Mallow hit 4-14 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh to return to SAFC final

Re-match with St Michael's awaits after good victory over Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh
Mallow hit 4-14 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh to return to SAFC final

Mallow's Ryan Harkin is tackled by Matt Ó Ríordáin of Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh during their Bons Secours Hospital SAFC semi-final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: David Keane

Mallow 4-14 Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh 2-10

MALLOW will meet St Michael’starget="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> in the final of the Bons Secours Hospital Cork SAFC after their goal power saw them past Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday night.

Though they trailed by 1-2 to 0-1 early on, Mallow responded to lead by 2-6 to 1-4 by half-time and they were 4-9 to 1-8 in front by the second water break after Seán McDonnell had netted a fine individual goal on 43 minutes, followed by one from sub Seán Hayes, set up by Shane Merritt.

Béal Áthan sub Diarmuid Mac Tomáis did pull a goal back for the Gaeltacht side on 51, but Mallow never looked like being caught and they now face Michael’s in a repeat of the 2017 PIFC decider.

While Mallow – playing in green – took a first-minute lead after Kevin Sheehan had claimed a mark from a good Bill Myers delivery, their first quarter was littered with cheap wides and Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh took advantage.

Set on their way with an Aindrias Ó Coinceannaín free, they had the lead on 11 minutes as Conchúr Ó Loingsigh sent a nice low ball from the right flank into Ben Seartan. He jinked through the cover and then finished well past Kevin Doyle.

When Ó Loingsigh won a mark from a kickout soon after that and fed the hard-running Cian Ó Duinnín, his pass allowed Séamas Ó Tuama to open up a four-point lead but Mallow were far stronger after the water break.

Points from Michael O’Rourke just before and just after the recess brought them back to within two and they had the lead when Darragh Moynihan won O’Rourke’s delivery and had his progress illegally halted by a combination of Ó Duinnín and goalkeeper Darren Ó Coill.

A penalty was the judgment of referee Alan Long and Ryan Harkin made no mistake from the spot. While Ó Coinceannáin levelled and Ó Loingsigh did likewise after Jack Dillon had rounded off a lovely team move to put Mallow 1-4 to 1-3 in front, the North Cork side pushed on impressively in the closing stages.

First, Sheehan landed his second point, a free, and then combined well with Kieran O’Sullivan and Seán McDonnell to grab another and give them their biggest lead of the game up to then. A two-point advantage became five in the second minute of injury time when captain Eoin Stanton found O’Rourke, who in turn laid the ball on for wing-back Stephen O’Callaghan and he applied the finish.

In the opening minute of the second half, Béal Athan Ghaorthaidh went agonisingly close to a second goal. Following lovely interplay between Ben Seartan and Leonard Ó Conchúir, Conchúr Ó Loingsigh attempted to handpass across goal for Séamas Ó Tuama to palm home but the ball was just out of his reach.

In response, Michael O’Rourke’s third point of the night put Mallow 2-7 to 1-4 in front and his fourth on 35 made it 2-9 to 1-5 after Seartan and Sheehan had exchanged frees. Though Béal Áthan came back with three on the trot – Ó Loingsigh unlucky to fire over rather than under the bar – the two goals coming up to the second water break put the game on an irreversible course and Mallow saw out the game.

 Mallow goalkeeper Kevin Doyle makes a pass under pressure against Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh. Picture: Larry Cummins
Mallow goalkeeper Kevin Doyle makes a pass under pressure against Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh. Picture: Larry Cummins

Scorers for Mallow: K Sheehan 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1m), S Hayes 1-2, M O’Rourke 0-4, R Harkin (penalty), S O’Callaghan, S McDonnell, 1-0 each, J Dillon, E Stanton, S Merritt 0-1 each.

Béal Áthan Ghaorthaidh: B Seartan 1-3 (0-1f), A Ó Coinceannáin 0-4f, D Mac Tomáis 1-0, C Ó Loingsigh 0-2, S Ó Tuama 0-1.

MALLOW: K Doyle; O Carroll, S Merritt, B Myers; S O’Callaghan, M Taylor, E Barry; D Moynihan, E Stanton; M O’Rourke, R Harkin, J Dillon; K Sheehan, S McDonnell, K O’Sullivan.

Subs: P Hennessy for Carroll (38), S Hayes for Dillon (42), P O Herlihy for O’Rourke, P Lyons for O’Callaghan (both 48), R Lombard for Harkin (51).

BÉAL ÁTHAN GHAORTHAIDH: D Ó Coill; C Ó Nuanáin, É Ó Duinnín, J Ó Donnchú; S Ó Tuama, M Ó Riordáin, L Ó Críodáin; A Ó Coinceannáin, C Ó Duinnín; D Seartan, L Seartan, A Ó Loingsigh; B Seartan, L Ó Conchúir, C Ó Loingsigh.

Subs: D Mac Tomáis for L Seartan (33), E Ó Coill for A Ó Loingsigh (35), S Ó Luasa for C Ó Duinnín (39), N Ó Laoire for Ó Críodáin (48), Dara Ó Ceallacháin for Ó Tuama (52).

Referee: A Long (Argideen Rangers).

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