THE outcome of last Saturday night’s Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh and Bandon Cork SAFC clash has set both clubs off on different trajectories.
Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh edged their west Cork rivals 1-13 to 1-12 in Ballincarriga following a cracking encounter. The winners will next face Knocknagree in the SAFC county quarter-finals thanks to Ben Seartan’s injury-time winning free.
As for Bandon, Colm Ahern’s injury-hit team produced a battling display but ultimately fell short. A relegation play-off against Newmarket looms large on the horizon following an encounter in which Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh just about deserved their win.
“You can see by our lads' faces that our second-half performance just wasn’t good enough,” winning manager Denis Reen commented shortly after the final whistle.
There is fierce ability in this group and we are very professional. It is good to see that the lads are cross because we were in cruise control twice in that game and very nearly didn’t see it out.”
Five points up at the break and then five up once again following Donagh Seartan’s second-half goal, Béal Átha’n Ghaorthaidh took their foot off the gas and struggled to put their opponents away.
“These guys are mentally strong,” Denis Reen added. “You don’t win the Comórtas for nothing. It was just one of those days where we made silly errors at crucial points of the game. Look, we got out of jail. We are through to a quarter-final.
“Any day you come out on top of your group is brilliant. Bandon beat us last year so let’s call a spade a spade. We beat them this time around but we are not happy with our second-half performance.”
Bandon bainisteoir Colm Ahern was proud of his team’s efforts but accepted that the Lilywhites left themselves with too much to do having twice fallen five points behind.
“I’m immensely proud. I thought we were fantastic in the second half but, unfortunately, same as the Dohenys game here the last day, we left ourselves with too much to do,” Ahern admitted.
Next up are Newmarket in a SAFC relegation play-off but Bandon’s manager is upbeat about his team’s chances: “That second half display was as good as we have given all year.
We were missing our top scorer for the last three or four years, Barry Collins, through injury as well.
"He should be back in time for the Newmarket game. A victory in the relegation play-off would be huge. Next up for us is the hurling against Ballinhassig next weekend and that will be the main focus for now.”