ONE of the many intriguing sub-plots in the Éire Óg versus Mallow Bon Secours Senior A Football Championship final, which is now on hold after the GAA suspended club activity, is the battle between the sharpshooters.
In one corner there’s the leading scorer in the championship, the ageless Daniel Goulding, who has posted 2-33 from five outings and is one of the reasons why Éire Óg are in the final.
In the other is another experienced campaigner, Mallow’s Cian O’Riordan, who missed the opening game defeat to
Kiskeam, but returned to claim an equally impressive 2-19 from four appearances.
The pair have been central to their clubs’ drives to a final, which has on offer the appealing prospect of premier senior championship in 2021.
This would be new territory for the Ovens club, who were the premier intermediate champions last season and are through to another final within 12 months which is some achievement.
Mallow preceded them as the 2017 champions and spent a couple of years at senior before dropping to the new senior A this season.
They, too, are in the final on merit and what’s even more fascinating about this joust is that they met in the second game in qualifying from a group containing Kiskeam and Bantry Blues.
It was a must-win game for Mallow, who duly delivered a 0-14 to 0-7 victory to get their campaign up and running.
O’Riordan underlined his importance to the cause with a game-high 0-4 contribution and has increased his scoring rate in subsequent games, including a couple of 1-5s and 0-5 in the semi-final win over Fermoy.
Éire Óg faced severe pressure going into their final group game against Kiskeam, knowing defeat would be the end of the road, but Goulding inspired the side with 2-7, all bar one point coming from play.
It was true leadership from the captain, who carried that form into the more recent wins over St Michael’s and O’Donovan Rossa in the knockout phase of the championship.
Goulding tallied 0-14 in the pair, 10 of his points coming from play to further illustrate his potency in general play as well as his acknowledge brilliance from placed balls.
Three O’Donovan Rossa players made the cut, Donal Óg Hodnett and Kevin Davis contributing 3-8 and 1-14 with Hodnett’s scores all coming from play. Dylan Hourihan totalled 1-12.
Injury restricted Davis’s obvious influence on a side that was well fancied to go all the way only for Éire Óg to put a stop to their gallop in Clonakilty at the weekend.
It’s not much consolation but Steven Sherlock from St Finbarr’s is the clear leader in the Premier Senior Football scoring stakes. The ace finisher has 3-37 to his name following his 1-9 in last Sunday’s penalty shootout defeat by Castlehaven in the semi-final.
Sherlock has a nine-point lead over second-placed Luke Connolly, who was at the top of the leaderboard going into the semi-finals only to be overtaken by the Barrs marksman.
Mark Collins, the Castlehaven captain, is their leading scorer going into the delayed final. He occupies sixth with 2-15, which doesn’t include his pair of penalties in the shootout.
1. Steven Sherlock (St Finbarr’s) 3-37 (0-17 f, 0-1 mark)
2. Luke Connolly (Nemo Rangers) 5-22 (0-14 f, 1-0 pen, 0-2 mark)
3. Cian Dorgan (Ballincollig) 1-23 (0-15 f, 0-2 45)
4. Dara Ó Sé (Clonakilty) 1-20 (0-11 f)
5. Fiachra Lynch (Valley Rovers) 0-22 (0-12 f, 0-3 45)
6. Mark Collins (Castlehaven) 2-15 (0-13 f)
7. Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers) 2-12 (0-4 f); Cillian Myers-Murray (St Finbarr’s) 1-15
9. Brian Hurley (Castlehaven) 0-17.
1. Daniel Goulding (Éire Óg) 2-33 (0-13 f, 0-1 45, 0-1 sideline)
2. Cian O’Riordan (Mallow) 2-19 (0-7 f, 0-1 sideline)
3. Mark Sugrue (Bandon) 1-19 (0-11 f, 0-1 45)
4. Arthur Coakley (Bantry Blues) 1-16 (0-5 f)
5. Donal Óg Hodnett (O’Donovan Rossa) 3-8; Kevin Davis (O’Donovan Rossa) 1-14 (0-5 f, 0-1 mark); Diarmuid MacThomais (Ballingeary) 0-17 (0-2 f)
8. Ruairí Deane (Bantry Blues) 2-10 (0-7 f); Ruairi O’Hagan (Fermoy) 0-16 (0-8 f, 0-1 mark); Mark Buckley (Dohenys) 1-13 (0-8 f)
11. Dylan Hourihane (O’Donovan Rossa) 1-12(0-6 f).