Clon v Beara, Under 21 Football Report 24-06-13)

Clonakilty under 21 footballers took on Beara in the county championship quarter-final on Monday, June 24th in Bantry.  It was a dull and slightly damp evening and the pitch was rather heavy and slippery but conditions were generally quite good.  Clon had not played since the West Cork final almost two months earlier and the team's preparations had been interrupted by players being involved in other grades and competitions, with a number also involved in exams up to very recently. Clon also had to line out without full-back, Joe White, away on holiday. In the opening exchanges Clon lacked the fluency and dash that had been a hallmark of their performances in the West Cork champuionship.  Their shooting was way off target and they ran up a total of 12 wides in the first half alone. Beara opened the scoring with a good point from play in the second minute. After some poor efforts, Clon finally got on the board courtesy of a fine Thomas Clancy point from play after seven minutes. Beara quickly responded with two points from play in the eight and ninth minutes. Clon were under presure now and the physically stronger Beara boys were dominating play, especially around the middle.  All of the breaking ball was being picked up by the eager Beara lads and Clon were struggling to stay in touch. In the eleventh minute Barry O Mahony kicked a mighty point from a fifty metre free. Beara responded immediately with a point from play and added another from a free after seventeen minutes. It was five to two in favour of Beara now and Clon needed to do something to stay in contention.  To their credit, they did just that, hitting four unanswered points in the next five minutes, Jack O Mahony, Barry O Mahony, Jack Cowhig and Scott Sheehan, all from play, kicked great points to push Clon ahead.  However, Beara responded with a point of their own from play in the twenty ninth minute, followed by a pointed free as the game moved into added time.  Beara led by seven points to six at the short whistle, with Clon players and supporters alike not exactly happy at many controversial refereeing decisions in the opening half. Clon returned a more determined team for the second half but needlessly turned over possession in the first sequence of play and then conceded a free which was knocked over the bar to extend Beara's lead. Clon responded immediately with a fine point from play by Jack Cowhig. Within a minute, Clon had the ball in the net when Jack O Mahony was at the end of a great movement to finish from close range. Jonathan Leahy added a point from play and it was all Clon now. They failed to take advantage of good possession however and after some bad misses by a variety of Clon players it was Beara who got the next four scores. A pointed free after ten minutes was followed by a point from play two minutes later. Another pointed free in the fourteenth minute was followed by a point from play a minute later and Beara looked the more likely winners at this stage. A great solo run by the impressive Sean White saw him take the ball deep into the Beara half before passing to Ian Falvey who kicked over from a tight angle on the left. The score inspired Clon and, in the very next attack, a ball, probably intended as an effort at a point, fell short and was punched to the net by the alert Johnny Leahy. Within a minute, Clon had opened up the Beara defence again and in a bizarre sequence of play Clon missed three glorious chances at scoring a goal. In the middle of all the confusion a Clon forward was grounded in the small square as he was about to finish to the net.  A penalty was awarded and Gearoid Barry was entrusted with the kick.  His fine effort shaved the crossbar as it flew over for a point. Clon were four points to the good but the Beara men took inspiration from the miss and took over for the remaining ten minutes or so. A pointed free in the twenty third minute was followed by a point from play two minutes later. The Clon goal led a charmed existence in the remaining minutes as Beara threw everything at Clon in a desperate attempt to salvage the game. A point from play as the game moved into added time left the minimun between the sides.  There were still four nail-biting mintes of added time to endure for the many Clon supporters, who far out numbered their Beara counterparts. Clon tried to hold possession and were eventually penalised for over-holding in the third minute of added time.  The rersultant free, from out on the right-hand sideline, was delayed while an injured player was being attended to.  After at least a minute, the free was finaly taken. To the cheers of the large Clon following it sailed right and wide.  The referee called for the ball before the kick-out could be taken. At the end of a game of swaying fortunes Clon were the winners by a single point, 2-10 to 0-15. They now advance to meet the wiiners of the Nemo Rangers v Pobaill Ui Chaoimh game in the semi-final. Fermoy play Valley Rovers in the other semi-final. Clon can feel happy that they advanced despite playing well below their best Team; Aidan Collins, Colm Sheehy, Martin Scally, Cian O Donovan,Scott Sheehan, Sean White, Gearoid Barry, Thomas Clancy, Stephen Sheehy, Graham Murray, Barry O Mahony, Jack O Mahony, Ian Falvey, Jack Cowhig and Johnny Leahy. Unusually, no subs were used.  Also on the panel were; Niall Mc Carthy, Alan O Sullivan, Cian Crowley, Eoin Ryan, JP Maughan, Josh Henry and Jack Barrett.