When the draws for the Bons Secours Cork PIFC were made earlier in the year, this Cath na Gaeltachta in Group B was as anticipated as any other local derby.
Circumstances robbed us of a unique atmosphere yesterday afternoon, however, events at the pristine Tom Creedon park in Macroom confirmed what most would have thought beforehand; that Cill na Martra are that bit ahead of their neighbours at the moment.
The foundation for Cill na Martra’s victory was laid in the first half when they made full use of the strong breeze to build a substantial six-point lead. Central to this effort was their outstanding centre-forward, Micheál Ó Deasúna, who kicked 0-5 of their 0-7 in the first period.
Naomh Abán did open the scoring in the sixth minute through Críostóir Ó Deasúna but two frees from the aforementioned Micheál Ó Deasúna had Cill na Martra ahead by the time the first drinks break came around.
Naomh Abán would have been frustrated by their profligacy in front of goal at that stage, while Cill na Martra couldn’t find any real flow to their football.
They made full use of the water break, however, pushing Graham Ó Mocháin out to pick up Naomh Abán’s extra man in the middle, and they soon reaped the benefit.
Ó Deasúna landed his third, Danny Ó Conaill raided forward from wing-back for another, Damien Ó hUrdail got his name on the scoresheet, before Ó Deasúna kicked a peach of a score from the bank side.
It would have been worse for the Ballyvourney men were it not for a superb save by Gearóid Ó Luasa from Dano Ó Duinín. There was still time for one more Ó Deasúna free to leave Cill na Martra leading by 0-7 to 0-1 at the break.
Diarmuid Ó Ceallaigh began to make his mark on the resumption for Naomh Abán with a good point from a mark but scores from the irrepressible Ó Deasúna and Seán Ó Foirréidh seemed to have Cill na Martra in complete control.
The Ballyvourney side showed, however, that things can change quickly in a derby game. Former Cork U-21 star Micheál Ó Laoghaire kicked a fine long-range score before Ó Ceallaigh slipped inside the cover for a fabulous goal in the 41st minute. Micheál Ó Duinnín followed this burst with a superb free and as we broke for drinks again, there was just two points in it, 0-9 to 1-4, and all to play for.
It made for a tense final ten minutes. Ó Deasúna pushed Cill na Martra further ahead but the excellent Ó Ceallaigh responded in style to return the margin to a perilous two points.
But as the clock hit 60, Cill na Martra full-back Ó Mocháin rampaged up the field before laying it off to Shane Ó Duinnín who put three in it again. Micheál Ó Duinnín did tap over a free deep into stoppage time, but there was to be no denying Cill na Martra who join Knocknagree on two points at the top of Group B.
M Ó Deasúna (0-7, 6 frees); D Ó Conaill, D Ó hUrdail, S Ó Foirréidh agus S Ó Duinnín (0-1 each).
D Ó Ceallaigh (1-2, 1 mark); M Ó Duinnín (0-2 frees); C Ó Deasúna agus M Ó Laoghaire (0-1 each).
A Ó Conaill, D Mac Lochlainn, G Ó Mocháin, E Ó Loingsigh, T Ó Corcora, N Ó Laoire, D Ó Conaill, S Ó Céilleachair, G Ó Goillidhe, S Ó Foirréidh, M Ó Deasúna, C Ó Duinnín, D Ó hUrdail, D Ó Duinnín, S Ó Duinnín.
G Ó Luasa, T Ó hAiléasa, S Ó Mathúna, R de hÍde, É Ó Críodáin, C Ó Deasúna, M Ó Liatháin, M Ó Laoghaire, C Ó Donnchú, D Ó hAileamhain, D Ó Ceocháin, A Ó Luasa, D Ó Loingsigh, M Ó Duinnín, D Ó Ceallaigh.
P Ó Liatháin for Ó hAileamhain (40 mins).
Peter O’Leary (Cloughduv).