Matthew Whelan goal lifts Coláiste Choilm and ends brave St Fachtna’s fightback

Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig 1-14 St Fachtna’s De La Salle, Skibbereen 1-9: Coláiste Choilm needed a late fightback to keep their Corn Uí Mhuirí (Munster PPS U18½AFC) aspirations alive as they overcame St Fachtna’s at Enniskeane yesterday.
Matthew Whelan goal lifts Coláiste Choilm and ends brave St Fachtna’s fightback

Having led 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time, the Ballincollig outfit found themselves facing a second-half onslaught from their Skibbereen opponents. With Stephen Leonard outstanding in the full-forward line, the turnaround reached its apex when Joseph Hickey put Fachtna’s 1-9 to 0-11 in front, but they wouldn’t score again.

Coláiste Choilm responded as Rob Bourke’s beautifully floated delivery was punched to the net by Matthew Whelan. With the lead restored, further points by Whelan, Eoin Reilly and sub Keith O’Riordan saw them pull clear.

Having lost to Tralee’s Mercy Mounthawk in the first game, Coláiste Choilm now face Clonakilty CC in their final group game, their chances of qualification from Group D reignited while St Fachtna’s hopes are almost certainly extinguished.

The west Cork school will feel aggrieved they couldn’t finish the job after going in front, but unfortunately for them most of the damage had been done in the first-half. Playing against the wind, Coláiste Choilm found themselves behind twice in the early stages but then the midfield of Reilly and Gearóid O’Donoghue took over.

Reilly’s free-taking was excellent and Colm O’Callaghan at centre-forward helped to link play effectively, allowing Whelan, Eoin O’Shea and Adam O’Connell to add points. With that five-point interval advantage, Fachtna’s re-jigged their side considerably before the resumption. Centre-back Seán Fitzgerald moved to midfield while corner-back David Whelton and wing-forward Peter O’Driscoll switched to the half-back line.

Two quick points from Leonard made the margin manageable and, while Reilly replied with a Ballincollig free, the momentum remained with Fachtna’s. A good Leonard run saw the ball fall to Whelton, who went for goal but his shot was excellent blocked by Ross McCarthy.

At the other end, Whelan’s effort hit the bar from Bourke’s handpass, but, after Leonard and James Lordan exchanged points, Fachtna’s looked to have made a pivotal power-grab. Leonard profited from a quick free to slice through the cover and finish to the roof of the net, cutting the deficit to a point, and then a free from him was followed by Hickey’s point.

The joy was short-lived, however, as Whelan’s goal swung the momentum Coláiste Choilm’s way once more and they had the stronger finish to take the points.

Scorers for Coláiste Choilm:

M Whelan 1-3, Eoin Reilly 0-5 (frees), F Warren, J Lordan, C O’Callaghan, E O’Shea, A O’Connell, K O’Riordan 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Fachtna’s De La Salle:

S Leonard 1-7 (five frees), S Fitzgerald, J Hickey 0-1 each.

COLÁISTE CHOILM:

E Curzon (Kilmurry); W Ronan (Kilmurry), R McCarthy (Éire Óg), L Fahy (Ballincollig); F Warren (Kilmurry), J Lordan (Ballinora), K Crowley (Ballincollig); E Reilly (Ballincollig), G O’Donoghue (Ballincollig); R Bourke (Ballincollig), C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg), E O’Shea (Éire Óg); A O’Connell (Inniscarra), M Whelan (Ballincollig), S Warren (Kilmurry).

Subs:

B Hurley (Éire Óg) for Warren (47), K O’Riordan (Éire Óg) for O’Connell (56), P Dineen (Ballinora) for Lordan (59).

ST FACHTNA’S DE LA SALLE:

E Hourihan (Ilen Rovers); D Whelton (Castlehaven), C O’Sullivan (Castlehaven), C O’Driscoll (Castlehaven); D O’Donovan (O’Donovan Rossa), S Fitzgerald (O’Donovan Rossa), E O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers); S Minihane (Ilen Rovers), R Byrne (O’Donovan Rossa); J Hickey (Ilen Rovers), D Hourihane (O’Donovan Rossa), P O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers); S Leonard (Ilen Rovers), R Foley (Castlehaven), E O’Connell (O’Donovan Rossa).

Subs:

D Fernandes (Clann nan Gael) for O’Connell (47), M Bushe (Ilen Rovers) for Byrne (52), K Cowap (O’Donovan Rossa) for D Hourihane (56).

Referee:

M Collins (Clonakilty).

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