Trailing by 1-9 to 0-4, the Beara divisional outfit desperately required a goal to reignite their challenge. Aidan McGurn’s men had been committed and wholehearted from the off, simply falling short in matching the quality of football tabled by their Skibbereen opponents.
Gary Murphy was among the few Beara footballers whose quality couldn’t be questioned and when he stepped enterprisingly inside the Skibbereen cover on 41 minutes, a goal looked the sure bet.
The Cork minor pulled the trigger but out of nowhere sprung John O’Sullivan, the O’Donovan Rossa corner-back superbly blocking the shot. As the Beara players rued their bad luck, down the field swept the opposition. Donal Óg Hodnett cut in from the right wing, floating a probing ball across the square. Thomas Hegarty couldn’t get a hand to it, but Rob Long was well positioned at the far post to collect and finish.
The goal was the final turning of the knife in what had been a slow kill by O’Donovan Rossa.
Having fallen 0-2 to 0-1 behind in the early stages, O’Donovan Rossa would outscore Beara by 2-8 to 0-2 in the subsequent 31-minutes. Once they hit stride from the 10-minute mark onwards, Beara were chasing a lost cause.
The final quarter would prove nothing more than a procession, with Beara’s Éanna Murphy, Brendan Jer O’Sullivan and Shane McCarthy swapping points with Hodnett and Kevin Davis.
Davis and Hodnett, along with Thomas Hegarty and Paudie Crowley, were most effective for the winners.
Further back the field, there was a white shirt permanently offering protection in front of the full-back line – Conor McCarthy carried out this role with relative ease yesterday afternoon. Also impressive were the marauding Mark Collins and Daniel Hazel.
“Winning is a habit that you simply cannot beat, it just makes everything easier,” said O’Donovan Rossa manager Shane Crowley.
“The honesty and the work-rate was always there and that pleased me. If that is there, the football will follow. We have enough good footballers to follow that way. Even with the few unforced errors, lads’ heads didn’t drop.
“I don’t think Beara played well on the day, we expected a tougher test and we left plenty of opportunities out there to put the game to bed far earlier.”
Full-forward David Shannon had the winners on the board two minutes in, Beara settling into proceedings with two points white flags from the lively Gary Murphy.
An excellent run by Daniel Hazel set up Rob Long for the equalising score and Crowley’s side regained the initiative when pouncing for the opening goal on 12 minutes.
Beara full-back Joe Harrington lost possession deep in his own half; Shannon sprayed the ball to Kevin Davis and he rounded ‘keeper William O’Sullivan with consummate ease.
Andrew O’Sullivan kicked a fine point in reply, but Beara would not successfully lay siege to the opposition posts for a further 20 minutes.
Davis (0-4, three frees) and Hodnett (0-2) landed six unanswered minors, four of which arrived before half-time to hand Skibbereen a 1-6 to 0-3 interval lead.
Paudie Crowley stretched the gap out to eight right before Rob Long’s game-ending goal; Beara’s comeback bid frustrated by 14 wides over the hour.
K Davis (1-5, 0-3 frees); R Long (1-1); D Óg Hodnett (0-3); D Shannon, P Crowley (0-1 each).
BJ O’Sullivan (0-3, 0-1 free); G Murphy (0-2, 0-1 free); E Murphy, A O’Sullivan, S McCarthy (0-1 each).
R Price; E Nealon, P Nealon, J O’Sullivan; M Collins, C McCarthy, D Hazel; D Óg Hodnett, S Carmody; P Crowley, K Davis, O Collins; T Hegarty, D Shannon, R Long.
S O’Brien for O Collins (HT), C Crowley for Shannon (53 mins), J Davis for Long (55), P Gilmore for Carmody (58), N McCarthy for M Collins (58).
W O’Sullivan (Adrigole); D Tores (Castletownbere), J Harrington (Garnish), Liam Harrington (Adrigole); Lorcan Harrington (Castletownbere), T Collins (Castletownbere), S McCarthy (Castletownbere); A O’Sullivan (Castletownbere), C Lowney (Urhan); Sean O’Sullivan (Garnish), C Harrington (Urhan), KJ O’Sullivan (Adrigole); G Murphy (Castletownbere), D Fenton (Castletownbere), D Murphy (Castletownbere).
BJ O’Sullivan (Adrigole) for D Murphy (27 mins), Sean O’Sullivan (Garnish) for C Harrington (30), B Goggin (Castletownbere) for Sean O’Sullivan (48), D Hegarty (Castletownbere) for Collins (52, bc), M McCarthy (Urhan) for G Murphy (57, inj).
D Murnane (Macroom).