Aghabullogue pull off an early shock
By Fintan O’Toole, Evening Echo, 09/04/07
Intermediate Football Championship, 8/04/07
Aghabullogue 2-9 Castletownbere 1-5
A SHOCK result? Probably on the basis of last season’s form, but Aghabullogue’s success in the Evening Echo County Intermediate Football Championship first-round tie yesterday at Ballineen was thoroughly legitimate.
This was a match that was definitively shaped by the first-half exchanges. At half-time Aghabullogue lead 2-6 to 0-1 and the opening period framed the eventual outcome.
Aghabullogue produced a blistering display, were faster off the blocks and posted a fine scoring total. Castletownbere looked lethargic, endured a bad start as they shipped 1-6 in the opening quarter and struggled to get scores on the board themselves.
The core reality was that Aghabullogue’s first-half showing paved the way for their victory, providing them with the necessary buffer for second-half protection, and giving Castletownbere far too steep a hurdle to overcome as they sought to fight back into contention.
Aghabullogue’s opening form was characterised by their excellence all over the pitch, as they scorched into the lead. They secured plenty possession around the middle and cleaned up any breaking ball.
Niall Buckley made plenty surging runs and Eddie Twomey foraged well, the pair combining sufficiently well to prevent Castletownbere’s Andrew O’Sullivan from ruling midfield. O’Sullivan competed well but there were times when the effects of a second big game in 24 hours — he captained Cork to Munster U21 glory on Saturday — began to show.
The supply of ball into the Aghabullogue attack was good. When ball was won around the middle, they tended to send long, raking balls into space for corner-forwards Declan Kiely and Paul O’Rourke to run onto, with this duo both thriving.
By the 14th minute Aghabullogue were in a 0-6 to 0-0 lead, with five different players featuring amongst the point-scorers.
The pick of the bunch was a bomb from distance by Donal Twomey after five minutes. Aghabullogue were playing fine football, but they also profited from some luck in the first-half with their two goals. In the 19th minute a skyscraping shot by Olan Healy dropped short and was spilled by goalkeeper JP Sheehan, O’Rourke dispatching the loose ball to the net.
Then in the 29th minute Barry Kiely’s effort for a point was half-blocked and thus didn’t have enough elevation to clear the bar. But a combination of David Moynihan’s presence and the sunlight seemed to interfere with Sheehan in the Castletownbere goal, and the ball dropped into the goal.
Those were body blows for a Castletownbere team who took time to find their feet in the game. They struggled to cope with the relentless Aghabullogue movement and when constructing attacks, themselves, the swarming Aghabullogue defence prevented the Beara team from making much headway.
It took them until the 26th minute to finally score, through a Sean O’Regan free. In the second-half Castletownbere improved their play immeasurably.
They got to grips in defence, with the Wisemans featuring strongly in full-back and centre-back. Andrew O’Sullivan began to display supreme control and all over the field Castletownhere upped the tempo.
In the 34th minute Alan O’Regan was fouled near goal and O’Sullivan stepped to smash the resultant penalty in for a goal. It lifted the Castletownbere challenge and when O’Sullivan registered a wondrous individual point, it was 2-8 to 1-4 with a quarter of an hour remaining.
But then disaster struck when O’Sullivan was involved in an off the ball altercation and his second yellow card saw, him leave the action. Deprived of such an influential figure Castletownbere’s challenge wilted. Aghabullogue used the extra man superbly in the finale to retain possession and their sheer work ethic enabled them to close out the game successfully.
Scorers for Aghabullogue: P O’Rourke 1-1, B Kiely 1-0, D Kiely 0-3 (0-2f), O. Healy 0 2, Donal Twomey, E Twomey, P Kelleher 0-1 each.
Scorers for Castletownbere: A O’Sullivan 1-1 (1-0 pen). A O’Regan 0-3 (0-3(1, S O’Regan (0-1f).
Aghabullogue: I O’Sullivan; D Murphy. C Lucey, D Buckley; Donal Twomey, Dan Twomey, M Twomey; M Twomey, N Buckley; P Kelleher, O Healy, B Kiely; P. O’Rourke, D. Moynihan, P Kiely.
Subs: J Kelleher for P. Kiely (in)), P Finnegan for P Kelleher.
Castletownbere: JP Sheehan; 0 Kelly, B Wiseman, C Sheehan; 0 Nolan, D.Wiseman, C Murphy: A O’Sullivan 0 Ban O’Sullivan; C O’Sullivan, A O’Regan, T.Collins; V O’Sullivan, S O’Regan, L Harrington
Sub: A Harrington for V O’Sullivan (half-time).
Referee: Gerald Harrington (Carrigaline)
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