Match Report from the Echo
Kanturk 3-11 Bantry Blues 1-10
KANTURK showed their class and experience in the second half to kill off Bantry Blues’ spirited resistance and claim the Bon Secours county PIFC title in near-perfect conditions before a crowd of 4,242 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday.
A thrilling first half left Kanturk just two points in front, but there was no disputing the better side on the resumption as the Duhallow club dominated and finally end a losing back-to-back sequence in deciders.
They restricted their opponents to just 0-3 in the second half though keeper Ronan Cashman was called upon twice to make smart saves while a third goal in the 44th minute effectively decided the contest.
Ian Walsh and substitute Cian Clernon linked to create the opportunity for the wily Lorcan McLoughlin, who sensed his moment by moving into space and finishing with aplomb for a 3-9 to 1-8 lead.
The crossbar denied Darren Browne a fourth goal moments later and while Alan Walsh blasted the rebound wide, Kanturk had 14 in all, it didn’t matter in the final analysis because the Billy Long Cup was heading to the north-west of the county.
There was a sensational start to the game with Kanturk slicing the Bantry defence for midfielder Paul Walsh and Ian Walsh to combine to set up Ryan Walsh for a goal after just 15 seconds.
And the opening minute had still to elapse, when Ian Walsh kicked the first point, suggesting the west Cork side were in for a long afternoon, particularly as the post denied Alan Walsh moments later.
But, Arthur Coakley banked a point after four minutes though the next three scores went Kanturk’s way with the Walshs again obliging, Ian, Aidan and Colin finding the range for 1-4 to 0-1 after 12 minutes.
Bantry responded with a much-needed goal in the next attack, however, Sean O’Leary playing Paddy Cronin in for a well-taken score, which boosted the Blues big time.
Corner-back Seth Thornton soloed three-quarters of the immaculate pitch to plant an uplifting point before Cronin added another almost immediately to reduce the margin to the minimum, 1-4 to 1-3 after 19 minutes.
Aidan Walsh, though, pounced for a superb individual goal, three minutes, later showing power, pace and soloing skills before unleashing a hard shot low to the corner of the Bantry net.
And while Coakley answered with a point, Bantry’s predicament worsened with points from Ian and Paul Walsh to open up a five-point advantage and yet the west Cork side finished the half on top with three points on the spin.
O’Leary began the sequence with Coakley adding the first free on the half-hour and then wrapping up a very entertaining first-half with his fourth point, Kanturk 2-6 to 1-7 in front at the break.
How fitting then that Man-of-the-Match Paul Walsh stretched the lead with the opening score of the second half and brother Ian kicked their only free in the next attack but it was McLoughlin’s goal that broke Bantry.
Scorers for Kanturk: I Walsh 0-5 (0-1 f), Aidan Walsh 1-1, R Walsh, L McLoughlin 1-0 each, P Walsh, C Walsh 0-2 each, G Bucinskas 0-1.
Bantry Blues: P Cronin 1-2, A Coakley 0-5 (0-2 f), S Thornton, S O’Leary 0-1 each, R Deane 0-1 f.
KANTURK: R Cashman; J McLoughlin, J Browne, L O’Neill; T Walsh, D Browne, B O’Sullivan; P Walsh, A Walsh (c); C Walsh, L McLoughlin, R Walsh; G Bucinskas, A Walsh, I Walsh.
Subs: C Clernon for R Walsh injured 24, J Fitzpatrick for L McLoughlin 57, L O’Keeffe for Bucinskas 60, M Healy for I Walsh 60+1.
BANTRY BLUES: S Murray; S Thornton, T Cronin, C O’Brien; E Minihane, B Foley, E O’Shea; S O’Leary, D McCarthy; S Keevers, K Coakley, D Murray; P Cronin, R Deane (c), A Coakley.
Subs: K Casey for D Murray half-time, D Daly for K Coakley 47, C Power for O’Shea 57.
Referee: A O’Connor (Ballygarvan).