Russell Rovers 2-11 Bride Rovers 1-11
Our hurlers had a narrow but well-deserved victory over Bride Rovers to claim the title in the East Cork Junior C Hurling championship final played in sun-drenched Dungourney on Saturday evening last.
After conceding the opening score in the third minute, Kevin Moynihan levelled matters with a free from 45 metres a minute later. Our lads got a massive boost shortly after when midfielder Brian Crowley struck a speculative shot towards the Bride Rovers goal from 50 metres out. As the ball dropped, the keeper fumbled the catch and the in-rushing Daire Healy was on hand to force it over the line for a goal and a lead we were not to lose for the rest of the game. The men from the Bride pegged one back in the sixth minute but this was cancelled out by a pointed free from Moynihan almost immediately and was added to when good work from Healy in the right corner led to a pass to Colman Quinlan who slotted over our third point. Good defending from Bride Rovers prevented any further scores over the next five minutes even though our side had most of the possession, being driven from the half-back trio of James Ahern at centre and flankers Ricky Walsh and veteran Seamus Kearney, both of whom had excellent games. Then, in the 16th minute a good strike from Moynihan into the Bride square was met by full-forward Brendan Kearney who buried the ball for our second goal. Bride Rovers were by no means out of it though. A pointed free in the 19th minute was followed by one from play in the 20th and a minute later a fortuitous goal as Chris Scanlon came off his line to bat away a shot which was blocked down and flicked to the net. Another pointed free had the margin down to the bare minimum in the 22nd minute before we regained our composure with a converted 65 from Moynihan two minutes later. He was to follow with points from a free in the 28th and another 65 in the 29th. A fine effort from the half way line capped a man-of the-match performance by James Ahern on the stroke of half time which put us five points ahead (2-7 to 1-5) at the short whistle.
Bride Rovers started the second half well with a point from play in the 31st minute and followed up with two pointed frees as our forwards lost their composure and struck some careless wides or, in a few cases, struck short. Keeper Chris Scanlon made some good saves in the second half but the full-back line came into their own especially in the third quarter as full-back Shane Casey played a Captain’s role with relieving clearances and corner-backs Aidan Beausang and David Whelehan repulsed numerous Bride Rovers raids. The hard-working partnership of Chris Ruddy and Brian Crowley got back in control of midfield as the game entered its final quarter. Moynihan steadied our nerves with a converted free in the 12th minute and another from play two minutes later to put four points between the sides but Bride Rovers had it back to two with five minutes to go. Two more frees from Moynihan settled the matter and our boys emerged worthy winners in a hard fought contest which was well refereed by James Hennessy, Dungourney.
This was a great result for the management team of player-coach Donal Fitzgerald and fellow selectors Redmond Walsh and Dick Fitzgerald. The latter, in his role as East Cork Board Chairman, had the honour of presenting the Michael Foley Memorial Cup to the winning captain, Shane Casey. This was very much a team victory with all members of the squad putting in a great effort on the training ground in recent weeks and every one of them getting game time over the course of a campaign in which they beat Lisgoold after a replay and then Castlemartyr in the semi-final. It is the first and hopefully not the only silverware for Russell Rovers this season. Well done to all concerned.
Our thanks to James Hennessy and his match officials as well as to the Dungourney club for having the pitch in such top class condition and providing excellent parking arrangements for the fine crowd of supporters from both sides who attended.
Team: Chris Scanlon; Aidan Beausang, Shane Casey (Captain), David Whelehan; Ricky Walsh, James Ahern, Seamus Kearney; Brian Crowley, Chris Ruddy; Kevin Moynihan, Tadhg Crowley, Colman Quinlan; Daire Healy, Brendan Kearney, Alan Cott.
Substitutes: Jack Beausang (for Alan Cott 40th minute), Joseph O’Flynn (for Tadhg Crowley 45th minute), James Moynihan, Philip Whyte, Donal Fitzgerald.
Other panellists during the year: Michael Furlong, Kieran Ivers and James Walsh.
Our next round in the Junior B football championship is unlikely to be played before the week-end of 11th Oct. Please check locally for updates.