Clonakilty set for their first senior countyfootball final in 12 years

In a repeat of the 2009 decider they won, the Brewery Town take on St Finbarr's this Sunday
Clonakilty set for their first senior countyfootball final in 12 years

Clonakilty's Liam O'Donovan in a dash for the ball against Douglas' Kevin Flahive and Sean Powter in the Premier SFC semi-final at Pairc UI Chaoimh. Picture: Gavin Browne

WEST Cork club Clonakilty are looking forward to competing in their first Bon Secours Cork Premier Senior football championship county final in 12 years this weekend.

The Brewery Town is back in a PSFC county decider for the first time since 2009 when they overcame the Barr’s by a point. David O’Regan landed a long-range free 2 minutes from the final whistle to end a 13-year wait for the Andy Scannell cup.

Since then, Clonakilty have failed to trouble the business end of the championship. 

Mike ‘Haulie’ O’Neill’s return, manager of that previous Clonakilty success in 2009, has coincided with an upturn in form. Backboned by a strong Cork inter-county contingent comprising of Mark White, Maurice Shanley, Tom Clancy, Sean White, Liam O’Donovan and David Lowney plus Kerry imports Joe Grimes and Dara Ó Sé, the Brewery Town have deservedly reached the 2021 PSFC decider.

St Finbarr’s are Clon’s opponents once again having come through a penalty shootout victory over Castlehaven in the last four.  That marvellous performance coupled with a 1-12 to 1-5 victory over Clon in the group stages has the Barrs as many people’s favourites, a scenario that won’t bother Clonakilty one bit.

“We are absolutely delighted to get to a county final,” added Clonakilty captain Eoghan Deasy. “Against Douglas in the semi-finals, we said we would go out and try and put in a performance. 

"I think we did. We all know how confident we are in our ability and everyone in the club is delighted to be in a county final.

Clonakilty's Dan Peet under pressure from Douglas' Shane Aherne. Picture: Gavin Browne
Clonakilty's Dan Peet under pressure from Douglas' Shane Aherne. Picture: Gavin Browne

“That’s the thing with Clonakilty this year, we have been focusing on 1 to 18 or 20, whichever number of players come on. 

It has been a full team effort as no one player can win it on their own for us. Being captain is an honour, but as I said, this is a 20-man effort.” 

Brothers Sean and Mark White have enjoyed injury-free runs during Clonakilty’s path to the 2021 Cork PSFC final. 

The Cork inter-county duo will be expected to feature prominently in what is expected to be a closely-fought final.

“We were just delighted to get out of the last (Douglas) game with a victory,” Sean White said.

“We have two weeks of training to prepare for the county final. Haulie and the whole backroom team has been drilling it into us all year that it is all about the team. 

"Everyone works for one another all around the pitch. If a back goes forward and gets caught up the pitch then a forward fills in for him.

”It's been a while since Clonakilty has pushed into the latter stages of the championship,” Mark White commented.

“2010 was the last time we were in a county semi-final (losing 2-13 to 1-10 to Nemo Rangers) until this year. 

"These days don’t come around often enough so we intend to enjoy it. That Duhallow quarter-final game definitely stood to us against Douglas. "Especially it being a close game, against Duhallow, because we have become used to grinding out results.

“It has also been a while since we were in county final but those days are always great occasions for our supporters. 

"It has been a case of just enjoying the two weeks of training and build-up. As Sean said, it is about the whole backroom team and everyone on the Clonakilty panel. It is not about the 15 that start, it is about the subs that come on and those that don’t as well. 

"Everyone has been driving each other on in training, making us better and that’s what’s been driving us over the line (all year).”

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