Understrength Bere Island no match for powerful Plunkett’s
BY JOHN BOHANE
Plunkett’s ............4-19 Bere Island ............1-3
St. Oliver Plunkett’s comprehensively outclassed Bere Island in the quarter-final of the junior B county football championship at Kealkil last Saturday afternoon.
The Saints go marching on to the county semi-final where they will play the winners of Crosshaven or Whitechurch after a straightforward victory over a vastly understrength Bere Island team. Bere Island who were missing key players for a variety of reasons, performed admirably and to the best of their ability but were out of their depth against a formidable Plunkett’s team still on a high from winning the South West junior A for the first time since 1990, after defeating Argideen Rangers in a replay the previous Thursday evening.
Plunkett’s who had come into this game on the back of a number of hard games in the West Cork championship had the superior fitness and the touch as a result of playing sustained championship action while Bere Island who were playing their first competitive game of the year, were coming into this game untested, and were slow to settle and lacking match sharpness.
This was to have devastating consequences as a blistering opening 15 minute scoring blitz for Plunkett’s which yielded 4-4 to no score, was sufficient to seal the triumph for a very strong Plunkett’s team. On a damp afternoon, the sod was in immaculate condition but the game was effectively over as a contest as Plunkett’s stormed into a convincing 3-2 to no score lead inside the opening five minutes.
The Plunkett’s inside forward line of Keith O’Driscoll, Barry O’Driscoll and Kevin Coffey all scored one goal each as Plunkett’s threatened to obliterate Bere Island. The game was one way traffic with Plunkett’s on top in every sector of the field launching constant waves of attacks on an overworked Bere Island defence.
Michael Pat Keohane (2), Gary McCarthy and Barry O’Driscoll added points to further extend the Plunkett’s lead before Gary McCarthy fired home an unstoppable drive to the roof of the net to give Plunkett’s an unassailable lead of 16 points after the first quarter. Plunkett’s were playing superb one touch football, opening the Bere Island defence at will and exploiting the many gaps in the Bere Island defence.
Barry O’Driscoll extended the Plunkett’s lead before Bere Island replied with their first point of the game after 21 minutes when William Reid rose highest to fist a John Hanley 45 over the bar.
Plunkett’s responded with three successive points before half time to hold a 19 point advantage at the break. Gary McCarthy, Kevin Coffey and Barry O’Driscoll kicked nice points to ensure Plunkett’s held a comfortable advantage at the interval.
Plunkett’s started the second half brightly, with no danger of complacency creeping in, scoring five points in the opening ten minutes. Brian McCarthy, Michael Pat Keohane and Kevin Coffey (3), extended the gap to 23 points. Kevin Coffey who was outstanding throughout was very unlucky with an audacious chip from 35 yards as he spotted Bere Island goalkeeper Barry Murphy, inches off his line but the ball agonisingly rebounded off the crossbar and out to safety.
Bere Island were sticking to their task, refusing to throw in the towel and performing gallantly. They scored two successive points to slightly reduce the arrears. David Elphick and William O’Sullivan struck two fine points from distance to ensure their efforts were rewarded. Conor McCarthy replied for Plunkett’s after Peter Coffey and Keith O’Driscoll combined to set McCarthy up for a neat point.
Bere Island kept battling and their endeavour was rewarded with a superb individual goal from right wing back Micheál Downey who latched on to a deft pass from John Mullins to outsprint the Plunkett’s defence before confidently crashing a bullet of a shot past Brian Walsh into the top corner of the net.
Plunkett’s secured the victory with points from Kevin Coffey, Conor McCarthy, Brian McCathy, Keith O’Driscoll and Peter Coffey in the closing stages to seal an emphatic triumph. The Magpies will fancy their chances of outright success, in the county champioships and will be able to call on the services of ace forward, Conor O’Driscoll, for their impending county semi-final clash but they know a much sterner test lies in store.
Scorers – St. Oliver Plunkett’s: Kevin Coffey 1-5, 0-1 free, Barry O’Driscoll 1-3, Gary McCarthy 1-2, Keith O’Driscoll 1-1, 0-1 free, M.P. Keohane 0-3, Conor McCarthy, Brian McCarthy 0-2 each, Peter Coffey 0-1. Bere Island: Micheál Downey 1-0, William O’Sullivan, William Reid, David Elphick 0-1 each.
St. Oliver Plunkett’s:
Brian Walsh, John Nyhan, Tim Coffey, T.J O’Driscoll, Ed O’Driscoll, Eoin Barrett, Ciarán McCarthy, Donal Walsh, Peter Coffey, Gary McCarthy, M.P. Keohane, Conor McCarthy, Keith O’Driscoll, Barry O’Driscoll, Kevin Coffey. Subs: Brian McCarthy for Barry O’Driscoll, Dermot Hurley for Gary McCarthy, Michael Nyhan for Donal Walsh.
Bere Island: Barry Murphy, Gary Moriarty, Mike Orpen, John Paul Downey, Micheál Downey, Cormac Sidley, Shane Harrington, John Hanley, Michael Crowley, David Elphick, Ben Murphy, William Reid, William O’Sullivan, Brendan Murphy, John Mullins. Subs: Michael Reid for Ben Murphy, Aaron Hanley for John Paul Downey.
Referee: Joe Crowley, Randal Óg.
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