched Clyda’s advantage on the resumption (0-8 to 0-4) and although Eoin Cleary pared back the margin – Miltown’s first score in over 35 minutes of play – there was to be no let up from the Cork champions. Chris Buckley, fed superbly by Fionn O’Shea, dissected the posts entering the final quarter.
Cleary again responded, but Clyda had one hand on the cup when 37-year old O’Mullane brought their tally into double figures.
A couple of nervy moments were played out at the death as Miltown went in search of the required major, though it typified Clyda’s attitude that when substitute Michael Malone sought to pass the ’21 he was met by a wall of 11 black and amber jerseys. The chance was snuffed out and thereafter referee Padraig O’Sullivan brought the curtain down on a truly glorious year for footballers from Mourneabbey.
More to come in 2014...
Scorers for Clyda Rovers: JMurphy (0-6, 0-3 frees, 0-1 ’45); P O’Mullane, P Kissane, C Buckley, C Flanagan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Miltown-Malbay: E Cleary (0-3, 0-3 frees); E Curtin (0-2, 0-1 free); C Cleary (0-2, 0-1 free).
CLYDA ROVERS: C Conway; N O’Mullane, R Carey, C Kenny; C O’Sullivan, F O’Shea, O O’Hanlon; D O’Callaghan, C Flanagan; C Buckley, P Kissane, G Carey; J Murphy, P O’Mullane, C O’Sullivan.
Sub: K Fitzgerald for O’Callaghan (37).
MILTOWN-MALBAY: N Quinn; E Malone, S Curtin, E O’Gorman; I Sexton, G Kelly, G Curtin; D McDonagh, C Cleary; K Keavey, J Curtin, B Curtin; S Malone, E Cleary, E Curtin.
Subs: J Cleary for McDonagh (54); K Malone for J Curtin (54) ; E Fox for Keavey (57) ; B O’Brien for Kelly (60) .
Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).
More a crucial period. Clyda, having enjoyed a two point interval advantage (0-6 to 0-4), pushed on at the change of ends with two further efforts to lead by double scores. The deficit would prove too big an ask for Miltown-Malbay.
What a year for Clyda Rovers. After all the heartache of previous campaigns they finish 2013 as Cork and Munster champions.
The PA giving spectators two minutes notice of Amhrán na bhFiann.
Clyda had outstanding performers all over the field, but James Murphy who hit 0-6, shades the verdict ahead of centre-back Fionn O’Shea. Murphy’s early scores were crucial in nullifying Miltown’s blistering start.
Pádraig O’Sullivan had a quiet day at the office and was correct in his decision to disallow Chris Buckley’s 32nd minute goal as the half-forward had touched the ball on the deck.
Clyda Rovers face Mayo and Connacht champions Kiltane in the All-Ireland semi-final in the New Year.