Friday 15 December 2017

Rebel starlet O'Sullivan calls shots to secure glory for Clonakilty

Clonakilty CC 0-11
St Malachy's 0-8
ALL-IRELAND VC SCHOOLS SFC FINAL

Clonakilty coach Val Lynch predicted a bright future for the team's captain, Rory O'Sullivan, after the Cork U-21 player's action-packed midfield performance helped the Munster champions claim glory and dash St Malachy's three-in-a-row dreams.

"He has great heart," said Lynch. "He was injured in the second half but he kept pushing forward and pushing the Castlewellan players back. He's a very good footballer and we'll be looking at him for years to come with Cork winning more All-Irelands hopefully."

O'Sullivan scored three points in the opening 10 minutes to send Clonakilty on their way and continued to dominate at midfield as the Cork side led by 0-6 to 0-3 at half-time, Conor Doyle and Nathan Smyth amongst the scorers for St Malachy's.

The excellent Colin Smith stretched that advantage to seven soon after the resumption but with the wind at their backs and O'Sullivan's influence waning briefly due to an injury suffered late in the first half, St Malachy's roared back into proceedings.

Fightback

Darragh O'Hanlon, one of three players involved in the previous two successes for the Castlewellan school, started the fightback with two wonderful points, and, with Martin Devlin adding three of his own, the sides were level.

With Clonakilty kicking 10 wides and forcing Malachy's goalie, Christopher Turley, into four one-on-one saves, it looked like the more clinical Ulster champions would prevail.

A brilliantly struck '45' by centre-back Thomas Clancy seemed to galvanise the Cork side and they finished with three points in the last five minutes to seal the issue.

Smith started the flurry with a wonderful kick into the wind from 42 metres. James Davis ran onto another pass from O'Sullivan to add the second via Turley's fingertips and 16-year-old Cillian Cullinane kept his cool to slot his second free to cue some riotous celebrations.

"We lost a few chances in the first half and in the second we were against the wind so we told the lads to put pressure on them and they won't be able to score," said Lynch. "And that's what happened.

"The important score was Thomas Clancy's. That lifted us and after that we got on top again."

Scorers -- Clonakilty CC: R O'Sullivan 0-3, C Cullinane (0-2f), C Smith, 0-2 each, C Ryan, T Clancy (0-1 '45), J Davis, B O'Mahony 0-1 each. St Malachy's: D O'Hanlon, M Devlin 0-3 each, C Doyle, N Smyth 0-1 each.

Clonakilty CC -- C O'Callaghan; C Ryan, JM O'Callaghan, K Cormican; J Ryan, T Clancy, J Davis; R O'Sullivan, S Sheehy; G Barry, B O'Mahony, G Boohig; J Leahy, C Smith, C Cullinane. Subs: G O'Brien for Leahy (38), J Hayes for Boohig (46).

St Malachy's -- C Turley; A Dornan, C McCusker, M Grant; S O'Hanlon, C McLean, C Cunningham; C Maginn, R Laughlin; C Doyle, D O'Hanlon, N Smyth; O McLean, P McKenney, M Devlin. Subs: S Tierney for Doyle (50).

Ref -- E Kinsella (Laois).

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