Éire Óg will play Premier Senior football later this summer after comfortably coming out on top in this evening’s 2020 Cork Senior A final.
For the men from Ovens, the eight-month wait to fulfil this Covid-delayed fixture was most worthwhile.
Harry O’Reilly’s charges, save for the closing minutes of the first half, ruled proceedings and the only wonder is how they did not win by a far greater margin than nine points.
Four second-half wides added to the nine amassed in the first-half meant the winners finished with a wide count of 13. Four-goal opportunities also went a-begging.
Wasteful they most certainly were but given they were not made to rue this catalogue of misses, we doubt Éire Óg will care too much. They took home the silverware they came for and will ply their trade at premier senior level in little over two months' time. Everything else is mere window dressing.
Ahead by 1-7 to 1-4 at half-time, Éire Óg made certain of the result when landing an unanswered 1-5 in the 22 minutes after the restart.
Dylan Foley provided their second major, collecting and finishing a Joe Cooper point attempt that came back down off the post on 43 minutes.
Points either side of this second goal from Cooper (0-2), Diarmuid Dineen, and Daniel Goulding (two frees) pushed the 2019 premier intermediate champions into an 11-point advantage.
James Loughrey supplied Mallow’s first score of the second period on 52 minutes. It was a mere footnote in the contest as the result had by then been decided.
Éire Óg would have been kicking themselves at being only three in front at the break. Bar the closing minutes of the half, the Ovens side were ultra dominant throughout the opening period.
That their supremacy was not reflected in the interval scoreline was entirely Éire Óg’s own doing as Harry O’Reilly’s charges were beyond wasteful. Nine first-half wides they registered, while also squandering three goal opportunities.
One of those nine wides, though not included in the list of squandered goal opportunities, was Dylan Foley’s missed effort in the opening passages of play. The corner-forward opted for a point when a goal was most definitely on but Éire Óg came away from the attack empty-handed - as would be the case on several occasions thereafter - as Foley’s handpassed point attempt hit the post and went wide.
Jack Murphy had them off the mark with a point, with Éire Óg's opening goal arriving on two and a half minutes, Cooper the scorer.
Mallow responded with a green flag of their own 30 seconds later, Seán McDonnell putting through Michael O’Rourke who finished well.
Keith Moynihan’s charges would not add to their tally for another 12 minutes, a period during which they were most fortunate to remain in the contest.
Éire Óg reeled off four unanswered points in this 12-minute spell but also swelled their wide count to six, with Ronan O’Toole hitting the post with his goal chance and Eoin O’Shea seeing his low drive well stopped by Mallow ‘keeper Kevin Doyle.
O’Toole would engineer a second green flag opening for himself on 23 minutes, his effort again hitting the post.
Éire Óg led 1-7 to 1-1 at this juncture. Their lead had halved come the call for half-time, James Loughrey, Shane Merritt (free), and Eoin Stanton on the target.
It was to prove the sole period where Mallow brought the fight to their opponents. Normal service resumed from the beginning of the second half, Éire Óg cantering off into the distance.
The Ovens club will hope to make it a 2020 Championship double in early August as they are also involved in the outstanding Intermediate A hurling final against Aghabullogue.
Joe Cooper, D Foley (1-2 each); D Goulding (0-4, 0-4 frees); B Hurley (0-2); J Murphy, E O’Shea, D Dineen (0-1 each).
M O’Rourke (1-0); J Loughrey (0-2); S Merritt (free), E Stanton, C O’Riordan (free), K Sheehan, S Hayes (0-1 each).
C Kelly; D O’Herlihy, M Corkery, C McGoldrick; D McCarthy, John Cooper, D Dineen; J Murphy, R O’Toole; E O’Shea, C O’Callaghan, Joe Cooper; D Foley, D Goulding, B Hurley.
K Hallissey for O’Callaghan (29 mins, inj); Jerome Kelleher for Hurley (52); L Sheehan for Cooper (60); John Kelleher for Dineen (62).
K Doyle; E Barry, J Loughrey, B Myers; T McEvoy, S Merritt, M Taylor; D Moynihan, E Stanton; K O’Sullivan, R Harkin, M O’Rourke; C O’Riordan, K Sheehan, S McDonnell.
J Dillon for Harkin, S Hayes for Moynihan (both 40); P Herlihy for Sheehan (42); M Quirke for McEvoy (48); P Hennessy for O’Rourke (55).