Cromane 0-11 V Ballydonoghue 2-03
ON a day most foul weather wise, Cromane had to withstand a second half Ballydonoghue fight back to capture their first Castleisland Co-Op Mart County Novice Football Championship, thanks to three magnificent late points from county star Seán O’Sullivan at Austin Stack Park, Tralee, on Sunday.
This was a game that did not catch fire until the second half, and Cromane deservedly took the cup back over the Laune Bridge, because they displayed the better work ethic and their two marquee players, Donnchadh Walsh and Seán O’Sullivan delivered the goods, when the chips were down.
Ballydonoghue will look back on this final and wonder why they played so poorly in the opening half with the strong wind behind them and retiring with just a one point advantage at the interval 1-1 to 0-3 was never going to be enough.
The North Kerry side missed their suspended top gun Paul Kennelly as their attack was toothless during the opening quarter, until they introduced young Eamon Walsh (carrying an injury) by which stage Ballydonoghue had accumulated four wides.
Meanwhile, Cromane, who had opted to play against the wind, were in full flow as Donnchadh Walsh looked a different class at midfield as he ranged up and down the pitch fetching, attacking and defending.
In the 10th minute Seán O’Sullivan gave Cromane the lead and then Seán Walsh added a second point into the teeth of the wind.Then enter Eamon Walsh in the 15th minute for Ballydonoghue and within a minute he made a searing run, setting up Barry Shanahan for a goal, before the sub added a point, and suddenly it was 1-1 to 0-2. Donnchadh Walsh closed the gap with a point as Ballydonoghue continued to fire blanks up front and the Mid Kerry club led 1-1 to 0-3 at the break.
Cromane then added three unanswered points in the opening ten minutes after the break, through Seán O’Sullivan (free) and Michael Teahan and Paul O’Sullivan.
However, Cromane then lost their shape and started to funnel numbers back behind the ball, which was asking for trouble, and, suddenly, Ballydonoghue sniffed a chance and attacked in numbers. However they ran into some solid defending by James and Noel Foley along with Michael Teahan and Peter O’Reilly as Ballydonoghue were guilty of over carrying when along ball to Walsh on the edge of the square might have been better.
Donnchadh Walsh and the lively Micheál O’Shaughnessy kicked points for Cromane while Pádraig Bunyan and Eoin O’Sullivan answered for Ballydonoghue before they rocked Cromane when a long run by Martin O’Mahony through the middle went unchallenged and when he found Eamon Walsh, he shot to the net and suddenly Cromane found them a point behind with five left.
It was then that Donnchadh Walsh showed his leadership as he drove forward and Seán O’Sullivan equalised with a superb long-range effort.
Then it was O’Sullivan with a free from the left and then another from under the stand on the right hand side that sealed a deserved and historic Cromane win.
Cromane: Liam Walsh; James Foley, Noel Foley, Noel O’Reilly; Michael Teahan (0-1), Peter O’Reilly, John O’Sullivan; Francis Casey, Donnchadh Walsh (0-2); Seán O’Sullivan (0-5, 4f), Paul P O’Sullivan (0-1), Seán Walsh (0-1); Colm Joy, Niall Dennehy, Clinton Griffin.
Subs: Michael O’Shaughnessy (0-1) for C Griffin, D Moroney for N Dennehy, Maurice O’Shea for N O’Reilly.
Ballydonoghue: Shane Thornton; Stephen Lonergan, Colm O’Mahony, Martin Scanlon; John Enright, Mike Scanlon, Eoin O’Sullivan (0-1); Martin O’Mahony, Kevin Costello; Pádraig Bunyan (0-1), Adrian Carr, Seán Kissane; Dermot O’Connor, Barry Shanahan (1-0), Daniel O’Riordan. Subs: Eamon Walsh (1-1) for D O’Riordan, John O’Mahony for Stephen Lonergan (inj) Raymond O’Donnell for D O’Connor, Kevin Walsh for A Carr.
Referee: D O’Connor (Rathmore)