Fairytale season for Ballygiblin as O'Sullivans rise to the occasion

'On the Skeeheenarinky side they had a tough week with one of the players burying his father and we buried my grandmother on Friday'
Fairytale season for Ballygiblin as O'Sullivans rise to the occasion

Sean O'Sullivan fires in a second-half goal for Ballygiblin against Skeheenarinky. Picture: Larry Cummins.

THEY may be from different counties but the battle of the near-neighbours didn't disappoint, as Ballygiblin were crowned Munster Junior A hurling champions at Mallow.

Just five miles separate the pitches of Ballygiblin and Tipperary club Skeeheenarinky but the bragging rights are with the Cork side after their 2-14 to 1-9 victory.

A packed Mallow saw no quarter given or asked as friends took to the pitch against each other, with most of them having gone to school together at Mitchelstown CBS.

Ballygiblin had heroes all over the pitch and one of them was full-forward, Sean O'Sullivan, who scored their two second-half goals.

His family had to put the tragedy of burying his grandmother to one side for the hour, but he said he had no doubt she was looking down on them.

"It's a fairytale for us, winning a North Cork title was one thing, then to go on and win the county and now today was unbelievable.

We had the cake and this win is the cherry on top for us. 

"We would have a good old rivalry with Skeeheenarinky and 27 out of the 30 lads that started went to Mitchelstown CBS and we have had some good battles with them.

"Personally my mother is a Skeeheenarinky woman and you know there was always that at home in the last few weeks and I was asking her who are you going to shout for!"

Free-taker Joseph O'Sullivan, Ballygiblin. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Free-taker Joseph O'Sullivan, Ballygiblin. Picture: Larry Cummins.

He made no mistake with his goals. 

"The first one was a flick in and the second one was a better one alright, but the boys out the field did the hard work to bet the ball in and I am only there to finish it and luckily they went in.

“The best of all is we came out on the rights side and you see the emotion here and you see the crowd and what it means to them.

“On the Skeeheenarinky side they had a tough week with one of the players burying his father and we buried my grandmother on Friday. But it's great to look back and say she was shining down on us today."

 Winning feeling! Celebrations as young supporters cheer on Ballygiblin. Picture: Larry Cummins. 
Winning feeling! Celebrations as young supporters cheer on Ballygiblin. Picture: Larry Cummins. 

Coach of the winning side, Ronan Dwane, said he was delighted and proud for all involved.

It was a unique occasion, the closeness of the two sides to each other. It was a real local derby and an amazing day really.

"The first half was nip and tuck and we went in a point up but we got the goals in the second half and goals win games. When you are ahead at this time of year it is hard to come back but it was right enough at the end. They had a chance that hit the side netting and our keeper Christopher Noonan made a good save as well.

"But the lads are unbelievable and every game we have had this year has been close, tight and they have shown great heart and spirit all through. You are always living on your nerves and I was thrilled to hear the final whistle.

Ballygiblin captain Fionn Herlihy salutes the crowd. Picture: Larry Cummins. 
Ballygiblin captain Fionn Herlihy salutes the crowd. Picture: Larry Cummins. 

“We will enjoy celebrating this one and then we will set our sights on the All-Ireland semi-final in two weeks."

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