Beston class as UCC upset the odds in 2011 county final win over Haven

Mitchelstown forward Shane Beston was a key figure for the College at centre-forward
Beston class as UCC upset the odds in 2011 county final win over Haven

Shane Beston, UCC, battles with Eamonn O'Connor, Avondhu, during the 2011 Cork County Senior Football Championship semi-final. Picture. Jim Coughlan.

UCC captured their 10th senior county football title nearly 10 years ago after they defeated Castlehaven by five points.

This county final success ensured they captured a unique double that season as they had captured the Sigerson Cup earlier that year. 1969 was the only previous time UCC had won the Sigerson Cup and senior county title in the same season.

UCC defeated Castlehaven on a final scoreline of 1-12 to 0-10 after they produced a big finale to enable them to secure the Andy Scannell Cup for the first time since 1999.

Their star-studded team was generally dominated by future Kerry stars but Mitchelstown ace Shane Beston was one of the key Cork players in their county final triumph. He blazed a trail since followed by the likes of Cathail O'Mahony and Mark Keane in delivering on the big stage.

“It was a huge year both from a UCC and a personal perspective. The success in the Sigerson Cup gave us great belief ahead of the club championship. It is great to have memories of that brilliant season. 

When you were younger you might have taken it for granted, but when I reflect back on it now I feel very proud. 

"It was great to play alongside such talented players and contribute to two titles that year,” he said.

Beston lined out at centre-forward in the College side that upset the odds against the Haven. 

The sides were level with five minutes remaining but UCC finished strongly as a late penalty from Daithí Casey and a brace of points from Gavan O’Grady propelled the college outfit to eventual success over the hot favourites Castlehaven. 

UCC's Daithí Casey slots the penalty past Castlehaven goalkeeper Paudie Hurley in 2011. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
UCC's Daithí Casey slots the penalty past Castlehaven goalkeeper Paudie Hurley in 2011. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“We were perhaps fortunate to win it, as we left it late. We were up against a very strong Castlehaven team. 

"Paul Geaney won the penalty and Daithí converted it. We had a very strong squad. We had lots of players who had played a lot of underage football with their various counties. 

"A lot of the players have subsequently gone on to enjoy very successful senior inter-county careers. Johnny Buckley, Peter Crowley, Steven O’Brien and Paul Geaney have won a lot of medals with the Kerry senior team, while Niall Daly is still a big player on the Roscommon team.” 

Beston, who himself enjoyed a successful career with the various Cork underage teams, admits that UCC nearly got caught that summer, but they gained momentum as the senior club campaign progressed.

We very nearly got beaten by St Nick’s. We only had 17 togged out on the night. Seven of the team who eventually started the county final were on J1s in America. 

"We then defeated Clonakilty and by the time we were back in college, we were motoring very well. Things seemed to go our way that year.” 

UCC were guided to senior county glory by St Finbarr’s club man Paul O’Keeffe, who was ably assisted by a very strong coaching team. Beston has great praise for the management team. 

“Paul was a class act. He is still involved. 

"We were fortunate to have Kevin Murray involved as a coach. He was very good and probably ahead of his time with his methods. 

"There was a great backroom team who all brought so much to the set-up. We had the late John Corcoran, Charlie McLaughlin and Dr Con all involved. 

"There was a great mix of personalities involved. All the players and coaches gelled very well.” 

UCC players celebrate their win over Castlehaven. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
UCC players celebrate their win over Castlehaven. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Beston and his Mitchelstown team-mates recently returned to full training after the recent easing of the restrictions. He is delighted to be back training once again. 

“It is great to be back. You can do all the training on your own, but it is not the same as getting out on the field with the rest of the panel. We have a few games lined up now in June and we are looking forward to getting back playing.” 

Mitchelstown are scheduled to play Rockchapel in the 2020 IAFC final this August. Shane is anticipating a tough game against the Duhallow outfit. 

“We will really have to focus our minds and hit the ground running straight away. Rockchapel are a very good team. We have played them a good bit in recent years and all the games have been very tight. 

"Following the county final, we will be out again in club championship action two weeks later. 

"Hopefully, we can enjoy a successful club season.”

The Mitchelstown footballers are managed by Martin O’Brien who will also serve as a selector with the Cork minor footballers this year. 

Beston, recently converted to a new position at centre-back, is full of praise for the progressive coach. 

Shane Beston, Mitchelstown, is chased by John Duggan, Courcey Rovers. Picture. Jim Coughlan.
Shane Beston, Mitchelstown, is chased by John Duggan, Courcey Rovers. Picture. Jim Coughlan.

“Martin came up with the idea of playing me at centre back. I am enjoying it. Martin is brilliant. He has completely transformed our club. We had a bad year before he arrived. 

"We were at a low ebb. He has refreshed the whole set-up. He has his own philosophy. He has been a breath of fresh air.” 

O’Brien in turn waxed lyrical on the impact Shane Beston has on Mitchelstown GAA. 

“His ability dictated the positional switch. I wanted him to have more influence on the game. 

"I have told everyone who will listen just how good he is. He has serious ability. He is driven and his attitude is infectious."

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