Clonakilty are in bonus territory for final rematch with St Finbarr's

Momentum has carried the West Cork side through to a repeat of the 2009 decider, which Clon won
Clonakilty are in bonus territory for final rematch with St Finbarr's

Clonakilty came back from three points down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh to deservedly beat Douglas and reach the PSFC final. Picture: Gavin Browne

HAVING been six points down with 15 minutes left in their Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC quarter-final a fortnight ago, Clonakilty battled back to win by a point and they put that experience to good use in holding off Douglas by the same margin at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.

A first final since 2009 awaits for the men from the Brewery Town, after a 0-15 to 1-11 win. Selector Eoin Ryan said the team gained valuable belief and momentum from the win over Duhallow.

While Douglas had taken the direct route to the last four, having earned the top seeding after the group stage, the flipside was that they sat out the quarter-finals and didn’t have a game in the Páirc, whereas Clon had.

And, while they fell behind early on, Clon never panicked.

“You said it: It’s all about momentum,” Ryan said.

Our aim was to get out of the group and, all of a sudden, we’d a couple of wins and that’s all momentum. 

"The way we beat Duhallow, then, was phenomenal. Now, they probably tired, but we kept at it, and we can’t ask any more of them than that.

“It was a huge advantage to us that we had been here two weeks ago, and Douglas didn’t,” Ryan said. “You get used to the dressing room, you get used to the pitch, and you get used to kicking the ball over the bar. It was tough on them that they didn’t get to do so.

“They started well and got the run on us, but we kept at it and we got the run on them, then,” Ryan said. “We kicked great scores in the first half; the performance was excellent. In the second half, we were a bit more defensive and drew them on to us.

“We got caught for the penalty. I couldn’t see, from where I was, whether it was a penalty or not, but we’ll give the referee the benefit of the doubt.”

After that Duhallow win, Ryan had proclaimed that Clon were in bonus territory, so where do they stand now, ahead of a meeting with St Finbarr’s, whom they beat in the decider of 12 years ago?

“Bonus-bonus territory,” Ryan laughed. “We’re thrilled, of course. It’s fantastic for all of the lads, all of the people in the stand, and all the youngsters who’ll get to see their team playing in a county final. There’ll be plenty of flags around the town and a great atmosphere.

“Every one of them who put on the shirt today, they left it all out there today and you can’t ask for anymore. All we want them to do is enjoy playing their football, to play with a smile on their face, don’t worry about the scoreboard, and do their jobs and to keep it simple.

“To be honest, it’s unexpected that we’re here,” Ryan said. “That’s going to be another step up, no matter who wins the other game. They’re going to be favourites, but we’ll come up and we’ll give it a shot and play the best football that we can.”

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