West Cork Under 21 Football Final Report 29-03-15

Clonakilty captured their third West Cork under 21 football title in a row on Sunday, March 29th 2015 in Rosscarbery as a result of a highly impressive win over old rivals, Castlehaven. In fact, the final was a repeat of the two previous finals where Castlehaven had been Clon's victims on each occasion. No report on this match would be complete without reference to the extraordinary build-up and background to the final. Both semi-finals were played on the previous Sunday. While Clon were scoring a narrow and slightly lucky win over Newcestwon in Enniskeane, word filtered through that there had been some very nasty scenes at the other semi-final in Skibbereen between Castlehaven and Ilen Rovers. A flare-up involving players and mentors resulted in the matter being dealt with at the following night's West Cork Board meeting in Dunmanway. Among the questionable decisions taken was one to oblige both teams in the final to use opposite sides of the pitch in the final at Rosscarbery. Clon lost a hastily organised toss and were thus ordered to use the side with no dugout. With a dreadful weather forecast for the weekend Clon were understandably aggrieved that they, who had no hand , act or part in the previous Sunday's events in Skibbereen, were now to suffer the misery of having no dugout on a day when there was a forecast of very poor weather. This deeply annoyed the players, mentors and all involved in the club. It was the main topic of conversation in GAA circles in West Cork in the week leading up to the final and the matter was further highlighted in the edition of the “Southern Star” published on the Thursday. It contained a well written and balanced article by that paper's sports editor deploring the actions of the West Cork Board. Whatever chance underdogs Castlehaven had was effectively gone before a ball was kicked. Clon's sense of grieveance and annoyance meant that they were so fired-up and determined that it is doubtful if any team could have lived with them on the day. Following the article in the “Star” and with details emerging of the manner in which the West Cork Board had dealt with the issue, interest in the final was now at fever pitch and a huge crowd gathered at the excellent Rosscarbry pitch for the final. Match programmes were gone almost half an hour before throw-in The many neutrals present were to be among the disappointed ones. With no seating of any description available on the far side of the pitch, and in the absence of any clarification regarding what rule, if any, the board had relied on in their unprecedented ruling, Clon mentors and substitutes took up occupation of one of the dugouts. Neither the referee nor the board members present raised any objection. There was a great buzz and a tremendous feeling of excitment as throw-in time approached. Clon played against the strong wind, into the far goalmouth. With a real and palpable tension in the air, play got under way. Straight from the throw-in Clon made their intentions clear and Sean White gained possession from a clevar flick-on from Cian Crowley. He raced throught the heart of the Castlehaven defence and kicked the ball over the bar from twenty metres out. Clon gained possession from the resultant kick-out and David Lowney rounded his marker and kicked a lovely point from just outside the twenty metre line. Despite playing into the strong wind, Clon were two points to the good with less than a minute gone. They continued to dominate possession and two further points followed from the impressive Jack Cowhig, from a free and play. With the score standing at 0-04 to nil Castlehaven finally opened their account with a point from play. Any hopes that their subdued supporters harboured on a revivial were quickly dashed when Clon tore their defence apart with a flowing passing move that saw Cowhig and Sean Mc Evoy combine to set up Sean White for an absolutely cracking goal after ten minutes. This knocked the stuffing out of the Castlehaven challenge. The men in blue were lucky not to concede another goal shortly after as a rampant Clon attack threatened to run riot. Only a brilliant save denied Martin Scally from getting another goal as Clon dominated in all sectors. Castlehaven did score another point from a free but Jack Cowhig pointed from play after good work by the man-of-the-match, Sean White. Sean Mc Evoy pointed then, a shot that could easily have gone under the bar and Ian Falvey cannoned a brilliant shot off the crossbar before the ball was cleared by a grateful Castlehaven defender. Relieved at the let-off, the men in blue enjoyed some good possession and kicked two fine points but David Lowney pointed from play just before the short whistle to leave Clon ahead on a score of 1-07 to 0-04 as the teams retired for the break. With the advantage of the strong wind to come, Clon were now in the driving seat as the second half commenced. The ever-dangerous Lowney added a point before Castlehaven enjoyed their only period of dominance. During a five minute spell they added two good points and struck the crossbar before Clon quickly re-asserted. In a dazzling fourteen minute spell they scored eight unanswered points to stamp their authority on proceedings. Three of these were from the powerful Ian Falvey and two came from the boot of impressive sub, Ross Mannix. Jack Cowhig and Jack O Mahony each pointed frees and Lowney added one from play as the game turned into target practice for the rampant Clon attackers. While Sean White faded slightly after his first half heroics, Cian Crowley stepped in to dominate possession around the middle of the field. A late rally saw Clon custodian, Mark White called into action and he did well to deny Castlehaven in the closing minutes. A single point just before the end was all the men in blue could muster and there were great scenes of joy and celebration when impartial referee, Eamonn Sheehy, blew the final whistle. Clon were champions for the third year in a row and Martin Scally was a proud young man as he stepped forward to receive the cup from the chairman of the West Cork Board. The very large Clon following cheered their approval as the captain thanked everyone associated with the victory, with special praise for team manager and trainer, Neil Deasy. The other selectors were, Pa O Connor, Timmy Anglin and Eugene Scally. Team sponsors were Clonakilty Blackpudding Company. Afterwards, there was a great welcome for the team when they returned to Ahamilla.

Team; Mark White, Cian O Donovan, Colm Sheehy, Zack Harrington, Josh Henry, Tiarnan O Connell, Eoin Deasy, Sean White, Cian Crowley, Martin Scally (Captain), Jack O Mahony, Sean Mc Evoy, David Lowney, Jack Cowhig and Ian Falvey. Subs used were; Liam O Connor, Sean O Donoghue, Ross Mannix and Ciaran Crowley. Other members of the panel were; Niall Mc Carthy, Colm Crowley and Darragh Mc Cullagh.