ON A memorable weekend for football, the achievement of Dromtarriffe in winning the county junior title almost became lost amid the euphoria of St Finbarr’s capturing the senior crown.
The small rural club in the north-west of the county had waited 64 years since their last junior success, but the 2018 version was something special because Dromtarriffe had to play three championship games in 11 days.
The sequence began on Tuesday, October 16 with a quarter-final win over St Michael’s by 2-11 to 2-5.
Five days later, the players were in action in the semi-final against Iveleary in what proved to be a very tight contest with Dromtarriffe squeezing through by 1-13 to 1-12.
That set-up a showdown with a fancied Kilmacabea side last Saturday night and amid high drama and excitement, the Duhallow club prevailed once more by a point, 2-9 to 2-8.
Victorious captain Seamus O’Sullivan, a veteran of the side at 35, played a major role, first at midfield and then at full-forward, where his presence helped substitute Darren O’Connor pounce for his two goals.
O’Sullivan is a former Cork U21 and junior player and a stalwart of a team filled with promising youngsters like Conor O’Callaghan and Jack Murphy who were with Cork U21 hurlers this year.
“There are no words to explain the feeling of what it’s like to win a county,” O’Sullivan declared at the final whistle.
“Everyone of the lads stood up, when it mattered. For example, Conor brought balls out from defence and then drove over an important point at the other end.”
Another crucial element in the victory was the first-half injury-time penalty save by keeper Dan Mann, who had already been beaten twice by Kilmacabea’s razor-sharp forwards.
“It had a big bearing on the result. It gave us all a huge lift. A third goal then might have been a bridge too far for us, but who knows.”
The skipper played down the significance of his move to the edge of the square at a time, when Dromtarriffe needed some punch in front of goal.
“We talk about it a lot and I suppose it paid off with the two goals. I managed to get hold of the ball for the first goal, but I’m not too sure how the second happened.
“Fair play to Darren for being in the right place at the right time to score both goals. It’s unbelievable really,” O’Sullivan commented.
The four goals in that final kick-started a veritable glut of goals by football standards with eight more following at Páirc Uí Chaoimh less than 24 hours later.
Cill na Martra and Aghabullogue managed three in the Gaeltacht club’s runaway victory in the intermediate final, but it was the five shared by the ‘Barr’s and Duhallow which caught the eye.
Sunday’s goal-fest was the highest in 35 years, when Nemo defeated Clonakilty by 4-12 to 2-3 in the 1983 edition.
Thirteen years before, Nemo were also involved in a goal-glut, seven in total, as Muskerry denied them by 3-10 to 4-6.
There were a number of other five-goal finals before Sunday. The 1971 version ended with Carbery overcoming UCC by 3-11 to 2-8 and the 1949 and 50 finals also produced five goals.
In 1950 Garda defied St Nick’s by 3-7 to 2-5, 12 months after Collins had thumped Macroom by 5-11 to 0-1.
The 1920 final was also one-sided with UCC powering past Cobh by 5-4 to 0-1 and Cobh were also on the receiving 10 years before, when Macroom overwhelmed them by 5-6 to 0-2.
But the most goals scored in any final and by one team is the remarkable 10 wracked up Collegians in dismantling Fermoy in 1916.
The ‘Barr’s-Duhallow encounter certainly bucked a trend because goals had become rare enough in finals, many of which drew blanks.
Meanwhile, Kerry have nominated James Costello to replace Peter Keane as county minor manager following Keane’s elevation to the senior post.
Costello has been involved with development squads, notably at U16 level in Kerry.