Sunday, December 16, 2007

Novice County Final, Post Match Reaction

While Cromane supporters, players and management team bask in the glory of a County Novice Championship title, they can thank the leadership qualities of the their inspirational captain Donnchadh Walsh for this win, though Sean O’Sullivan was the player who killed off Ballydonoghue with those late missiles from long range.

Walsh is aware of what this win means to Cromane a club only founded in 1983.

“The conditions made it extremely tough today and that made it difficult for us to play the football that we wanted to play, which was long into the forwards but we were not able to do that from the start because we were against the wind.
“You have to have two game plans, one against the wind and one for when you play with it. But I thought that this win came down to work rate, because when I won the toss we opted to play against the wind.
“We knew that if we worked hard during the first half, and we were going in only one point down at half time, we knew we were in with a great shout. We took it on in the second half and despite there being a lot of work, because Ballydonoghue came at us, so we had to grind out the result and we did.”

What pressure does finals like these bring upon club players?

“There is pressure not only from your own team where you have to be seen as being a leader because being from a small club, they aspire to myself and Sean and they want to be like us and do whatever we do. When Sean goes on a surging run, it really lifts the team just like when he got that great point today that leveled the game. The other players take heart when they see the top players playing well so it does bring on pressure but it’s nice pressure.
“It means so much to win with the lads you grew up with and went to school with. The club was formed the year before I was born so this is a young club and I am as old as this club which is unusual and its makes it so sweet. We had awful problems trying to get a field and to get the club running because not everyone was happy with our birth so it’s a payback to our parents and club management down the years who put in so much work to enable us to play in a county final and to win it is just so pleasing.”

Meanwhile, Ballydonoghue manager Tadhg Carr had few complaints but felt that his young side did not do enough in the opening half.

“We did not have enough on the board at half time because we found it hard to adopt to the conditions, when we played with the wind in that opening half. We did not take our scores in the opening half, and we missed a few frees that were very scorable and that proved the difference between victory and defeat.
“Seán O’Sullivan stepped up to the plate in the second half and kicked those vital late frees for Cromane when we had edged in front late on. This was the difference at the end when you have a county player that will stand up to the plate.
“Fair play to the county lads like Seán and Donnchadh Walsh, whom I thought was head and shoulders above everyone else. They are still doing it at the end of the year in those conditions for their clubs, despite having All-Ireland medals in their pockets. It just tells you what players they are and what Kerry football is about at the minute and what the club means to them. I think that game today shows how healthy club football is and maybe we should not believe all we read.
“I never doubted our lads and we were without Paul Kennelly today, who has scored 6 -78 for us all season, and with Eamon Walsh only coming on as a sub, we were always going to a bit shy up front but with so many youngsters in the squad, we are building for the future and we wish Cromane well but we will be back.”

- from The Kerryman

Sunday, December 9, 2007

County League Rd.11

St.Pats 2-06 Cromane 1-03

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Novice County Final

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)