November 8, 2018

Our hopes of winning a second East Cork Junior ‘A’ Football Championship in three years were dashed at Lisgoold last Sunday. Fr O’Neills came out on top by a margin of four points after extra time. Going into the game we were tipped as favourites by many but on the day it simply did not happen for us as regards performance on the field. From the very start we were chasing the game. Midway through the second half we were 2 goals down but in fairness to the lads they fought back for a draw. In the extra time however we scored in the first minute and then failed to raise a further flag for 19 minutes.
We led briefly early on but an O’Neill’s goal in the third minute was a harsh blow. We struggled to come to grips with the pace of the Fr O’Neills attack. Jerome kicked two points for us to leave us behind 1-4 to 0-3. The first ten minutes of the second half saw a bit improvement in our overall play but our inability to kick points from distance cost us dearly. We were caught for a sucker punch twelve minutes into the second half with a second O’Neill’s goal. This left us 2-6 to 0-6 behind. It seemed only a matter of what the Ladysbridge/Ballymacoda side would win by. However our lads went on to produce a great last quarter, playing with spirit and heart. Points from Jerome, Terry and Sean Ryan reduced the margin to 3 points. O’Neills went up four again but once more Jerome brought it back to a goal game. As the sixty minutes was up the contest was in injury time when Brian Murphy burst through and set up Padraig for an equalizing goal. On the kick-out the final whistle went. A great finish for out lads. With the East Cork winners due to meet Cullen on Sunday next extra time had been agreed in the event of a draw. With heavy underfoot conditions it was tough going as Cathal McAllister restarted the final. From the throw in we attacked and Terry Broderick scored a great goal to put us 2-9 to 2-6 ahead. We won the kick-out then twice in succession but failed to score on both occasions. These misses were vital as this was our chance to go 4 or 5 points ahead. Back came O’Neills and they added 1-4 in the remaining nine minutes. Amazingly the second period of extra time produced no score and in the end O’Neills won by 3-10 to 2-9. Our final defeats in 2002 and 2003 were against Erins Own and on both occasions we were well beaten by a better team. Such was not the case however on Sunday as possession-wise we more than matched Fr O’Neills but they were much more economic in taking their chances and the conversion of their goal chances was vital. ‘Tis been a long, long season since Patrick Day in Ballynoe when this championship started. It’s a very disappointing end to the football championship but to all the players we say well done. Ye gave of yere best but unfortunately on the day Fr O’Neills got the breaks and more importantly, the scores. A special word of thanks to Pat McHugh, Mossie O’Sullivan and coach Vincent Cronin for their huge input. Our football season was really in two halves – from March ‘til June and then again in October. Since the year 2000 we’ve been in 6 Junior ‘A’ Football Championship semi finals and 4 finals. While we’ve won just the 2004 title, there’s no doubt but that we have plenty football talent in the club.
Team and Scorers: R Cahill, S Kearney, P Walsh, S Hogan, T Moloney, P Murphy (1-0), J Murphy, P O’Driscoll, S O’Brien, J O’Driscoll (Capt) (0-5), T Broderick (1-1), S Ryan (0-3), E O’Flynn, D Ryan, B Johnson.
Subs: B Murphy, C O’Keeffe, P O’Reilly, G O’Flynn, J O’Dowd.
After the game the team had a meal in the Rathcormac Inn. Club Chairman Liam Barry, Pat McHugh and Vincent Cronin spoke. They thanked each and every one of the panel for their efforts during the season. Liam also thanked the Rathcormac Tyre Centre and Sika for their generous sponsorship. Team captain Jerome O’Driscoll spoke on behalf of the team.