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Never-say-die Ballygiblin see off determined Dromtariffe

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Ballygiblin Captain, Fionn Herlihy receives Cork County Junior A Hurling Championship cup after Ballygiblin's victory over Dromtarriffe in the final Photo by Gerry Murphy

Ballygiblin Captain, Fionn Herlihy receives Cork County Junior A Hurling Championship cup after Ballygiblin's victory over Dromtarriffe in the final Photo by Gerry Murphy

Ballygiblin Captain, Fionn Herlihy receives Cork County Junior A Hurling Championship cup after Ballygiblin's victory over Dromtarriffe in the final Photo by Gerry Murphy

corkman

CO-OP SUPERSTORES COUNTY JAHC FINAL

Ballygiblin 2-18

Dromtarriffe 0-18

Their never-say-die attitude was unquestionably a key factor in Ballygiblin’s historic victory over Dromtarriffe in a remarkable Co-Op county junior ‘A’ hurling championship final at Páirc Uí Rinn last Saturday.

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For three-quarters of the game, the Avondhu kingpins struggled to stay afloat, and Dromtarriffe had every reason to feel they were finally ready to dispatch their spirited opponents after forging five points ahead, 0-15 to 0-10, in the 42nd minute.

What happened after that couldn’t have been anticipated, not least by the hitherto ulta-assured losers, who were visibly stunned by the level of intensity Ballygiblin brought to the table when it mattered most.

A goal from Seán O’Sullivan in the 42nd minute was the catalyst for a Ballygiblin resurgence that saw them hit the front, 1-14 to 0-16, for the first time, courtesy of a Michael Walsh point six minutes later.

Although off-balance when shooting, Walsh found the target from out near the right sideline – a score that amply illustrated how almost everything went right for Ballygiblin in the last quarter.

After Stephen Coyne quickly equalised for Dromtarriffe, they shipped another major body-blow when good work by Seán O’Sullivan created the opening for a stunning goal from Ballygiblin’s Mark Keane in the 54th minute.

Switched from centre-back in what seemed to be a last throw of the dice by Ballygiblin, Keane, having played a part in the lead-up to their first goal, certainly did the needful up front, unsettling the Dromtarriffe defence considerably on the run-in.

It was primarily a power-packed team effort, however, that allowed Ballygiblin to transform a five-point deficit into a six-point lead, which could have been greater but for the heroics of Dromtarriffe custodian Dermot Cremin, who prevented the winners for grabbing two more goals before the finish.

With that in mind, it’s fair to say Ballygiblin were full value for their victory, even if Dromtarriffe looked the better team for longer and contributed to their own demise by clocking up eight wides in the second-half.

Much quicker to settle, the Duhallow men eased into a three-point lead through Stephen Coyne, Seán Howard, from a free, and Tomas Howard before Darragh Flynn got Ballygiblin off the mark from a placed ball in the seventh minute.

With 18 minutes gone Dromtarriffe were four points up, 0-7 to 0-3, and they were three to the good before Darragh Flynn posted a late hat-trick, two from frees and one from a sideline, for Ballygiblin to make it 0-9 apiece at the interval.

There’s no disputing Dromtarriffe looked the more convincing side before the break, with ubiquitous corner-forward Conor O’Callaghan doing great work around the middle to give them an edge territorially.

While Mark Keane filled the role of unattended defender to good effect in the Ballygiblin rearguard, Brandon Murphy and Stephen Coyne had their moments in a depleted Dromtarrife attack, with midfielder Sean Howard and centre-back Jack Murphy others to impact most significantly in the first-half.

For Ballygiblin, Dean Barry and Seán O’Sullivan showed definite promise with limited possession in their inside line of attack, but a return of just three points from play shared by Barry (2) and Michael Walsh did little to suggest they possessed the fire-power required up front to get the job done in the second-half.

That a couple of Darragh Flynn’s converted frees resulted from marginal calls against Dromtarriffe for hand-passing tended to support the view Ballygiblin were a tad flattered to finish the first-half on level terms.

Whether or which, it didn’t take Dromtarriffe long to regain the initiative on the resumption.

After Jerry O’Sullivan and substitute Evan Murphy both chipped in with a point from play, they went 0-12 to 0-9 ahead, and Murphy’s introduction appeared to give their attack additional impetus.

With O’Sullivan, subdued in the first-half, upping his performance at wing-forward to post his second point following another powerful run and make it 0-13 to 0-10 in the 41st minute, Dromtarriffe’s hopes of claiming a first county junior title took on an even rosier hue.

Shortly before that, Ballygiblin’s otherwise flawless free-taker Darragh Flynn had been off-target from a very scoreable placed ball, fuelling the notion that the contest was about to swing irrevocably in Dromtarriffe’s favour.

The picture certainly looked bleak for Ballygiblin after Seán Howard, fed by full-back Michael O’Brien, stretched Dromtarriffe’s advantage to five points, but then came the goal from Seán O’Sullivan, who pounced the score after Dillon Sheehan had initially brought the best out of the losers ‘keeper Dermot Cremin.

That prompted Ballygiblin to renew their bid for glory, and, in truth, they became a transformed side after a 47th minute point from Dromtariffe’s Stephen Coyne had briefly threatened to nip their recovery in the bud.

They proceeded to perform impressively in all sectors, with Mark Keane, Michael Walsh, Dillon Sheehan and Seán O’Sullivan up front, Darragh Flynn at midfield, and Ryan Donegan, Brian O’Gorman and Fionn Herlihy at the back making especially generous contributions.

It was enough to pave the way for their first county junior ‘A’ success – an achievement that probably tasted all the sweeter because it didn’t look on the cards for much of a contest in which the quality of the hurling left little to be desired.

BALLYGIBLIN: C Noonan; F Herlihy, B O’Gorman, C O’Brien; M Lewis, M Keane 1-0, B Coffey; R Donegan, D Flynn 0-10 (7f, 1’65, 1sideline) ; M Walsh 0-3, J O’Sullivan, D Sheehan; K Duggan 0-1, S O’Sullivan 1-0, D Barry 0-3 Subs: J Mullins for O’Brien, 18, A Donegan for Barry 54, C O’Sullivan 0-1 for Walsh, 60.

DROMTARIFFE: D Cremin; D O’Connor, M O’Brien, R Daly; M O’Gorman, J Murphy, C Cremin; S Howard 0-9 (6f, 1’65), K Cremin; J O’Sullivan 0-2, T Howard 0-1, S Coyne 0-4; C O’Callaghan, D O’Keeffe, B Murphy 0-1 Sub: E Murphy 0-1 for O’Keeffe, ht

REFEREE: N O’Neill (Midleton)

MAIN MAIN

In view of his impact when switched from defence to attack for the last quarter, Mark Keane has to go down as the chief architect of Ballygiblin’s triumph.

KEY MOMENT

Five points behind, Ballygiblin looked ready to be be counted out until Sean O’Sullivan bagged a revitalising goal in the 46th minute which transformed the team.

TALKING POINT

Victory enabled Ballygiblin to become the first Avondhu standard-bearers to lift the county junior title since Kildorrery went all the way in 2012.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Ballygiblin will embark on their maiden voyage in the Munster club championship against Caherline of Limerick on December 11/12.


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