BEARA Community School capped off a remarkable year by winning the 2022 Masita GAA All-Ireland PPS Senior D football championship the first time in 27 years.
The rural school claimed their first All-Ireland trophy since 1995 on the back of a successful Munster championship and delayed semi-final victory over Ulster champions Ballybay Community College from Monaghan.
Beara came through that rearranged semi-final with the Ulster champions in Carlow IT. It finished 2-7 to 0-11 to the Cork school in a last-four encounter played out amid difficult conditions.
Down 0-5 to 0-1 at half-time, Beara netted a goal immediately after the restart. Castletownbere and Cork’s Fintan Finner was unable to start due to a niggling injury but his second-half introduction proved a turning point. Finner helped set up a Tommy Peter O’Sullivan goal that cemented their team’s All-Ireland final berth.
Our Lady’s College, Belmullet were the Cork school’s opponents in an All-Ireland decider held in in Gurteen, county Clare.
Once again, Fintan Finner played an important role by netting his team’s opening goal inside 10 minutes. Our Lady’s College hit back however, Brendan Conway and Charlie Ginnely netting goals to help build the first of two six-point leads. Tommy O’Sullivan, Mikey Orpen and Tom O’Connor efforts reduced the deficit to three at the interval.
A converted Conway penalty put Belmullet back in the driving seat shortly after the restart before Beara CS assumed control. Finner converted a spot-kick and Gerard O’Shea kept Beara in touch with some well-taken points.
Then, a flowing Beara CS move, seven minutes from the end, saw Niall O’Shea fire into the net to copper fasten a 3-11 to 3-9 All-Ireland final triumph. The Br Edmund Ignatius Rice Cup was heading to Beara.
Managers Dara Crowley and Cian O’Connell deserve huge praise for helping guide the rural school to All-Ireland glory.
“It is hard to put all of this into words, to be honest,” Dara Crowley told the Echo.
“To win a Munster title was fantastic but to go on and win an All-Ireland in the same year is something extra-special. Everyone is exhausted after the final but they gave absolutely everything they had today. We just had enough in the tank to get over the line.
“We were six points down in the second half at one stage. That’s when the lads had to dig deep but they responded. We couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Crowley also paid tribute to the loyal band of supporters that got behind the team throughout their run to the All-Ireland final.
“The support we have gotten is unbelievable,” the Beara CS co-manager stated.
“In fairness to the Beara crowd, they are always willing to travel to support the team. We were in a dogfight but they got behind the team and carried us through. The team fed off that. The tougher the situation got the harder the boys tried. They are just one of those teams that doesn’t shy away from a fight.
“The lads deserve this success. All the training and commitment they have put in. The consistent numbers we have had at training made a huge difference this year.
“Anytime a couple of lads couldn’t make it, they would always send us a message and give a reason. They would always be there the following week. They are just a great bunch of players. It took a massive effort to get over the line in Munster and now the All-Ireland. We are just so delighted for them. They deserve all the plaudits coming their way.
“These days don’t come around too often so we have to soak it all in. This success is what makes it all worth it. These lads had fire in the bellies and gave it every last drop of energy they had to get us over the line.”
Dara Crowley (Kenmare Shamrocks), Liam Crowley (Adrigole), Breixo Carleton (Castletownbere), Shane Power (Castletownbere), Kevin Sullivan (Castletownbere), Mikey Orpen (Castletownbere), Jack Murphy (Castletownbere), Ronan Sheehan (Garnish), Eoghan O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Lee Kelly (Castletownbere), Séan O’Shea (Adrigole), Tiernan O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Darragh Harrington (Urhan), Niall O’Shea (Urhan), Daniel Mason (Adrigole), Colm Murphy (Castletownbere), Olan Murphy (Castletownbere), Jack Hanly (Castletownbere), Darragh Murphy (Castletownbere), Jack Crowley (Adrigole), Fintan Finner (Castletownbere), Tommy O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Tom O’Connor (Adrigole), Killian Murphy (Castletownbere), Gerard O’Shea (Adrigole), Oisin Lynch (Urhan), James Spencer (Castletownbere), Tuan Millen (Garnish), Mikey O’Sullivan (Adrigole), Cian O’Connell (Kilgarvan).