Mass brawl sullies Causeway double
CAUSEWAY COMP 2-9; BEARA CS 1-11 HISTORY was made by Causeway yesterday but their delight was marred by ugly scenes at the conclusion of this Munster Vocational Schools SFC A final in Killarney.
They snatched the title from the jaws of defeat with a sensational late goal to complete a unique Munster VS senior hurling and football double, but the game finished in a blaze of controversy as fighting, involving players and spectators, broke out on the pitch.
Following Michael Bowler's goal four minutes into injury time, which saw Causeway take the lead, a scuffle broke out and it quickly developed into an all-in brawl.
The first half saw Causeway surge into an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead with points from Brendan Lawlor, Jersey Houlihan and Michael Conway. As Causeway wasted a couple of goal chances and shot five first half wides, Cork side Beara closed the gap to a single point thanks to points from Concubhair Harrington.
However, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Causeway were given a boost when John McCarthy converted a penalty kick to put his side 1-4 to 0-3 ahead.
Beara, inspired by the brilliance of Eamon O'Sullivan, clawed their way back into the game and were on level terms, 1-6 to 0-9, with ten minutes to go.
Beara finished the stronger and when Marcus McNally's point was followed by a Harrington goal and Brendan O'Regan point, Causeway were 1-11 to 1-6 behind and staring defeat in the face.
Then the major talking points unfolded as Causeway battled back with two points from Houlihan to narrow the gap to two points with three minutes of stoppage time played.
Causeway managed one final assault on the Beara goal with Bowler sending a dipping lob to the net to put his side a point in front.
Then the fracas erupted, first involving some of the players and then third parties from both sides became embroiled as the fighting lasted a couple of minutes.
SCORERS Causeway CS: J Houlihan 0-6, M Bowler, J McCarthy 1-0 each, M Conway, B O'Grady, B Lawlor 0-1 each. Beara CS: C Harrington 1-4, E O'Sullivan 0-5, M McNally, B O'Regan 0-1 each.
CAUSEWAY CS D Fitzpatrick; J Fitzgerald, E Fitzgerald, F Carroll; D Bowler, D Young, B Lawlor; J McCarthy, R Costello; B O'Grady, A Boyle, S Goggin; J Houlihan, M Conway, M Bowler. Sub: B Harris for J McCarthy.
BEARA CS S Daly; S Hanley, D Carey, M Crowley; PJ Connolly, P Sullivan, M O'Sullivan; G Lowney, D Nolan; G O'Shea, E O'Sullivan, B O'Regan; M McNally, K O'Sullivan, C Harrington. Sub: C O'Sullivan for M Crowley.
REF S McSweeney (Tipperary).