Clashmore 1-7; Ballinacourty 1-6
History was made at Fraher Field on Wednesday last when Clashmore won a first Minor ‘A’ Football County title when they beat Ballinacourty by the minimal margin.
A second piece of history could also have been made when brothers Billy (Clashmore) and Eddie (Ballinacourty) O’Halloran were the respective team managers. The fact that the managers’ sons, Brian (Clashmore) and Michael (Ballinacourty) played in the same game against each other may not be a first as there is the possibility that first cousins have played each other in the past in a Minor County Final, but this could be the first instance in a number of years.
From the outset it was predicted that this game was going to be a low-scoring affair, and so it proved, with Clashmore collecting eight scores over the course of the hour and Ballinacourty totalling seven. However had ‘Courty taken the chances afforded to them in the first half and in the early part of the second, things could have been so much different.
The first score of an entertaining-enough game did not come until the ninth minute when Ballinacourty’s best player on the night, John Power, pointed from play. The lead was short-lived however as Clashmore captain Brian O’Halloran converted a free from just inside the 45-metre line with 11 minutes on the clock.
Jamie Murphy followed up with a second point for Clashmore two minutes later, and when Shane Crotty scored a second Ballinacourty point on 19 minutes the teams were level again.
Clashmore hit a purple patch in the last 10 minutes before the break, a period which played a huge part in securing their memorable win. O’Halloran scored his second on 22 minutes having been brilliantly set up by the impressive John Prendergast. Alan Coughlan kicked a point to put Clashmore two up and when O’Halloran goaled for Clashmore just before the break, Clashmore were five points to the good.
John Prendergast added a point for Clashmore just before the short-whistle to give them a 1-5 to 0-2 advantage.
But Ballinacourty came out a different side in the second half, scoring two points from the boot of Shane O’Donovan inside a six-minute spell, but wayward shooting was to again cost the Gold Coast side as they hit four wides inside the 10 minutes of the re-start.
O’Halloran cancelled out ‘Courty’s early scores in a two-minute spell between the 38th and 40th minutes, the latter from a well-struck 45 against the wind.
Ronan Sheehan pointed for Ballinacourty with 12 minutes left and when Colm Kindergan scored a goal following am excellent move up the field, Ballinacourty were back in the game with a major shout and a grandstand finish was in store.
Remarkably, however, the next telling moment of the game did not come for another 10 minutes, when Pat Casey awarded Ballinacourty a free 30 metres out and almost directly in front of the goal. However, John Power who played well, miscued his shot and it went to the left and wide.
Two minutes into stoppage time Michael O’Halloran pointed for Ballinacourty, to leave just the minimum between the sides. But the last shrill of referee Pat Casey’s whistle soon followed and was greeted with a tremendous roar from the Clashmore support who poured onto the pitch.
Clashmore: R Fitzgerald; S O’Connor, D Foley, T Bourke; D Byrne, D O’Connor, S Daly; J Prendergast, C Faherty; E Keevers, B O’Halloran, J Walsh; J Murphy, D O’Brien, D Trihy. Subs: A Coughlin for Faherty, C Faherty for Trihy, D Trihy for Coughlin, R Murphy for Walsh.
Scorers: B O’Halloran 1-4, J Murphy, A Coughlin, J Prendergast 0-1 each.
Ballinacourty: C Hickey; B McCullagh, D Henley, R Dunford; C O’Hare, N Dee, D Dee; M O’Halloran, R Sheehan; S O’Donovan, S Crotty, J Power; C Kindergan, E Leville, J Doherty. Subs: C O’Dwyer for Levelle, D Morrissey for Doherty
Scorers: C Kindergan 1-0, S O’Donovan 0-2, J Power, S Crotty, R Sheehan, M O’Halloran 0-1 each.
Referee: P Casey (Affane/Cappoquin).