Seán Micheál Ó Conchúir’s goal just after half-time was the pivotal score as An Ghaeltacht advanced to the Munster Club IFC final with victory over their hosts in Mallow yesterday.
MALLOW (CORK) .......... 1-8
Having led by five points after playing with the wind in the first half, the Kerry champions were expecting an onslaught from the home side on the resumption, but Ó Conchúir’s goal ensured that the Mallow challenge couldn’t properly get going.
For Gaeltacht manager Conall Ó Cruadhlaioch, ensuring they retained that cushion was key but there are things to work on ahead of the final against St Senan’s of Clare.
“At half-time, we put a big emphasis on the first 10 minutes,” he said, “we knew they’d react, so it was important to stay focused.
“We did that but afterwards we slackened off. We’d definitely be concerned that they ran through us a few times, we knew it was going to happen but we still struggled with it.
“The bottom line is that we’re delighted to be in the Munster final, it’s huge for the club. It’s a small club with a small pick and a young panel, we have to make the most of it and hopefully we can go that step further.”
After 13 minutes, the victors were 0-4 to 0-1 in front following points from Tomás Ó Sé, Roibeard Ó Sé and Dara Ó Sé. Their progress looked fairly serene but Mallow were level on the quarter-hour when Kevin Sheehan fed Killian O’Connor, who was able to embark on a strong run through the defence and, when the sight of goal presented itself, he kept his head and slotted to the net.
It proved to only be a brief interruption to the Gaeltacht flow however, as Seán Ó Gairbhí and Dara Ó Sé extended their advantage further before Brian Ó Beaglaioch set up PJ Mac Láimh, who drew an excellent save from Kevin Doyle.
They still gleaned an Ó Gairbhí point from that passage and created another goal chance when Dara Ó Sé effected a turnover and Ciarán Ó Coileáin and Ó Beaglaioch set up Seán Micheál Ó Conchúir, who hit the crossbar.
Ó Conchúir did curl over a long-range free just after that and then Éanna Ó Conchúir made it 0-9 to 1-1 with a good individual score, bringing to seven their tally of scorers. While James Loughrey was getting forward well from full-back as Mallow threatened to cut An Ghaeltacht open, they couldn’t translate those forays into enough scores.
Cian O’Riordan did have two late points though and, with the wind to come, the 0-11 to 1-3 deficit didn’t look insurmountable. However, within a minute of the restart, An Ghaeltacht had a goal as Éanna Ó Conchúir’s pass was perfectly weighted to allow Seán Micheál Ó Conchúir to palm the ball past Doyle.
Mallow did create a goal opportunity in response as Loughrey set up Kieran O’Sullivan, but he fired wide and the chances of the lead being overhauled diminished thereafter.
Gaeltacht weren’t at their flowing best but did enough to keep their opponents at arm’s length, primarily through Seán Micheál Ó Conchúir and Dara Ó Sé.
Mallow finished with 14 as Bill Myers received a second booking following an altercation with Tomás Ó Sé, who was also cautioned. Seán Micheál Ó Conchúir, Dara Ó Sé and Cathal Mac Gearailt rounded off the win for Gaeltacht, who face Castlegregory in the West Kerry SFC semi-final next week before the Munster decider.
Mallow’s year is over, but manager Keith Moynihan could point to a lot of positives. “There are times when you have to realise that you’re beaten by a better team,” he said. “You have to look back at the fact that, at the start of the year, we set out to win a premier intermediate in Cork and that’s what we’ve done. We’re going to play senior football next year and, while there is a lot of disappointment at the moment, there’s a lot to look forward to.”
Scorers for Gaeltacht:
SM Ó Conchúir (1-5, 2 frees), D Ó Sé (0-6, 5 frees), S Ó Gairbhí (0-2), R Ó Sé, T Ó Sé, C Ó Coileáin, É Ó Conchúir, PJ Mac Láimh, C Mac Gearailt (0-1 each).
Scorers for Mallow:
K O’Connor (1-2), C O’Riordan (0-4, 2 frees), E Stanton, R Harkin (free) (0-1 each).
T Mac an tSaoir; PP Sauerland, M Ó Sé, C Ó Lúing; C Ó Muircheartaigh, P Ó Sé, B Ó Beaglaioch; R Ó Sé, S Ó Gairbhi; C Ó Coileáin, D Ó Sé, PJ Mac Láimh; T Ó Sé, É Ó Conchúir, SM Ó Conchúir.
G Mac an tSaoir for Ó Coileáin (37), Ó Ó Sé for T Ó Sé, C Mac Gearailt for Mac Láimh (both 56), S Ó Bambaire for SM Ó Conchúir, C Ó Céilleachair for P Ó Sé (both 60).
K Doyle; M Quirke, J Loughrey, B Myers; A Cahill, M Taylor, J McGuinness; D Hayes, E Stanton; R Harkin, K O’Connor, K O’Sullivan; K Sheehan, C O’Riordan, C Lynch.
T McEvoy for Hayes (36), A Sheehan for K Sheehan, S Hayes for O’Sullivan, P Herlihy for Lynch (all 43), S Coughlan for McGuinness (53), R Willis for Loughrey (56).
R Hickey (Clare).
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