East Cork Junior A Football Championship Semi Final
Carraig na bhFear 0-15 Fr O Neills 2-10.
Midleton, Sunday July 15.
The time read 27 minutes into the second half; three minutes left with four minutes injury time to
play. Carraig na bhFear were leading an unremarkable game so far, by five points, and were in
control. O Neills were hanging on by Carraig’s coat tails for the majority of the game, but one sensed
without a dramatic turnaround, this was heading for a Carraig na bhFear win and a first East Cork
Final appearance in ten years……and then it happened.
In a six minute spell, Fr O Neills pilfered 2 goals and a point to Carraigs solitary point and our dreams
were shattered. The look of shock and dumbfoundedness spoke volumes from the faces of the
Carraig team, mentors and supporters as the Referee blew for full time. Fr O Neills celebrated
giddily, unsure themselves how they did it but still delighted to be heading for a final. The slow
torturous walk into the dressing rooms for the Carraig players and management was reminiscent of
that fateful day for Limerick at Croke Park in ’94. This hurt.
The game was played to a sparse gathering at Pairc Mainistir na Corann and the lack of atmosphere
lead to a surreal quality at times. Both teams started tentatively, acclimatizing to the hard ground,
bare grass and wide expanses of a true hurling paddock. Tar eis do dheag noimead, do bhi na foirne
ar chomhscor, dha chuilin ar dha thaobh. Ach do thosaigh Carraig ag obair go dian dibhirceach I lar
na bpairce agus do thainig na scoranna de bharr sin. Paul Murphy, Laoch na hImeartha gan dabht, do
thiomain se ceithre chuilini thar an trasnan agus ni feidir na cosanteoiri O Neills e a stopadh. C Hill,
Brendan Murphy and M Hickey all added minors and at half time, Carraig were four up, eight points
The second half followed a similar pattern as the first. Fr O Neills kept probing for opennings but the
Carraig defence stood firm and were happy for their opponents to miss long range efforts. Carraig
moved P O Keeffe to midfield and he profited from being more involved in the game. O Keeffe
scored two classy points to move Carraig six ahead, eight minutes into the second half. O Neills were
reliant on a few frees to keep the gap manageable as Carraig looked to score at will when attacking.
C O Reilly added two more ( ceann amhain as imirt agus ceann eile as an dtalamh) and halfway
through the second half Carraig lead by six, fourtenn points to eight. The game started to fragment
at this stage, with a number of substitutions made and also there was a stoppage for an injury to
O’Reilly. But as the clock ticked on, Carraig looked relatively safe.
In hindsight, the period between the 16 th minute to the 30 th minute was where Carraig may have
regrets. A few simple chances went abegging and there was a general sloppiness to their play. The
game was petering out, or so we thought! O Neills had started to go looking for goals and they
gradually worked a situation in which their full forward got space to shoot. His effort took a
deflection and went away from the despairing hand of C Hayes and into the corner. Cue a certain
uneasiness in the Carraig ranks. Possession was not retained and within another two minutes, O
Neills scored a second goal, an easy overlapping run by their wing forward that was untracked and
he made no mistake.
However there was still time left for more twists. Carraig won the kick out, attacked with intent,
transferred the ball with pace to P Murphy who shot from forty yards out and split the posts. Level.
Would the referee blow it up? Fr O Neills won the kickout and inexplicably their leading forward
travelled thirty yards without pressure or a tackle laid. Lena chiatog, do fuair se cuilin gleoite agus do
bhi ar phort seinnte. There was no second chance to equalize and the game was gone from us.
Lessons to learn…..absolutely. This hurts on lots of levels, no more so the fact that this team have
showed a lot of resilience and courage so far this year. But, as Munster, Kilkenny, even the All Blacks
show, the job is to do it everyday you play. And within that is a lesson.
C Hayes, T Sheehan, S Casey, D Coleman, A Dorgan, T Geaney, M Aherne, M Hickey, S
Horgan, C Hill, P O’Keeffe, J Forde, P Murphy, C O’Reilly, B Murphy.
An Fir Ionaid: J Forde for O’Reilly, C Burns for Casey.