08/09/1991 Intermediate Football Final
8/9/91 I F C final Aghada 0-9 Ballincollig 0-8
25 years today our lads won the Intermediate Football Final to earn promotion to Senior Ranks.
PERHAPS the most remarkable aspect of this enthralling county intermediate football championship final at PÃirc UÃ Chaoimh last Sunday evening was that Aghada had just a single point to spare at the end of the hour.
In truth, the East Cork men were the much more convincing combination overall and it would have been a travesty of justice had they been prevented from taking this trophy for the first time and just two years after they scaled the summit in the junior grade.
Ballincollig entered the fray with high hopes following an impressive win over Clyda Rovers but. Handicapped by injuries, their youthful representative were never allowed to produce anything vaguely resembling their best form,
Yet, they remained in contention throughout and might easily have earned a second bite of Live cherry when they applied some strong pressure in a nail biting climax to a contest which contained
an abundance of free flowing football and an exemplary level of sportsmanship. Had Aghada been hauled hack to equality before the finish, they would only have had themselves to blame.
They enjoyed a definite advantage for long periods, particularly in the first half when they created more than enough opportunities to put the game beyond Ballincolligs reach.
They shot seven wide, as against one for Ballincollig in the opening period and were denied a possible brace of goals as well which combined to leave their position far from secure when they retired at the break, leading by 0-5 to 0-4.
Then when Ballincollig enjoyed their best spell in the opening ten minutes of the second half, Aghada folk had every reason to fear the worst as their favourites fell two points behind but the manner in which they rose to the challenge to reassert their authority left no doubt in anyones mind that they were worthy champions.
Victory was probably all the sweeter for their supporters on that account although one suspects there are many among them who would have been happier to do without the considerable anxiety endured when Ballincollig made their brave bid.
From the throw-in the game throbbed with excitement hut Aghada were quick to establish control in several key areas, as Conor Counihan emerged as a hugely influential figure at centre back. Declan Devoy gave them a definite edge at midfield and Dave Creedon began to display admirable leadership at the centre of the attack.
The result was that Ballincolligs confidence was seriously undermined and they never completely recovered their composure during the first half.
Particularly upsetting for Ballincollig, no doubt, was the failure of Jerry Ring to make any impression on big Declan Devoy at midfield as the former had been a key figure in allowing the Mid Cork side to chart their progress to the decider
Another Ballincollig stalwart, Paul Coomey was enduring his 3hure of problems too in coping with Aghada full forward Martin Hennessey and with corner forward Michael Lewis also peculiarly prominent in the winners attack, the Ballincollig defence almost always looked vulnerable before the break.
On the credit side was the fact that David Burke and PÃ¡draig Twomey were conceding little on the left flank but it was primarily poor shooting which prevented Aghada from achieving more in the first half.
Meanwhile at the other end with Counihan at his most commanding best. Alan Devoy very much in control at Full hack and such as Pat Sisk, Jim Motherway, and Aidan Berry also keeping their end up well, the Aghada defence allowed the Ballincollig forwards few opportunities.
What the Aghada defence did concede, however, were fully availed of by dashing Cork minor PÃ¡draig O Mahony at left half Forward who regularly took up good positions to elude the attentions of Leslie Berry. OMahonys flair and economy brought him all four Ballincollig points, three from frees, in the first half and, allied with the prodigality of the Aghada forwards, left the issue very much in the balance at the interval.
Still, Ballincollig. trailing by 0-3 to 0-1 after fourteen minutes before O Mahony shot a point following good work by centre forward Fintan smith two minutes later needed a couple of narrow escapes midway through the first half to keep their ship afloat.
The first occurred when Aghadas Michael Lewis and Martin Hennessey combined to send wing forward Kenneth O Keeffe clear on the left hut he was hauled down on the fringe of the penalty area when the chance of a goal was definitely on
To add to Aghadas misfortune. Michael Lewis failed to convert the resultant free and then Aghada came close to goaling again when Martin Hennessy appeared to get a touch to a long-range Conor Counihan free and it took a superb save by goalkeeper Sean McCarthy, who dived smartly to keep the ball out with his hand, to prevent disaster from Ballincollig after 18 minutes.
Undaunted, Aghada continued to hold the whip hand but points from Dave Creedon and a great score by Michael Lewis which put them 0~5 to 0-2 ahead after 24 minutes, was scant return for their persistent pressure.
When Ballincolligs PÃ¡draig O Mahony landed two late points from frees the first a magnificent effort from close to left. touchline, and in between, Kenneth O Keeffe set up by Aiden Berry missed an easy chance from Aghada, the winners had every reason to feel concerned. Such concern increased considerably when Ballincollig stepped up a gear on the resumption with some improved play from Jerry Ring at midfield having a notable settling effect on the team as a whole,
Centre back Donagh Calnan did much to reduce the threat, from the Aghada attack by eclipsing Dave Creedon while, at the other end, Fergal Keohane and particularly lull-forward Donal Lucey began to make their presence felt.
Keohane and Lucey combined well in the left corner before the latter pointed in the 32nd minute. Then Lucey gave Ballincollig the lead for the first time, following good work by Ring and he increased it in the 39th minute when Ring inevitably, and Keohane were involved in the build-up.
It was then, however, that Aghada showed their mettle and instrumental in allowing them to regain the initiative was the move of Martin Hennessey from full forward to midfield.
Hennessey began to win vital possession around the middle and when Declan Devoy put the shackles on Jerry Ring again, Ballincolligs prospects plunged. With Leslie Berry who excelled after the break on PÃ¡draig O Mahony, Conor Counihan and Alden Berry putting up the shutters in the half hack line. Aghada appeared to have found all the answers.
As it turned out Ballincollig werent to score again until the final minute, but the stubborn resistance of their defence in which Coomey, Calnan. Burke and Twomey all did great work, meant Aghada didnt find it easy to kill off the Mid Cork sides challenge, Nevertheless,. a point from wing hack Aiden Berry. two from the irrepressible Michael Lewis and another from Kenneth O Keeffe it appeared to be enough to see them through as they went 0-9 to 0~7 ahead with five minutes remaining.
Ballincollig, however, picked themselves up off the floor before the finish but their gallant attempt to complete a dramatic Houdini act proved futile as they wasted a couple of good chance, before Donal Lucey pointed and Fergal Keohane kicked a difficult opportunity wide in injury time,
Relief, in the end, for Aghada, therefore, but few would seriously dispute they deserved the laurels in a match which had Counihan, Alden Berry, Martin Hennessey, Declan Devoy and Michael Lewis making the most generous continuations to the victors cause over the hour,
Scorers: Aghada: Ml. Lewis O-4; D. Creedon 0-3; A. Berry and K, O Keeffe 0~l each. Ballincollig: P. O Mahony 0-4; D. Lucey 0-3; F . Keohane 0-1
Aghada; G. Looney, P. Sisk, A. Devoy. J. Motherway. L Berry, C. Counihan, A. Berry, D. Devoy, P. Cashman, J. Fleming, D. Creedon, K. Oâ€™Keeffe, M. Lewis, M, Hennessy, R. Lewis, Subs, B. Tynan for Fleming; B. Aherne for Cashman.
Ballincollig: S. McCarthy, K. O Mahony. .Coomey. D. Burke, C. McCullagh, D. Calnan, P. Twomey, P. Power, J Ring, F Keohane, F. Smith, P. O Mahony, D. O Driscoll. D. Lucey. B. McCarthy, Subs. T. Hayes for McCullagh: M O Mahony for O Driscoll,