Cork County Junior A Football Semi-Final Replay:

November 8, 2018

By Joe Kennefick:

A Goal in either half from former Kerry Star Aodan MacGearailt was enough to propel Ballygarvan past St Mary’s and into next Sunday’s County Junior Football Final against Glanworth.

Played yesterday in Ovens, after torrential overnight rain, this game was switched to the second pitch, where the surface was quiet firm, except for one corner, where some surface water was in evidence, but this did not in any way take from another absorbing encounter.

However, because the pitch is far away from the dressing rooms, both teams stayed on the pitch at half time, when the heavens opened. Surely they deserve better.

Ballygarvan, were very disappointed to lose last years final to Eire Og, and now they have the chance to make amends, but they know that  a very good Glanworth teams awaits them in the final, fixed for Pairc Ui Chaoimh next Sunday.

 But this is now a very experienced team, with leaders in every line, and it will take a good team to beat them. For a lot of the team, they have been successful at every grade, and this is the championship they’ve always wanted to win.

This was a game of contrasting styles. St Mary’s took up from where they left off last weekend, and were full of running and back-up play. However, for the second successive week, they failed to turn their possession into scores, and this was to be their ultimate downfall. Over the hour, they only scored two points from play.

Ballygarvan had the boost of last years captain, Cian O’Conchuir lining out at full forward, and his strength and size alongside MacGearailt, meant that they were able to play the ball early to their forwards, and they looked more dangerous all through.

Playing with the aid of the breeze, St Mary’s were quicker to settle, and were two points ahead after three minutes, courtesy of a point apiece from the Daly brothers Chris and Peter. However they were rocked a minute later when MacGearailt had his first goal, when he finished a move to the net after good work by Alan Murphy and Mark Kennefick.

It was noticeable at this early stage that Ballygarvan were much more aggressive, where Ciaran O’Sullivan and Alan Murphy were very prominent in defence, while at midfield the Spillane brothers, Ger and Joe competed much better.  In the forward line, the pace of Gary White and Ken Ashman kept St Mary’s defenders on the back foot, and they were not attacking as much as in the drawn game.

 As a result, St Mary’s, while they got a lot of ball to their two man full forward line, of Brian Murphy and Gary Twomey, they could never get behind their markers, and they failed to drive home any advantage the wind was offering.

 Peter Daly pointed three frees and Brian Murphy pointed one for St Mary’s, but points from White, Ger Spillane and Damien O’Sullivan for Ballygarvan left the sides level at half-time, 1-3 to 0-6.

The first 15 minutes of the second half was played in a downpour, and scores were hard to come by. MacGearailt had the best point of the match in the 33rd minute, when he kicked over from 50 metres, but this was replied to by excellent wing back Eanna Kelleher, who started and finished a move to leave the teams level after 36 minutes.

At this stage it was hard to predict who would win, as St Mary’s were giving as good as they got. Stephen Keohane, Stephen Cronin and Chris Daly worked very hard, but they lacked the killer instinct of their opponents.

Ger Spillane almost goaled for the winners, when he soloed through the St Mary’s defence, but his effort was deflected out for a 45, which White kicked wide.

However the game turned Ballygarvan’s way in the 44th minute, when MacGearailt punched a high ball to the net.  Two pointed frees from White left the winners 2-6 to 0-7 by the 49th minute.

St Mary’s are a tough and resilient team though. They never gave up. They kept going forward, but Ballygarvan pulled deeper and deeper, and there was no way through. Stephen Keohane, who hit the side netting, Chris Daly and Kelleher all had efforts to no avail. In the last minute Daly pointed a free to close out the match, and left Ballygarvan ahead 2-6 to 0-8.


Scorers for Ballygarvan: A MacGearailt 2-1, G White 0-3(3 f),  G Spillane 0-1, D O’Sullivan 0-1.

St Mary’s: C Daly 0-5(5 f,), P Daly 0-1, B Murphy 0-1(1 f), E Kelleher 0-1. 

BALLYGARVAN: J Murphy; C O’Sullivan, A Butler, John Spillane; A Murphy, S White, J Barron; Joe Spillane , GerSpillane; G White, K Ashman,  D O’Sullivan; M Kennefick, C O’Conchuir,  A MacGearailt: Subs:  M O’Riordan for M Kennefick (40), D Sweeney for A MacGearailt(53), D Bouse for D O’Sullivan (62).

ST MARY’S: P O’Keeffe; B Brady , A Quinn, Daniel Milner;  B O’Mahony,  S Keohane, E Kelleher; Dermot Millner, S Cronin; J O’Donovan, C Daly, H O’Neill; B Murphy, P Daly, G Twomey. Subs: J Collins for J O’Donovan(34), B Quinn for H O’Neill(46).

Referee;  Ger Sweeney ( Glenville).