Turning a three-point interval advantage into an eventual 18-point victory was the story of this AIB Munster club IFC final at Mallow yesterday. Mark Bourke’s Na Gaeil simply blew Corofin away after they raised their game to another level on the restart.
Bourke, who took over as manager of Na Gaeil for the Kerry county final, and had two sons Jack and Damien lining out, said they knew they needed to up their performance against their lare counterparts.
“We talked at half-time, we are a senior team and if we are going to play against Crokes and Stacks and Kerins O’Rahillys, we need to be operating at a proper level and attitude in terms of performance. Playing against Corofin, no disrespect to them, we needed to be at a higher level and intensity coming out in the second half.
“I don’t think Corofin came out of the dressing-room in the second half. Jamie Malone was causing a lot of trouble in the first half, he scored three fabulous points. So we put Stefan (Okunbar) on him and we brought Diarmuid (O’Connor) out to midfield. We brought Eoin Doody as a third midfielder.
“That really helped our cause as the first four kick-outs went to Diarmuid, and Jack Sheehan scored 1-2 in the first three minutes and that set the tone. It was very hard for Corofin to get their heads up after that.”
Corofin played most of the football in the opening half, they trailed 2-4 to 0-7 at the short whistle. Diarmuid O’Connor and Jack Bourke the goal-getters for Na Gaeil while Jamie Malone was the top-man for the Clare side.
The second half was a totally different affair with Na Gaeil upping the gears. Jack Sheehan thundered into the game. His goal after 45 seconds set the tone for what was to come.
A second green flag arrived from Sheehan as they out-kicked Corofin 3-8 to 0-1.
Darragh Carmody then held his nerve to score a penalty and he followed that with another goal from play.
Damien O’Loughlin pulled a penalty back for Corofin a minute from time.
So, it comes as no surprise that Bourke was delighted with his young team.
“In the Beaufort game (county final), we had only four players that played in the All-Ireland (JFC) two years ago. It is a brand new team, the average age is 22. There were five 19-year-olds out there today. We do have the trust in them. They all play at a high level and at division 1 county league. They won an U16 division 1 county league so they are of a higher crop than previously.”
There is, however, one aspect they can improve on.
“In the county final, the Drom game (Drom & Inch) and today, we didn’t play for 60 minutes in any of them, so maybe that is something that might happen at some stage.”
D Carmody (2-5, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), J Sheehan (2-2), J Bourke (1-1), D O’Connor (1-0), D Goggin (0-3), J O’Connor, J Barry, E Doody and D Reen (0-1 each).
G Cahill (0-5, 0-4 frees, 0-1 m), J Malone (0-4), D O’Loughlin (1-0 pen), G Kelly (0-2), D Cahill (0-1 free).
D Burns; E O’Connor, N O’Mahony, D Bourke; F Barry, E Doody (Capt), A Barry; J Barry, S Okunbar; J O’Connor, D Goggin, J Sheehan; D Carmody, D O’Connor, J Bourke.
E O’Neill for E Doody (40), D Reen for D Goggin (45), K O’Donovan for A Barry (46), E Walsh for S Okunbar (50), G O’Connor for J O’Connor (57).
L Neylon; M O’Loughlin, C Mullins, J Rees; C Rice, D O’Loughlin, C McGroary; K Keane, F Clancy (Capt), R Hayes, D Cahill, G Kelly; R Mounsey, J Malone, G Cahill.
E Clancy for C McGroary (37), B Keane for M O’Loughlin (48), C Doolin for K Keane (50), S Malone for R Hayes (53), E Davoren for D Cahill (57).
Jonathan Hayes (Limerick).