BANTRY BLUES football coach Ivan Kingston hailed his charges after they mounted a terrific late comeback which enabled them to secure the Premier 2 U16 county final after they defeated Inniscarra in Kilmichael recently.
The Blues trailed by three points after 55 minutes but finished strongly to emerge victorious on a full-time scoreline of 3-13 to 2-8. Ivan was thrilled with the resilience of his team.
“It was an unbelievable win. The team displayed great heart and courage in the closing stages to earn a great win. They showed great character and just how talented a team they really are. It was a great performance from the players.
Inniscarra had initially defeated Bantry by ten points in the opening round of this year’s championship. In the immediate wake of that chastening defeat, Ivan set his players a target, to up the intensity levels and to win the county title.
His players delivered on their target, a fact readily acknowledged by their jubilant coach.
“Inniscarra are a fine team. They gave us a good trimming earlier in the year. I set our players a challenge. We had all to work harder and come back stronger.
“The response from the players has been brilliant. They really put in the effort. They have played unbelievable football since then.
“They have not lost a game and to finish the season with a county title is a great achievement. They are great role models and ambassadors. They are a joy to work with. They have enjoyed good success all the way up. Hopefully, they will keep progressing.”
Bantry Blues finished the first half strongly as they registered 1-1 in the closing minutes of the opening half.
This reduced the deficit to four points at half-time. Ivan was pleased to finish the first half strongly, having not played to their full potential at times in the first half.
“We didn’t turn up at all in the opening quarter. We needed to settle things down at half-time. We finished the half strongly and we drove it on from there in the second half.”
Bantry possess a very talented team that augurs well for the Blues going forward. Darragh Kingston and Paddy Cronin in particular were key players in their second-half revival.
Darragh finished with 1-7, with 1-5 coming from play, following an inspired display. Ivan hailed the two players but credits the team for the overall win.
“Darragh and Paddy are great players. It is a team game, however. Everyone contributed hugely on the day. Their work-rate and talent was brilliant. When the chips were down, their spirit shone through.”