Clonakilty took on old rivals, St. Nicks, in Bandon on Saturday, June 18th in the second round of the 2016 county senior football championship. With both teams having lost their opening games this was a make or break tie, with the losers facing automatic elimination from this year’s title race. After heavy rain earlier in the afternoon conditions were difficult for players and the pitch was very slippery. Clon were forced to line out without exam-tied Zack Harington and David Lowney, while preparations had been far from satisfactory with no fewer than six first-choice players sitting their Leaving Certificate in the week before the game. Clon played into the town goal in the first half and had the advantage of the fresh breeze. They got off to the perfect start when Sean White was on the end of an excellent movement and as he bore down on goal he was upended. The resultant penalty was brilliantly converted by Thomas Clancy, shooting low to the ‘keeper’s right. Within a minute, Jack O’Mahony had added a fine point from a 30 meter free and the lively Clon forwards were causing havoc for the over-worked Nick’s defence. A number of heavy tackles saw yellow cards being issued to the city side’s defenders and the inevitable black card saw one of those defenders sent to the line after 23 minutes. By that time Clon were well in control as points by Jack O’Mahony (play), Ross Mannix (play), O’Mahony again(free) Sean Mc Evoy (play) Denis Murphy (play) and a cracking goal from Josh Henry saw Clon leading by 2-06 to 0-04, with the city side scoring three points from play and one from a free during isolated attacks. A further O’Mahony point from play and a point from a free from Nicks saw Clon ahead on a score of 2-07 to 0-05 at the break. Clon opened the second half very brightly with Clancy knocking over a wonderful point from distance, quickly followed by another O’Mahony free and the game was over as a contest in the thirteenth minute of the half when a shot from Josh Henry which failed to clear the cross bar was misjudged by the unlucky Nick’s ‘keeper who stepped behind the line in his efforts to clear. Clon were now in cruise control and took their foot off the pedal as play became scrappy. Numerous scoring chances were wasted as the game fizzled out to its inevitable end. Late points from Ian Falvey, Sean White and Ross Mannix put the seal on a good win. In the closing stages the frustrated Nicks players resorted to some rough tackles and at least two of their players were very lucky to remain on the field for the full hour. Clon now advance to the knock-out stages and await the fourth round draw. It is a good position to be in after the nightmare campaign of 2015. The management deserve great credit for restoring pride to the team and the young players can also take great credit for two fine performances so far in this year’s championship. Scorers were; Josh Henry (2-1), Thomas Clancy (1-1), Jack O’Mahony (0-6), Ross Mannix (0-2) and Graham Murray, Denis Murphy, Ian Falvey and Sean White (0-1) each.
Clon team; Mark White, Cian O’Donovan, Finbarr Coughlan, Colm Sheehy, Liam O’Donovan, Gearoid Barry, Graham Murray, Denis Murphy, Thomas Clancy (c), Ian Falvey, Sean White, Josh Henry, Sean McEvoy, Jack O’Mahony, Ross Mannix. Sub used; Sean Nagle for Jack O Mahony(55) and Sean O’Donoghue for McEvoy (56)