West Cork Junior A Champions 2020!!

Having seen off Clonakilty in the quarter final of the championship, it was our old foes Tadgh MacCarthaigh that stood between the Kilmacs and their third final appearance in four years. Played last Tuesday night, under lights in Dunmanway (a midweek game very unusual in Carbery GAA) and under the backdrop of COVID 19 restrictions both sides produced a marvellous encounter. With incessant rain from first whistle to last, conditions were tough for both sides. With our star men in the full forward line, Richie O Sullivan and Damien Gore being well marshalled on the night and a very tight Caheragh back line restricting alot of the the Kilmac attacks, it turned out to be a night for the unsung heroes of the team to emerge. Step up Colin McCarthy, who over the course of the hour kicked some wonderful free’s off the ground to help the Kilmacs into a three point lead with the clock ticking for 60 minutes. Two late free’s from Colm O Driscoll had the game in the melting pot heading towards full time, but a lung bursting run from Ian Jennings, and a coolly slotted point gave the Kilmacs a two point cushion heading into injury time. Some outstanding last ditch defending and the lifting of a late siege from the Kilmac citadel, saw the team qualify for the Carbery Junior A Final once more.

We had to wait until Thursday night to find out our opponents and it emerged that our near neighbours and great rivals Carbery Rangers would be meeting us in the final. So last Sunday, the 4th October 2020 dawned cold and very windy and it was off to “the mountain” aka St James Park in Ardfield for the 96th Carbery Junior A Football Final. With a gale force wind blowing from west to east, winning the prematch coin toss would prove crucial to this result, as Kilmac captain Joseph Collins selected to play with the gale in the opening half. The early skirmish’s went the Kilmacs way with four quick fours settling the team into their task. A very young and dogged Carbery Rangers were making it very difficult for the Leap lads with their tigerish defending and tackling. But true to form all year, it is very difficult to shackle this Kilmac forward unit and between the 18th and 33rd minute they rattled off eight unanswered points to leave the Kilmacs with a comfortable 12 points to 1 at the half time break.

Now turning to face the strengthening breeze, it was thought that a few early scores from the Kilmacs would finally break the Ross men’s challenge. Despite opening brightly with an early free, this Ross team don’t have the same scoring power in their armoury and found it difficult to convert chances with the gale. With Matthew O Neill finding his mark with his kickouts and outstanding performances from Clive Sweetnam, Martin Collins and man of the match Ruairi Hourihane the middle third of the pitch was becoming Carbery Rangers graveyard as attack after attack was smothered. With Damien Gore kicking four additional points, aided by a goal from Richie O Sullivan and further scores from Ian Jennings and Diarmuid O Callaghan, the Kilmacs cemented their third Mick McCarthy Cup in four years with a comprehensive 1-18 to 0-7 victory.

After the final whistle and with COVID regulations to the fore, a delighted Joseph Collins accepted the cup from Carbery Board chairman Tommy Lyons before delivering a wonderful speech which encapsulated the day perfectly. He made reference to those panel members who were’nt available on the day and to the tragic passing, of great Kilmacabea GAA supporter Sinead Calnan. He also thanked St James for having their facilities in tip top shape and to Carbery Rangers for a fine sporting game.

So it was with great delight that the winning captain brought the Mick McCarthy Cup back to the parish for the third time in four years, and wrote another chapter into the history of Kilmacabea GAA. It would be remiss not to mention the management team of Kevin and Adrian O Driscoll , Alan Tanner and physical trainer David O Donovan who have got a well oiled machine in this Junior team and we hope that they enjoyed the victory as much as every supporter is. Also a huge debt of gratitude to Vinnie Hayes of Duhallow Live Streaming who once again put together a top class production to ensure, that all those that could’nt attend the final could enjoy the game from the comfort of their own homes. Also great thanks to John Keohane for proving great commentary and to the whole club executive for making the streaming of the game possible.

Finally and due to new COVID 19 restictions our County Junior A Football Championship Quarter Final, which was due to be played this coming Saturday has been postponed indefinitely.

So the Kilmacabea Junior A Footballers who brought the Mick McCarthy Cup back to the parish for the third time ever are as follows:

Matthew O Neill, Darren Whooley, Niall Hayes, Sam O Driscoll, Donnacha McCarthy, Ruairi Hourihane, Clive Sweetnam, Daniel O Donovan, Martin Collins, Joseph Collins (captain), Ian Jennings, Colin McCarthy, Diarmuid O Callaghan, Damien Gore, Richie O Sullivan, Karl McCarthy, Donie O Donovan, Mark Jennings, Declan O Sullivan, Liam Thompson, Dara Tobin, Ciaran O Donovan, Peadar O Leary, Eoin O Sullivan, Thomas Jennings, David Collins, Ger O Donovan, Niall McCarthy, Keith Whelton, Timmy Nyhan, Diarmuid O Donovan, Dan Lynch, Niall Bowkett, Myles Tobin

Scorers v Carbery Rangers: Damien Gore (0-8, 0-4 from frees), Richie O Sullivan (1-1), Colin McCarthy (0-2, 0-1 from a free), Ian Jennings, Clive Sweetnam, Diarmuid O Callaghan (0-2 each), Daniel O Donovan (0-1 from a free)

Man of the match: Ruairi Hourihane

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