Erin’s Own.........1-11. Beara...................0-6.
IT is hard for players to produce their best when there is a paltry attendance on the spectator banks, but Erin’s Own and Beara under 21 footballers tried hard to overcome this difficulty when they clashed in the county under 21 football championship quarterfinal at the magnificent new playing field at Ballineen on Saturday evening last.
It was a perfect evening for football after a beautiful summer’s day and the young men on the field revelled in the conditions, producing a game of a very high standard.
Erin’s Own won, and deservedly so, because they possessed a few outstanding players in a very well-balanced team and their greater cohesion as a club team, the product of a hard divisional campaign, was also a decisive factor in the end.
Beara too had their star players and many fine footballers, but as the game progressed and the tempo increased they could not match the overall effectiveness of the East Cork men and in addition Beara did have difficulty with their shooting and the many wides they registered prevented them from being much nearer to their opponents on the scoreboard at the finish.
Despite the fact that they were playing against the moderate westerly wind, Beara’s best period in this game was the opening quarter when they were tight in defence and penetrative in attack.
Erin’s Own county senior panelist Kieran Murphy put the Caherlag men ahead after three minutes’ play but after a Beara attack up the right wing ended with a foul on Lar O’Shea, Concubhair Harrington, his Urhan clubmate, pointed a difficult free from out near the sideline to equalise. A minute later Beara were in front, this time from a free by Eamonn Ger O’Sullivan, and even though Mark O’Connor quickly equalised for Erin’s Own, an exciting run up the right wing by Concubhair Harrington was halted in a manner contrary to the rule book and Harrington sent over a delightful point from the resultant free to put Beara back in front.
Beara’s full-back Sean Joe O’Sullivan from Adrigole was very prominent in containing the threat posed by Erin’s Own’s Mark O’Connor, Gary Lowney and Eamonn Ger O’Sullivan were holding their own at midfield and the Beara attack was menacing enough, particularly on the right wing where Harrington was in lively form.
Erin’s Own though had a talented team in action with Alan Lane and Andrew Finn very solid in defence and Kieran Murphy and Cian O’Connor emerging at midfield and in attack. Tomas O’Leary was an uncontainable threat on the right wing and Mark O’Connor, despite the outstanding work of his opponent, was able to avail of the slightest chance to score.
Tomas O’Leary’s punched effort brought the teams level at the end of the first quarter and the remainder of the first half was dominated by Erin’s Own. Shane Murphy pointed two frees before Tomas O’Leary was on the spot to bang home the only goal of the game in the 23rd minute after Cian O’Connor’s high ball into the goal area broke his way from the tussle between Sean O’Sullivan and Mark O’Connor. Shay Bowen and O’Connor added a point apiece as Erin’s Own began to camp in the Beara half and Beara’s only response was a point from an Eamonn O’Sullivan free in the closing minutes of the half, which left Erin’s Own in control at the break, leading by 1-7 to 0-4.
In the second half, the slicker teamwork of the East Cork men ensured that they would maintain the control they had by now established. Beara did pile on the pressure at times but their poor shooting was ruining their efforts at getting back into contention and Andrew Finn was very impressive in the winners’ defence.
Mark O’Connor began to move and caused problems and Tomas O’Leary was to remain a constant danger on the wing. Beara’s Sean J. O’Sullivan was constantly driving on his colleagues, who never gave up the quest, but were just that little off the pace.
Points from Mark O’Connor and O’Leary were answered by a point from Harrington and a string of Beara wides had their mentors in despair. Eamonn Ger’s point for Beara six minutes from the finish left six points between the teams but Erin’s Own finished strongly with a superb point from a Mark O’Connor long range free and one from play from the boot of county minor Patrick Fitzgerald.
It was a fine sporting game, a credit to the two teams, and Erin’s Own will trouble their semi-final opponents. Beara, like all divisional teams, suffered from the disadvantage of not playing together regularly as a team, and this problem will have to be addressed if the undoubted young talent in the famed peninsula is to be allowed to flourish and shine on the current scene.
Scorers: Erin’s Own—T. O’Leary 1-2, M. O’Connor 0-4 (0-1 free), S. Murphy 0-2 (free, ‘45’), K. Murphy, S. Bowen and P. Fitzgerald 0-1 each. Beara—C. Harrington 0-3 (0-2 frees), E. G. O’Sullivan 0-3 (0-2 frees).
Erin’s Own: Roy O’Connor, Darragh Dennehy, Alan Lane, Joe Lyons, Kevin O’Shea, Andrew Finn, Alan O’Shea, Kieran Murphy, Cian O’Connor, Tomas O’Leary, Shane Murphy, Patrick Fitzgerald, Diarmuid O’Flynn, Mark O’Connor, Patrick Walsh. Subs.—Shay Bowen for P. Walsh, P. Walsh for D. O’Flynn.
Beara: Sean Daly (Urhan), Mike O’Shea (Urhan), capt., Sean Joe O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Shane Joe O’Sullivan (Adrigole), David O’Brien (Urhan), Darragh Carey (Ådrigole), Pat
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