Countyn Under 21 Football Q/final Report 18-05-14

Clonakilty took on Ballincolllig in the county under 21 football quarter-final in Kinsale on Sunday, May 18th . Following early morning rain the weather dried up and conditions were good, though there was a cross-field breeze that favoured the team playing out from the roadside goal. The large Clon suport received a shock before a ball was kicked as it was revealed that leading forward, Johnny Leahy, was not playing and was not part of the Clon panel. Clon played into the far goal and had the first score when Eoin Ryan pointed from play after a minute. Ballincollig started to dominate around the middle and a defensive mix-up after just two minutes left the Mid-Cork side in for a soft goal. The next score came in the seventh minute when Ballincollig added a point from play after both sides had been guilty of missed chances. Three minutes later Cian Crowley scored an excellent point from play but Ballincollig responded with a similar score two minutes later. They added a pointed free after fifteen minutes and Clon were struggling to contain them. However, a Jack O Mahony point from a free after seventeen minutes kept a struggling Clon side in touch and he landed a “45” six minutes later to really lift the Clon supporters. Two quick points from play by the Ballincollig side put some daylight between the sides then but after twenty seven minutes Jack Cowhig pointed from play with a fine shot from a tight angle. In first half stoppage time Sean White pointed from play after a superb solo run and Clon retired for the break trailing by two points, 1-05 to 0-06, but very much in contention against a wasteful Ballincollig side. Clon raised their game early in the second half and started to win more possession around the middle. Jack Cowhig pointed from play after five minutes. In the eight minute Clon were awarded a penalty which Gearoid Barry expertly converted. The failure of the referee to award a black card to the offending Ballincollig player was extraordinary and did little to please the Clon supporters and players. Ballincollig pointed from play two minutes later but Clon were really playing well now, showing fierce determination and committment against a physically stronger team. Ian Falvey pointed from play after fourteen minutes. There was no further score until the twenty first minute when Ballincollig got a point from a free and followed quickly with a point from play. Jack O Mahony got a great point from play to edge Clon ahead. Ballincollig responed with a point from a free with three minutes to play and the tension becoming unbearable. The Mid-Cork side appeared to have snatched a win when they pointed a “45” as the game moved into added time. In one last frantic attack Josh Henry held his nerve to grab a richly deserved equalising point from play. Final score at the end of normal time was 1-10 apiece. Two exhaused teams who had given their all but were now forced to play extra time. Jack Cowhig pointed from a free after two minutes of the resumption and Ballincollig responed with a point from play immediately. With players on both sides going down regularly with cramp and heavy knocks the rate of scoring slowed completely. After eight minutes Jack O Mahony pointed from play and followed with a point from a free. Clon were now two points to the good as the short whistle sounded. The game was won and lost in the opening exchanges of the second period of extra time. Ballincollig scored four points in quick succession. Clon rallied bravely and Ian Falvey pointed from play. In one last desperate attack a Clon player was clearly tripped thirty metres out from goal. To the astonishment of all present, including Ballincollig supporters, the referee did not award a free and quickly blew the final whistle. The final score was 1-15 to 1-14. Clon were devastated. Following the highly controversial circumstances of the loss in the previous year's final the defeat was very hard to take. However, the players and management can feel proud of a great year and a bold bid for county honours. Though defeat was their lot they did themselves and the club proud. Most of the players are eligible again next year. In hindsight, the loss of outstanding captain, Colm Sheehy, to an injury at the end of the first half, was a huge blow, while the unavailability of Leahy was surely the difference between winning and losing. Feature of the game was the outstanding display of Aidan Collins in the Clon goal. He brought off four top class saves over the hour. Every single player gave his all and it would be unfair to single out any of them. The subs used also made fine contributions. Team; Aidan Collins, Cian O Donovan, Colm Sheehy, Jack Barrett, Martin Scally, Kevin Cormican, Josh Henry, Cian Crowley, Sean White, Ian Falvey, Gearoid Barry, Jack O Mahony, Eoin Ryan, Jack Cowhig and Sean Mc Evoy. Subs used, Zack Harrington, Ross Mannix and Paul O Regan. Other subs on the panel were, Niall Mc Carthy, Darragh Mc Cullagh, Eoin O Neill, Eoin Deasy, Ciaran Crowley, and Tiarnan O Connell