Lisgoold remember 2020 for the right reasons after making hurling history

East Cork side landed the junior title for the first time
Lisgoold remember 2020 for the right reasons after making hurling history

For the first time in their history Lisgoold were the 2020 East Cork Junior A Hurling champions

HISTORY was made on September 13, 2020 when Lisgoold won their first East Cork Oil JAHC, taking the precious Jamesey Kelleher Cup home to the parish for momentous celebrations for a club, that had come so close on many occasions, and at last had climbed the mountain of East Cork hurling.

With the success stories in East Cork hurling, with the likes of Russell Rovers, Carrigtwohill, Dungourney, and Fr O’Neill’s plus the dominance of the Imokilly side, it tells you a little about how tough a division East Cork is, and if you are going to win the Jamesey Kelleher Cup you have to be some side and, in 2020, Lisgoold were brilliant.

The Lisgoold club is an example to everyone with such a supportive community made up of families, volunteers, and people who are completely devoted to their club.

A fantastic pitch, clubhouse, a brilliant astro-turf enclosed training pitch, and a warm welcome is what you always find in Lisgoold and when the 2020 East Cork JAHC began, the thought of Lisgoold breaking their duck and bringing home the Jamesey Kelleher Cup would really have been the icing on the cake.

Donal O'Keefe presented the cup to John Cronin.
Donal O'Keefe presented the cup to John Cronin.

Lisgoold’s opening match in the championship was against Cobh and it could have gone either way.

At the start of the championship clubs like Lisgoold, Cobh, and Carraig Na bhFear would have been on the radar as contenders to win it outright, and as the East Cork Board had put clubs into three groups.

Lisgoold were drawn against Cobh and Sarsfields and the prospect of some really close games was anticipated.

Lisgoold came through their toughest test against Cobh by just three points on a winning scoreline of 0-24 to 3-12 and it was a game that had the Lisgoold hearts beating fast.

Next up in Carrignavar was the match against Sarsfields which saw a much-improved performance with the Lisgoold captain, John Cronin, putting in a series of top class championship performances and a certain young fella named Liam O’Shea catching the eye.

The likes of the Cashmans were excellent as usual and Sars were no match for this Lisgoold side which certainly had the bit between the teeth, ensuring a semi-final berth on a winning scoreline of 1-20 to 0-09 to finish with an impressive 14-point winning margin which sent out a message to everyone else in the championship.

Meanwhile, Carrig Na bhFear were looking impressive too with group wins over Fr O’Neill’s and Watergrasshill and in the third group, St Ita’s made it through to the last four and Cobh’s points margin got them back into the championship in the last semi-final qualifying spot.

Lisgoold defeated St Ita’s in the semi-final and Carrig na bhFear were too strong for Cobh and the scene was set for the two top sides to battle it out for Jamesey in Midleton on Sunday, September 13.

With a stunning performance from their captain Cronin, plus outstanding play from O’Shea and John Cashman, it meant that the Jamesey Kelleher Cup was only going one way.

It was Lisgoold’s second-half performance that really set up the historic victory with a barrage of points, plus top class defending that was the difference between the sides in the end.

The first half was even with both sides level on six occasions, with Brendan Murphy and Oisin Crowley on target for Carraig na bhFear and Mark Hegarty and O’Shea scoring for Lisgoold.

At the end of the first half, O’Shea put over his sixth score and Lisgoold led by the minimum at the short whistle and the game was impossible to call with nobody expecting what was to come in the third quarter as Lisgoold took off and left Carraig in their dust.

John Cashman came to life for Lisgoold, fetching balls at will out of the air, setting up chances and Lisgoold scored through O’Shea and Jack Ryan to put three points between the sides.

Crowley responded for Carraig, but Mark Hegarty, James O’Driscoll and John Cashman pointed for Lisgoold who led by four points on the 45th minute.

At the start of the fourth quarter Crowley was again on target for Carraig, but Lisgoold responded with three more unanswered points from O’Shea and even though John Forde pointed for Carraig on the 55th minute, it was to be their last score as Hegarty sent over another point from play for Lisgoold to leave the game over and the six-point margin was no more than Lisgoold deserved.

A word of note for Lisgoold goalkeeper Ciaran Cronin who made some fine saves at key moments in the game which could have seen a change in the outcome

From the throw-in, Cronin was pitch-perfect as he had been throughout the whole championship.

Lisgoold, in an uncertain year, would go forward to the County Championship to meet Dromtarrife with hopes of emulating the likes of Castlemartyr, Russell Rovers, and Dungourney in securing a county title.

Another impressive Lisgoold feature on the day was the renting of some properties next to the pitch in Midleton that had Lisgoold fans cheering all the way to victory, plus a Lisgoold man Donal O’Keeffe presenting the cup.

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