O'Shea strikes late to break Macroom hearts
ST BRENDAN'S won the Corn Ui Mhuiri for the second time in three years and their 20th in all after surviving a dramatic and nail-biting finish in Knocknagree yesterday.
Sub Bryan O'Shea, nephew of former Kerry manager Pat O'Shea, kicked the winning score deep into stoppage time just when it seemed that De La Salle, Macroom had done enough to earn a second bite at the cherry.
A bitterly cold north Cork venue saw a stiff breeze play havoc with the match and the heavy underfoot surface saw plenty of passes go astray on both sides.
The Killarney school entered the game as slight favourites following their victory over reigning champions Colaiste Na Sceilge in the semi-final, although they were slow to take advantage of the breeze leading 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time with Macroom very much set up on the counter attack, and their midfield duo of Brendan Lynch and Tony Dineen holding their own.
St Brendan's relied on an aerial bombardment for much of the first half, moving 6ft 8ins midfielder Padraig Lucey in to full-forward with mixed success, as Paul O'Sullivan tipped a goal-bound shot from the Legion player over the crossbar in the 23rd minute.
A 35-yard effort from the outside of Tom Moriarty's right boot was the standout score of the opening half as St Brendan's led by two points.
The game came to life in the second half with Macroom getting their first goal two minutes upon the restart. The industrious Greg Barrett fed Daniel Toomey for the simplest of finishes, punishing a poor St Brendan's kickout.
The goal actually served as a wake- up call for the Killarney school as Brendan Falvey responded instantly. The Fossa player would go on to kick three more superb long-range efforts for his side.
The introduction of Cathal Vaughan re-ignited Macroom and after levelling the scores at 1-7 to 0-10 at the three-quarter mark, Andrew Hegarty then put Macroom ahead by a point with 10 minutes left.
St Brendan's struck back when Jeff O'Donoghue's fisted effort from a probing Falvey ball was adjudged to have crossed the goal line by the umpires, putting his side in front again by two points.
O'Shea's first point looked to have been the insurance score with four minutes left, but there was to be high drama as St Brendan's hit the post twice before Macroom broke down the pitch and Barrett fisted into the net what appeared to be the equaliser just on the stroke of full-time.
St Brendan's were not to be denied, however, as Cillian Fitzgerald found his Dr Crokes team-mate for the decisive score and ultimately the title.
It capped a great win by St Brendan's, who can thank the superb efforts from the likes of Shaun Keane, Colm Tobin and Enda O'Sullivan for their place in the All-Ireland semi-finals.
SCORERS --St Brendans: J O'Donoghue 1-1, B Falvey 0-4, Bryan O'Shea, Shaun Keane 0-2 each, P Lucey, Tom Moriarty, G O'Leary (0-1f) 0-1 each. De La Salle, Macroom: G Barrett 1-2 (0-2f) D Twomey 1-0, T Dineen 0-2,(0- 2f), D Ambrose, S Down, C Vaughan, A Hegarty 0-1 each.
ST BRENDAN'S COLLEGE -- D Glesson, E O'Sullivan, S McCarthy, C Davies, D O'Leary, C Tobin, C Fitzgerald, P Lucey, Gary O'Leary, C Horan, B Falvey, C O'Leary, T Moriarty, S Keane and J O'Donoghue. Sub: B O'Shea for Horan.
DE LA SALLE MACROOM- P O'Sullivan, J O'Connor, K Barrett, K Manning, D O'Riordan, J Kelliher, C McCarthy, B Lynch, T Dineen, S Down, A Hegarty, D Twomey, G Barrett, C Ryan, D Ambrose. Subs: C Vaughan for Ryan, L Kelliher for Twomey.
REF -- M Condon (Waterford)