Senior football beckons for Knocknagree after Kanturk seen off in PIFC final 

Duhallow derby was decided across a thrilling last 10 minutes
Senior football beckons for Knocknagree after Kanturk seen off in PIFC final 

Knocknagree players and mentors celebrate after defeating Kanturk in the Bon Secours Cork PIFC 2020 final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Knocknagree 0-12 Kanturk 0-9

KNOCKNAGREE lifted the Bon Secours 2020 Premier IFC title as they defeated Kanturk 0-12 to 0-9 in the final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Kanturk were ahead by one point with eight minutes remaining but substitute Brian O’Sullivan’s black card proved costly as Knocknagree rallied and, led by Fintan O’Connor, they scored four unanswered points to secure the silverware and senior A football for next season.

Kanturk and Knocknagree were contesting the showpiece occasion of this competition close to 10 months after their respective victories against Cill na Martra and Newmarket in the semi-finals.

Kanturk were the first side to get on the scoreboard as Ian Walsh calmly sent his free-kick between posts at the City end after four minutes, but Knocknagree got the first score from play thanks to a superb strike from Eoghan McSweeney.

The green and whites were soon dealt a blow as right half-forward Ryan Walsh was forced off with an injury with Daniel O’Connell coming on in his place.

They would have a man advantage by the 12th minute though as Knocknagree’s right corner-back Daniel O’Mahony was shown a black card and was subsequently sin-binned for bringing down Aidan Walsh as he charged towards the goal.

Ian Walsh fired over the free from close range and Kanturk soon upped the tempo as they looked to make the most of the extra space afforded to them with playing against 14 men.

Daniel O’Connell cleverly took a mark following a great catch before expertly curling the ball over the black spot just shy of 15 minutes, but Kanturk would soon squander a glorious opportunity to grab the first goal of the evening.

O’Connell charged forward and unselfishly hand-passed to the better-placed Walsh, but, after shifting the ball onto his left foot, his shot was bravely closed down by goalkeeper Patrick Doyle.

The white and blues responded well to that let-off and they reduced the deficit to the minimum moments before the first water break with the excellent Fintan O’Connor doing the honours to make it 0-3 to 0-2.

The break served Kanturk well and two quick scores from Liam O’Keefe and a brilliant 45 from a tough position by Kyrle Holland had them in complete control of proceedings with the biggest lead of the first half, 0-5 to 0-2.

They were almost gifted a goal in the direct lead up to that 45 but Knocknagree’s Gearoid Looney was hugely fortunate and hugely relieved to see his overhit pass back to his keeper crash against the outside of his near post.

That let-off proved to be decisive as Knocknagree, boosted by the return of Daniel O’Mahony from his sin bin, would score three without reply thanks to Eoghan McSweeney and a couple of sensational overs from Fintan O’Connor — one from play and one free — to level the terms again.

Ian Walsh’s converted free ensured Kanturk led by a point at the interval but the sides continued to swap scores at the beginning of the second period to ensure they were still level by the next water break, 0-8 apiece.

Another fine free by Walsh edged Kanturk in front but with eight minutes remaining they were dealt a blow as substitute Brian O’Sullivan was shown a black card and sent to the sideline.

From there he watched his opponents score four times without reply, including two great solo efforts from Gearoid Looney and Danny Cooper to secure the glory for Knocknagree.

 Joy for Knocknagree. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Joy for Knocknagree. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Kanturk: I Walsh 0-5 (0-4 f), P Walsh, L O’Keefe 0-1 each, K Holland 0-1 45, D O’Connell 0-1 f.

KNOCKNAGREE: P Doyle; D O’Mahony, M Doyle, G O’Connor; D Cooper, K Buckley, M Mahoney; D Moynihan, P Collins; J Dennehy, G Looney, E McSweeney; M Dilworth, J Daly, F O’Connor.

Subs: Denis O’Connor for E McSweeney (48), David O’Connor for D Moynihan (49), A Sheehan for P Collins (52).

KANTURK: J Fullerton; J McLoughlin, D Browne, L Cashman; L O’Neill, Aidan Walsh, J McLoughlin; J Fitzpatrick, P Walsh; R Walsh, M Healy, L O’Keefe; K Holland, I Walsh, C Clernon.

Subs: D O’Connell for R Walsh (10), Alan Walsh for C Clernon (37), B O’Sullivan for K Holland (48), E O’Connor for J Fitzpatrick (53), J Browne for A Walsh (63).

Referee: David Murnane (Macroom).

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