Dromtarriffe 2-9 Kilmacabea 2-8
UNFANCIED Dromtarriffe showed remarkable levels of courage, self-belief and a never-say-die-attitude to win a dramatic county junior football championship title at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.
They trailed by five points approaching the final quarter as highly regarded Kilmacabea looked the part of strong favourites and appeared to be on their way to an historic breakthrough.
But, Dromtarriffe displayed all the characteristics which makes Duhallow such a renowned football area to come from behind and snatch a famous victory.
A number of critical factors were central to their gutsy triumph. The 43rd minute introduction of substitute Darren O’Connor paid an immediate dividend with the crucial first goal within a minute of his arrival.
The move, which brought experienced captain Seamus O’Sullivan from midfield to the edge of the square, was also highly influential and between them, the pair broke the west Cork club’s hearts.
Trailing by 2-6 to 0-7 and not having scored in the second-half, Dromtarriffe gave themselves a lifeline when Adam Buckley and O’Sullivan were involved in the move, which led to O’Connor tucking away a fine goal with a clever finish to the corner of the net.
Now it was game on again big time and while Kilmacabea enjoyed a lot of the ball, their poor use of the leather left them down at important stages.
This was particularly evident with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, when they coughed up possession cheaply in the middle of the pitch, allowing Conor O’Callaghan reduce the lead to the minimum.
Yet, Kilmacabea looked to have steadied matters with a couple of quick-fire points from Damien Gore, the second from a 53rd minute free to leave a goal between the sides, 2-8 to 1-8.
Seconds later, though, one the loudest roars on a piercingly cold night greeted the equaliser as O’Connor punched home his side’s second goal after the outstanding O’Callaghan fed O’Sullivan before the super sub pounced again.
It was edge of the stuff from here to the end, which came in the fifth minute of injury-time.
The winning score came on the hour, when centre-back Jack Murphy spotted his chance to career up the middle before showing a cool head to plant the winning point.
Kilmacabea had chances to restore parity, shooting wildly wide on a couple of occasions and dropping another into the grateful arms of keeper Dan Mann.
He was also involved in another major talking point in first-half stoppage time by diving smartly to his left to divert a Daniel O’Donovan penalty around the post after Ian Jennings was fouled.
This deprived Kilmacabea a third goal in the period and in the overall scheme of things, Mann’s heroics had a big say in the destination of the tile.
He was beaten twice. The first came after eight minutes, when O’Donovan drilled a free which was deflected to the net by Jennings for Kilmacabea’s opening score.
The second goal arrived after 16 minutes. O’Donovan was involved again along with Donie O’Donovan and Richie O’Sullivan, whose initial effort was parried well by Mann only for Timmy Nyhan to pounce for the rebound.
And when Nyhan tacked on a point shortly after, Kilmacabea had established a 2-3 to 0-4 lead by the 20th minute, but Dromtarriffe are made of stern stuff.
Back they charged with three unanswered points from the boot of Daniel O’Keeffe, a beauty from play and two frees, which reduced the deficit to a manageable 2-4 to 0-7 at the break.
Within 15 seconds of the resumption, though, Gore stretched the advantage with Daniel O’Donovan kicking his second free in the 38th minute. Dromtarriffe, though, were only warming up.
Scorers for Dromtarriffe: D O’Connor 2-0, D O’Keeffe 0-5 (0-4 f), E Murphy, C O’Callaghan, J Murphy 0-1 each, S Collins 0-1f.
Scorers for Kilmacabea: D Gore 0-5 (0-1 f), T Nyhan 1-1, I Jennings 1-0, D O’Donovan 0-2f
DROMTARRIFFE: D Mann; C Mahony, C Cremin, S Howard; T Howard, J Murphy, B O’Keeffe; A Buckley, S O’Sullivan, captain; E Murphy, D O’Donoghue, M Healy; C O’Callaghan, S Collins, D O’Keeffe.
Subs: M O’Connor for Healy 20, J Buckley for T Howard, black card 30, D O’Connor for Collins 43, G Murphy for O’Sullivan 60+2.
KILMACABEA: M O’Neill; S O’Driscoll, N Hayes, captain, D Whooley; D McCarthy, C Sweetnam, D O’Donovan; Daniel O’Donovan, M Collins; J Collins, R O’Sullivan, D O’Callaghan; I Jennings, D Gore, T Nyhan.
Subs: D Lynch for O’Sullivan 46, G O’Donovan for Nyhan 47, L Thompson for J Collins 52, C O’Donovan for O’Driscoll 58.
Referee: P O’Leary (Kilmurry)