Mark Keane and Darragh Flynn drive Ballygiblin hurlers to first county title

Avondhu champions came from behind to defeat Dromtarriffe in the Co-Op Superstores Junior A County Hurling final at Páirc Uí Rinn
Mark Keane and Darragh Flynn drive Ballygiblin hurlers to first county title

Ballygiblin celebrate with the cup after their win in the Co-Op Superstores Cork County Club Hurling Junior A Championship final against Dromtarriffe at Páirc Ui Rinn. Picture: Larry Cummins

Ballygiblin 2-18 Dromtarriffe 0-18 

A MAGNIFICENT closing quarter from Ballygiblin ensured they won the Co-Op Superstores Junior A County Hurling Championship for the first time following an epic clash with Dromtarriffe at Páirc Uí Rinn.

There were many heroes for the new champions. The striking of Cork U20 star Darragh Flynn saw him hit 10 points for his team, including a soaring sideline, while but it was the contribution of former Cork footballer and current Aussie Rules pro Mark Keane stole the show.

Keane lined out at centre-back but he pushed forward in the 53rd minute he struck a shot that billowed the roof of the net that swung the pendulum in the Avondhu club's favour. The Cork senior hurling selectors would surely have been impressed by his sheer athleticism and strength, though he's due to return to Australia shortly.

 Mark Keane, Ballygiblin, in action against Dromtarriffe. Picture: Larry Cummins
Mark Keane, Ballygiblin, in action against Dromtarriffe. Picture: Larry Cummins

Founded in 1955, Ballygiblin, whose dual players line out with Mitchelstown, tasted major success last in 1993 when they won the Junior B County hurling championship. This was a day they will savour for many years.

It only took two minutes for Dromtarriffe, runners-up last season as well, to get up and running when Stephen Coyne showed sheer class to split the uprights with a terrific point.

Indeed the opening exchanges were going Dromtarriffe’s way as they looked polished and following a second Coyne point in the ninth minute they raced into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.

Ballygiblin responded to the wake-up call and when their leading marksman Flynn raised a white flag in the 13th minute the deficit was reduced to the minimum, 0-4 to 0-3.

In the closing minutes to the water break, Dromtarriffe increased the tempo as they struck three unanswered points to race into a four-point lead.

On the restart, Ballygiblin showed tremendous spirit and a Dean Barry score was followed by two more in the 22nd minute trimmed the margin to the minimum again.

Dromtarriffe were only playing in fits and starts but consecutive points from Sean Howard following a 10-minute drought gave them a three-point cushion.

Another feature in the first half was the spirit shown by Ballygiblin as they finished in style with three consecutive points.

It was fitting that Darragh Flynn would finish the half with a sublime sideline cut that had their fans in rapture and ensured the sides were level at nine points each at the break.

Dromtarriffe tried to take control on the restart and three consecutive points in the opening five minutes gave them the perfect start.

A minute later Dean Barry struck over the opening point for Ballygiblin but they looked in trouble in the 44th minute when Sean Howard registered his eighth point as Dromtarriffe surged into a five-point advantage.

Then came the Ballygiblin scoring avalanche as Sean O’Sullivan pounced on a loose ball following a Dillon Sheehan shot that he guided to the empty net.

Suddenly Ballygiblin were in overdrive and a superb Michael Walsh point put them ahead by one with nine minutes remaining.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man as Mark Keane decided he needed to add mettle to Ballygiblin’s forward line and he did so in style.

When full-forward Sean O’Sullivan assisted a perfect pass to Keane in the 53rd minute and he showed no mercy with an unstoppable shot.

With five minutes remaining a Howard point pulled the Duhallow club to within two points but once again the rampant underdogs kicked on. 

They chalked up four unanswered points that sealed a famous win amid scenes befitting a first championship at this level.

Scorers for Ballygiblin: D Flynn 0-10 (0-8 f, 0-1 sideline), M Keane, S O’Sullivan 1-0 each, M Walsh, D Barry 0-3 each, K Duggan, C O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Dromtarriffe: S Howard 0-9 (0-6 f), S Coyne 0-4, J O’Sullivan 0-2, T Howard, B Murphy, E Murphy 0-1 each.

BALLYGIBLIN: C Noonan; B O’Gorman, F Herlihy, C O’Brien; M Lewis, M Keane, B Coffey; R Donegan, D Flynn; D Sheehan, J O’Sullivan, M Walsh; D Barry, S O’Sullivan, K Duggan.

Subs: J Mullins for C O’Brien (18), A Donegan for D Barry (54), C O'Sullivan for M Walsh (60).

DROMTARRIFFE: D Cronin; R Daly, M O’Brien, D O’Connor; C Cremin, J Murphy, M O’Gorman; S Howard, K Cremin; J O’Sullivan, T Howard, S Coyne; B Murphy, D O’Keeffe, C O’Callaghan.

Sub: E Murphy for D O’Keeffe (h-t).

Referee: Niall O’Neill (Midleton).

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