September Signs – Munster SFC final

The following article was published in the Irish Examiner following Kerry’s facile Munster GAA senior football championship final victory over Cork on Mon July 3rd 2017. – Enjoy, Ger McCarthy.




Midfield experience points Kerry to victory

Colm Cooper stated in Saturday’s Irish Examiner that ‘When Kerry hum, it’s because they have a key platform from the middle of the field to put the foot down and drive on’. How prophetic the former All-Ireland winner’s words proved to be.

David Moran issued an immediate statement of intent by winning the throw-in and setting up Kerry’s first score. True, Cork won their fair share of possession in the middle third, but over the hour, Moran and Anthony Maher underlined their importance to Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s setup with a commanding air display that tipped the balance in Kerry’s favour.

Add in Kieran Donaghy’s ability to drift out from the square and the Kingdom possesses three primary ball-winners capable of mixing it with Dublin or Tyrone later this year.



Cork, God help us

Another year and another route through the qualifiers beckon for the rebels. Erratic shooting, an unwillingness to push up on the Kerry kick outs allied with Cork’s failure to raise their game meant there was only ever going to be one result.

The gulf in class between a team challenging for the Sam Maguire and one still struggling to find its identity under their current management setup was never more apparent.

Defeat to Kerry was not unexpected but the lack of passion and intensity in Cork’s display meant this was one of Cork’s most underwhelming visits to Killarney for a Munster final.



Kerry’s ruthless efficiency

There were 41 minutes on the clock and sixteen points on the scoreboard before James O’Donoghue kicked Kerry’s first wide of the Munster final.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s side’s 79th provincial title was achieved without ever needing to move into top gear, an indictment of both their opponents’ failings and Kerry’s own ruthless efficiency. Tougher tests lay ahead yet the movement and accuracy of Kerry’s forwards suggests they are capable of unlocking the stingiest of defences.

No doubt, Fitzmaurice would have preferred a tougher test before heading to Croke Park but right now, Kerry are Dublin’s only serious challengers for this year’s All-Ireland.



A special day for West Cork football

By Ger McCarthy

Last weekend saw Cork City FC’s home ground of Turner’s Cross host a West Cork League Beamish Cup final for the very first time. Here, Ger McCarthy reflects on an important day for football in the West Cork region as well as the West Cork Schoolboys League’s continuing rise in popularity and a cracking U14 Cup decider at the same venue.


Irrespective of the result, last weekend’s SuperValu West Cork Schoolboys League U14 Cup decider and West Cork League Beamish Cup final showcased all that is good about football in the west Cork region.

The curtain-raiser between Ardfield and Skibbereen’s U14’s lived up to its pre-match billing with a terrific final involving thirteen Kennedy Cup squad members entertaining supporters over 70 engaging minutes.

Skibbereen’s clinical finishing proved the difference in the end, the Baltimore Road club securing a 3-1 victory plus U14 league and cup double, yet Ardfield showed why their young squad has a bright future ahead of them.


Drinagh dominated the second half of Sunday’s Beamish Cup final yet Bantry Bay Rovers proved more than match for their opponents for much of the opening half. An inability to convert the two half-chances that came their way ultimately cost an up and coming Bay team on a day Rangers underlined their status as one of the most powerful teams in the region.

A 4-0 victory was richly deserved for a Drinagh side accustomed to taking their opportunities in cup finals over the past decade. Keith Jagoe (below) and Robert O’Regan were outstanding in the centre of the pitch and ably assisted by a livewire attack in which Gearoid White, Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Gavin Beamish shone.


For their part and despite the loss, there is no doubt that Bay Rovers will bounce back. One or two seasons plying their trade in Division 1 will help a youthful Rovers squad find their feet once again before a quick return to the top tier of West Cork League football.

Bantry Bay Rovers could have little argument with the Beamish Cup final’s outcome though and will be disappointed at having conceded three of their four goals from set pieces. Clearly, Drinagh had their homework done and exploited a weakness in their opponents rearguard to maximum effect.


Whilst goalscorers Barry O’Driscoll (H), Barry O’Driscoll (T), JJ Hurley and Keith Jagoe will naturally attract plenty of newspaper headlines, it is Drinagh’s defensive division that anchored the second of possibly three cup successes in 2017 for the Canon Crowley Park outfit.

Stand-in goalkeeper Rob Oldham kept a clean sheet and proved a safe pair of hands throughout the cup decider in the absence of injured Liam Cahalane. Yet, it was JJ Hurley, Barry O’Driscoll (T), JJ Collins and Darren Beamish’s composed defending that prevented a young Bay Rovers attack from finding the net.

Keith Jagoe and Robert O’Regan’s ability to shield their back four ensured there would be no Bantry Bay comeback.

Rangers are often lauded for their ability to score from multiple areas of the pitch but an experienced defence was just as important in Drinagh’s 2017 Beamish Cup success.



Beamish Cup Final Teams

Drinagh Rangers: Robert Oldham, JJ Hurley, JJ Collins, Barry O’Driscoll (T), Darren Beamish, Robert O’Regan, Tomas Connolly, Gavin Beamish, Gearoid White, Barry O’Driscoll (H) and Keith Jagoe (captain).

Substitutes: Jamie Walsh, Shane Connolly, Adrian O’Driscoll, Stephen Crowley, Daniel McCarthy and Paraic White.

Bantry Bay Rovers: Donal Casey, Daniel Murray, Paul Drummey, Martin Hurley, Jamie McSweeney, David Daly, Brian Donovan (captain), Shane Drummey, Eoghan McElhinney, Gavin Johnson and Shane McSweeney.

Substitutes: Ciarán McElhinney, Shane Murray, Ricky Peters, Shaun O’Sullivan and Ross Leahy.

Referee: Paul McDermott. Assistant Referees: John Corcoran and Shane O’Neill. Fourth Official: Martin Coakley.


Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai claim Conroy Cup

This article appeared in a recent edition of the Evening Echo newspaper reviewing the inaugural West Cork Post Primary Schools Conroy Cup competition. Enjoy.

By Ger McCarthy


Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai claimed the inaugural West Cork Post Primary Schools Conroy Cup, a competition the organisers hope will grow in popularity in the coming years.

Cork City manager John Caulfield, the West Cork Branch of the ISRS, Irish Soccer Referees of Ireland, West Cork League, West Cork Schoolboys League, Gateway Radio and West Cork secondary school organisations came together to launch the Richard Conroy Memorial Perpetual Cup in Dunmanway recently.


The schools competition and trophy have been organised in an effort to commemorate Richard Conroy’s many years of dedicated work both on and off the pitch as a referee and West Cork League committee member.

Three schools; Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai, Skibbereen Community College and MICC Dunmanway took part in the first running of the tournament over the past number of weeks but such is the huge interest sparked in the inaugural competition that plans are already underway to expand the entry for next year’s Richard Conroy Cup as well as adding additional age groups.


Winning Colaiste Pobail Bantry and former Cork City youths coach Pat Curran along with fellow coach Donal McGrath are delighted to finally see a Post Primary Schools soccer competition established in West Cork.

“Schools soccer is certainly getting very strong in West Cork and will be of huge benefit to the sport come 2018 when soccer moves to summer time,” noted Pat Curran.

“There will also be a schools season in the winter and we look forward to seeing it rolled out to four different age groups next year. I firmly believe that schools soccer is a great platform for the players that take part in it.

“I rang Paul Bowden, my old colleague from Cork City FC, a few years back to tell him about a young man and former student called Connor Ellis who he should consider signing for Cork City Under 19’s and look how that has turned out.


“Also Conor McCarthy, who plays for Blarney, won the FAI schools player of the year on Sunday is also a Cork City player. Young players representing their various schools now know that it is possible to become a professional soccer player within their own county once they are willing to make the necessary sacrifices.

“In the last few years West Cork has been well represented at national schools level when you consider Dunmanway went to an All-Ireland final and Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai got to last year’s senior Munster decider.”

CPB Bantry hosted MICC Dunmanway in the Conroy Cup semi-finals where the only highlight of a disappointing first half was the hosts’ superb opening goal. Dunmanway failed to adequately clear a corner and James Hickey took full advantage, walloping in a first-time volley from 25 yards to make it 1-0.

The visitors fought back impressively and equalised courtesy of a Donnacha Collins effort early in the second period. CPB responded well and Luke Scully restored the Bantry schools’ advantage ahead of a frantic finale in which goal-clearances and the crossbar came to the home side’s rescue before the final whistle eventually shrilled. That 2-1 victory secured CPB Bantry’s place in the final against Skibbereen Community College.DSC_1865
A huge crowd was in attendance for the first ever Conroy Cup final in which Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai broke the deadlock before three minutes had elapsed. Ryan O’Sullivan connected with a Kuba Ratajczak cross to hand Bantry an early 1-0 lead. Skibbereen bossed the remainder of the opening half and it took a marvellous James Crowley save to deny Conor Hourihane a certain equaliser on the stroke of half time.

Kuba Ratajczak and Thomas Flynn’s midfield dominance helped tip the balance in CPB’s favour as the second half progressed culminating in man of the match Sergei Manez Alvarez collecting a Flynn through ball and making it 2-0.

Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai made sure of their victory when Alvarez netted his second although there was still time for Alex Minihane to score a consolation for Skibbereen just before the end.

The Bantry School ran out 3-1 winners and were presented with the Conroy perpetual cup by Richard’s son, Richard junior, after the final whistle. Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai will be back to defend the trophy next season when it is hoped an increased number of West Cork schools will take part.


Retro GAA – Beara v UCC

The following is a Cork SFC match report from the 2015 championship between the Beara Divisional side and University College Cork. The tie took place in Dunmanway and went to extra-time before Beara recorded a famous victory over a UCC side that contained plenty of Kerry inter-county talent – Ger McCarthy.

BEARA     1-20 UCC    1-16 (after extra time)

Beara enjoyed one of their finest evenings in the Divisions/Colleges section of the Cork county senior football championship by registering a rousing victory over UCC on Friday evening.


A sun-kissed Dunmanway venue played host to an encounter that required extra time to decide the outcome after Beara came from behind in both halves to book their place in the last sixteen of the championship.

‘This is an absolutely massive result for us and a huge lift for Beara football,’ said an elated Beara manager Finbarr Harrington.

‘Look, we were struggling for numbers for a long time but this win over a very good UCC team will give us a great lift. Our U21’s are out on Sunday against Valley Rovers and we can look forward, as a board, to that but tonight is just a fantastic night for Beara football.

‘Our ambition tonight was to make the last sixteen. We’ve done it, we made it hard (for ourselves) but we are absolutely delighted. Being in the last sixteen is brilliant for Beara and we will look forward to next round.’

A strong UCC panel began with ten Kerry natives plus one Waterford representative and leading at the break, the college were still a point ahead, 1-12 to 1-11, with time ticking down.

Beara’s brave fight back appeared in vain when Conchúr Harrington missed a close range free a minute from the end but the Urhan player converted a much more difficult effort in the dying embers to send the tie to extra time.

The eventual winners somehow found an extra gear in the first additional period with Kevin Jer O’Sullivan, Sean ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan (twice), Vincent Lehane efforts giving the West Cork division the edge only for Conor Gleeson and three Conor Cox points (two frees) to level the score 1-16 apiece at the second interval.

Once again Beara dug deep and rattled off four unanswered white flags courtesy of Conchúr Harrington, Andrew O’Sullivan, Liam Harrington and Ciarán McElhinney to move 1-20 to 1-16 in front.

The drama didn’t end there with UCC having loud appeals for a penalty waved away, Beara goalkeeper William O’Sullivan producing an excellent reflex save and Joe Harrington clearing another goal-bound effort off his line before the final whistle brought an end to an epic match.

Beara had heroes all over the pitch but none more so than the tireless Sean ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan who contributed three points. Andrew O’Sullivan, Conchúr Harington, Dave Fenton, Kevin Jer O’Sullivan and Gary Murphy’s performances were also pivotal to Beara’s victory.

UCC led 0-4 to 0-2 early on before Dave Fenton punched a lofted Sean ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan attempt into the net to push Beara in front. Conor Cox would finish the evening with nine points and the Kerryman’s accuracy helped UCC retake the lead ahead of a Kevin O’Sullivan goal to make it 1-7 to 1-5 after 28 minutes.

The College maintained a two-point lead into the second half where Beara’s inaccurate shooting threatened to undo all their diligent approach work. Another Conor Cox free and marvellous John Murphy effort looked to have won it for UCC until Conchúr Harrington’s two late frees forced extra time.

Beara were the better side in additional time and ran out deserving winners on a never to be forgotten evening for the Divisional side.


Beara: Conchur Harrington 0-7 (5 f), Dave Fenton 1-0, Kevin Jer O’Sullivan (1 f), Sean ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan 0-3 each, Andrew O’Sullivan (1 45’), Connor Lowney 0-2 each, Vincent Lehane, Liam Harrington and Ciarán McElhinney 0-1 each.

UCC: Conor Cox 0-9 (5 f), Kevin O’Sullivan 1-0, Adrian Spillane 0-3, Sean O’Donoghue, Michael Walsh, John Murphy and Conor Gleeson 0-1 each.

Beara: William O’Sullivan (Adrigole); David Torres (Castletownbere), Liam Harrington (Adrigole), Lorcan Harrington (Castletownbere); Trevor Collins (Castletownbere), Joe Harrington (Garnish), Eanna Murphy (Garnish); Andrew O’Sullivan (Castletownbere), Shane McCarthy (Castletownbere); Sean ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan (Garnish), Dave Fenton (Castletownbere), Conchúr Harrington (Urhan); Paul O’Neill (Garnish), Connor Lowney (Urhan), Gary Murphy (Castletownbere),

Subs: Kevin Jer O’Sullivan (Adrigole) for David Torres (ht), Vincent Lehane (Urhan) for Paul O’Neill (48), Barry Goggin (Adrigole) for Shane McCarthy (56), Martin McCarthy (Urhan) for Connor Lowney (60), Ciarán McElhinney (Glengariff) for Vincent Lehane (73).

UCC: D O’Shea (Ballydonoghue); J Maguire (Listowel Emmetts), D Culhane (Ballylongford), K Histon (Cobh); C Hyde (Naomh Abán), M Walsh (Knocknagoshel), T Clancy (Fermoy); G O’Sullivan (Listry), B O’Sullivan (Dingle); K O’Sullivan (Kenmare Shamrocks), A Spillane (Templenoe), S Keane (Killarney Legion); C Gleeson (The Nire), C Cox (Listowel Emmetts), S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra).

Subs: C Murphy (Rathmore) for J Maguire (41), K Shanahan (Ardfert) for S O’Donoghue (47), J Murphy (Macroom) for S Keane (47), S Kelleher (Aghinagh) for J Murphy (61, bc), S Keane for K O’Sullivan (et), M O’Connor (Sneem/Derrynane) for A Spillane (68, inj), J Maguire for T Clancy (70, bc), S O’Donoghue for M O’Connor (76).

Referee: Michael Collins (Clonakilty)

Sean ‘Terry’ O’Sullivan of Beara
The Garnish player was pivotal to Beara’s victory, scoring three points, intelligently linking defence with attack and producing a tireless performance on a memorable evening for his division.