Hammies reaching for heights of Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-finals for first time

Bandon school scored two goals in first five minutes but had to dig deep in second half
Hammies reaching for heights of Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-finals for first time

Hamilton High School's Jacob O'Driscoll winning a high ball from Mercy Mounthawk's Cillian Litchfield in the TUS Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final at Bishopstown. Picture: Denis Minihane

Hamilton HS, Bandon 3-5

Mercy Mounthawk, Tralee (Kerry) 1-10

A first TUS Corn Uí Mhuirí (Munster PPS U19½AFC) semi-final awaits Bandon’s Hamilton Hight School, who showed strong character to overcome Mercy Mounthawk of Tralee at Bishopstown on Saturday.

While two goals in the opening five minutes had given the Hammies a great start, a 3-2 to 1-5 half-time lead was overhauled as Mercy Mounthawk reeled off four unanswered points at the start of the second half. With the wind behind them, they might have been expected to push on, but the Hammies came back well and moved in front again thanks to points from captain Richard O’Sullivan, Tom Desmond and Olan Corcoran.

Though Mounthawk’s Chris Nolan did cut the lead to a point in the final minute of normal time, stout Hammies defending ensured a place in the last four, where they will face St Brendan’s College of Killarney.

The game’s opening minute hadn’t even elapsed when the Hammies found the net first. When Ciarán McCarthy found O’Sullivan, he drove in along the right-hand endline and handpassed across, where centre-forward Conor Ustianowski was able to palm home.

After a couple of Mounthawk attacking forays had come to nothing, the Bandon school struck again as O’Sullivan found midfielder Jacob O’Driscoll unmarked from a free and he slotted his shot to the net.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t build on that and Mounthawk did begin to find their feet. Rob Monahan and Cillian Litchfield got on top at midfield and frees from Nolan had them within three, 2-1 to 0-4, by the water break and Paddy Lane fired home a goal to level on the resumption.

When Nolan pointed a free on 19, they were in front but the Hammies found another goal as a Tralee kickout went wrong and McCarthy was able to intercept and send a shot to the unguarded net. He added a point before half-time to leave them three ahead.

Though McCarthy was denied a second goal by a good save from Seán Broderick early in the second half, most of the action was at the other and and Lane, Litchfield, sub Niall Collins and Jack Kearney had points to put Mounthawk in front, with Seán Brosnan influential for them.

Hammies never panicked, though, and O’Sullivan levelled before impressive sub Tom Desmond had them back in front at the water break. On 51, they moved two ahead as a good move involving Desmond, O’Sullivan and Matthew Woods was ended with a Corcoran point.

Nolan’s fourth left things nervy as injury time dawned but a brilliant O’Sullivan intervention, leading to a free out, summed out the Hammies resolve and they held on for a famous win.

Scorers for Hamilton HS: C McCarthy, C Ustianowski 1-1 each, J O’Driscoll 1-0, O Corcoran 0-2, R O’Sullivan 0-1f.

Scorers for Mercy Mounthawk: C Nolan 0-4 f, P Lane 1-1, J Kearney 0-2, C Litchfield, N Collins, R Monahan 0-1 each.

HAMILTON HS: E McSweeney (Newcestown); C O’Sullivan (Newcestown), R McCarthy (Bandon), C O’Sullivan (Ahán Gaels); M Woods (Valley Rovers), J Kenneally (Valley Rovers), G Kelleher (Newcestown); J O’Driscoll (Valley Rovers), C Johnson (Valley Rovers); A Casey (Valley Rovers), C Ustianowski (Kilbrittain), O Corcoran (Ahán Gaels); N Kelly (Newcestown), R O’Sullivan (Newcestown), C McCarthy (Valley Rovers).

Subs: T Desmond (Bandon) for Casey (half-time), J Calnan (Bandon) for Kelleher (49), E Guinane (Valley Rovers) for Kenneally (53).

MERCY MOUNTHAWK: S Broderick; D Bowler, D Jeffers, E McCarthy; E Foley, J Nagle, A Doyle; R Monahan, C Litchfield; S Brosnan, T Pollmann, O Ferris; P Lane, C Nolan, J Kearney.

Subs: N Collins for Foley (half-time), D O’Sullivan for Kearney (45), S Pollmann for T Pollmann (49).

Referee: E Morrissey (Waterford).

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