THE highlight of the 2021 Muskerry GAA campaign was Aghinagh securing the Ross Oil Junior A Football Championship crown.
It was a first JAFC title for the club which covers the villages of Rusheen, Ballinagree, and Bealnamorrive, who will recall that final night in the Castle Grounds in Macroom for a very long time.
When the JAFC campaign began, among the fancied sides were Canovee and Kilmurry.
Kilmurry advanced to the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by Aghinagh after a penalty shootout. Clondrohid could consider themselves unlucky to suffer defeat at the hands of Ballincollig in the last eight.
Ballincollig then stunned one of the championship favourites, Canovee, in the semi-finals, winning by virtue of another penalty shootout.
In their semi-final, Aghinagh maintained their composure to overcome a stern test from a strong Éire Óg outfit.
When Aghinagh and Ballincollig met in the decider in early November, it was played in front of a very large crowd on a midweek night under lights.
Aghinagh were determined from the outset and they had a bright start, holding a four-point advantage at half-time.
To their credit, Ballincollig more than played their part in this compelling decider, as they launched a strong onslaught during the opening stages of the second half with Stephen Wills and Dylan Ebili among those influential.
But Aghinagh finished the final in style and they sparked wild celebrations at full-time after a 1-12 to 0-9 win.
The name of Liam Twohig will be forever associated with the 2021 Muskerry JAFC final. He was in outstanding scoring form for Aginagh, notching an impressive 1-11.
Aghinagh’s green flag was a fine example of what made this side fitting champions. Following good combination play with Gearóid O’Sullivan, Twohig was released and blasted the ball into the far corner of the net before the Ballincollig keeper could react.
The Muskerry Junior B Football title went the way of Drispsey who overcame Canovee to win 3-13 to 2-5.
The strength in depth at Éire Óg was evident again, as they won the Mid Cork Junior C Football title thanks to a victory over Aghinagh.
In the MJK Oils Junior A Hurling Championship, Ballinora were crowned champions. It was Ballinora’s seventh Muskerry JAHC crown and their first since 2016.
They produced an impressive display to defeat Donoughmore 0-23 to 1-9. In the other semi-final, Inniscarra were good value for the victory over Cloughduv.
Inniscarra commenced the final with intent and a Colin O’Leary goal had them five points ahead just past the first-half water break.
Ballinora didn’t panic and they ended the half trailing by a point, 1-4 to 0-6. In the second half, three points in a row gave Ballinora the lead for the first time.
Ardal O’Connell was in fine scoring form on frees for Inniscarra, but with the contest heading into the final 10 minutes, Ballinora charged successfully to the finish line and included a well taken 65 from Liam Lyons in their tally.
Lyons and Alan O’Shea were among the chief Ballinora scorers in the decider and they deservedly came out on top.
Meanwhile, the Mid Cork Junior B Hurling title went to Éire Óg, who defeated Inniscarra 0-17 to 0-14 in the final.
At U21 A level, Éire Óg won the Muskerry title after a 2-12 to 2-8 win over Ballincollig. Among the chief performers for the Ovens side were Dylan Foley, Joe Cooper, and Jack Murphy.
Éire Óg also won the U21 hurling crown after beating Blarney in the final.
At this point, I would like to thank all clubs and officials in Mid Cork, along with the Muskerry GAA committee, for all their help and assistance with coverage for The Echo over the last 12 months.
When the season gets underway in 2022, here’s hoping that the action will be just as exciting and compelling.