Although ultimately defeated by a very fine Canovee side, Robert Emmets emerged from the County Under 21 B Football Championship Final with immense credit and plaudits, following their contribution to an exhilarating contest played at Páirc Ui Rinn on a balmy Friday evening. At the end of the hour, there was little disputing the worthy county champions but Robert Emmets played their part in a fascinating game which ended 3-12 to 2-11.
Robert Emmets were immediately on the backfoot from the throw in and after just twenty two seconds, following a ball which came down from the upright, team captain David Quinlan pulled off a quite sensational point blank save to somehow prevent a certain goal. Canovee with a slick moving forward unit opened the scoring on pointing a fourth minute free and stretched their lead with a well taken point, three minutes later.
Robert Emmets got on the scoreboard when Luke McCarthy nonchantly slotted over a close in free in the ninth minute. Canovee added to their tally by similar means but Robert Emmets gradually came to terms with the occasion and by the end of the opening quarter, pointed frees from Luke McCarthy and Daniel Culloty had the sides level for the first time at 0-3 apiece.
Canovee regained the initiative on adding a brace of points by the twenty second minute. Robert Emmets also enjoyed productive spells and following a dangerous delivery from T.J. Brosnan into the goal area the ball narrowly glanced over the crossbar for a point.
Twenty five minutes into the game and Canovee were awarded a penalty. Once more, as he has done so often throughout the Duhallow and County championship campaign, goalkeeper David Quinlan was superlative in pulling off another inspirational save from the resultant spot kick.
This spurred on Robert Emmets and moments later Michael Cottrell kicked an equalizing point before Daniel Culloty pointed a free to put Robert Emmets into the lead for the only time during the hour. Canovee finished the half strongly and having tied the scores for a third time, two late points ensured the Mid Cork side enjoyed a lead of 0-8 to 0-6.
Robert Emmets began the second half in perfect style. T.J. Brosnan burst forward from the throw in before offloading to outstanding substitute Donal Hannon who struck superbly for a fine point. However, in their next foray forward, Canovee found an opening in the Robert Emmets defence and eventually the brilliant David Quinlan was beaten with a goal from very close in.
Canovee played with confidence and on several occasions threatened to open the Robert Emmets backline. Two points followed and when they struck for a second goal, nine minutes into the half, they suddenly enjoyed a nine point advantage.
To their credit, Robert Emmets refused to relent and Donal Hannon kicked a second outstanding point to stem the tide. Several switches were made with Daniel Culloty and Barry O’Connor prominent and effective in their new roles. Twelve minutes into the half and Robert Emmets were awarded a penalty. T.J. Brosnan kicked a probing ball into the square and as Barry O’Connor superbly gathered he was also impeded. Daniel Culloty stepped forward and drilled the ball home to reignite a comeback, so sonominous with the team this year.
Barry O’Connor added to his stock with a well taken point and the lead was reduced to four points, 2-10 to 1-9 by the midway point of the half. Robert Emmets had further opportunities to make inroads but unfortunately wasted a few difficult chances. Points were exchanged with Donal Hannon’s third of the half keeping Robert Emmets within four points of their opponents entering the final ten minutes of an enthralling and entertaining half of football.
Canovee always held enough of a lead during the half and cemented their position as a point and a third goal, six minutes from time stretched the lead to a commanding eight points. Yet again, Robert Emmets refused to admit defeat and produced a cracking finish, worthy of a county final. Daniel Culloty kicked a pointed free and when Barry O’Connor gathered possession and slammed the ball to the net from close range, a gripping finale was assured.
Robert Emmets gave everything they had to muster another goal but Canovee held out to greet the final whistle with great celebrations and exuberance.
The Robert Emmets team and scorers…
Daniel Culloty (1-3), Barry O’Connor (1-1), Donal Hannon (0-3), Luke McCarthy (0-2), T.J. Brosnan (0-1), Michael Cottrell (0-1)
|Michael O’Leary||Paudie Allen||Jamie Hayes|
|Alan Ryan||Gavin Forde||Colm Noonan|
|T. J. Brosnan||Cathal Noonan|
|Barry O'Connor||Jacko Flaherty||Michael Cottrell|
|Luke McCarthy||Daniel Culloty||Michael McSweeney|
|Subs: Donal Hannon, Daniel Richard Guinee|