Cork 1-6 Donegal 0-10
It was north versus south when Cork and Donegal met Sunday afternoon in the junior A football championship. Cork needed the win to keep matters in their own hands for a top 4 spot. After a hard fought battle it was the northerners who came out on top thanks to a Ciaran Diver point in injury time.
|Cork's Colm Caffrey looking to see who is in support.|
The first half was evenly contested with each side enjoying a spell on top. Donegal came out of the blocks fastest, and after some confusion regarding whether a goal was scored or a 45, it turned out to be a 45. Donegal’s early pressure yielded a single point, a Ciaran Diver free. Cork then took the initiative and put three unanswered over the bar as Donegal were pinned inside their own half for a long spell. Cian Horan put a fine score over from play, while Mike Moynihan accounted for 2 from frees.
The balance of play swung back in Donegal’s direction for the final stretch of the half. The northerners put 4 over to one from Cork, and it could have been more as the post saved Cork from falling further behind on 2 occasions. Christy Bell, Eamon McCarney, and Diver got on the scoresheet. At the break it was a 0-4 to 0-5 Donegal lead.
The second half was just as tight as the first. After Donegal added a point to their lead through Diver, Cork regained the advantage. Cian Horan was the provider for two scores, first a goal from George Bantinble and the second a point from Moynihan. When in possession Cork tried to hold on to the ball, however, there were not many options inside with Colm Caffrey ploughing a lonely furrow. All too often the attacks came to an end before the ball could be worked into a shooting position.
|Christy Bell has a long way to come down from this leap.|
Donegal had more going for them in that department, however, some dogged Cork defending and a handful of wayward final passes kept the rebels from slipping behind. With 10 minutes to go it was all to play for after Eamon Quigley and Diver had pointed to level the scores. Donegal might have had a shout for a penalty, however, the referee did not see it that way, and as the tension mounted yellow cards were issued to Declan Scott and Padraig O’Shea to keep things within the allowable limits.
Donegal brought in the experienced pair of Brian Kelly and Michael McGinty for the final push. After much huffing and puffing and failure to score, Bell finally put Donegal ahead with a by a score. Cork made a push and a free was earned that Moynihan converted. 1-6 to 0-9 and it would be an exciting finish. Each side had chances to go ahead, and with 2 minutes injury time played Diver put a well taken score over the bar to claim both points on offer. Donegal’s place is secure in the semi-final, while Cork are hoping that Aidan McAnespies can do them a favor to set up a shot at the semi-final in their last game against Wolfe Tones.
Cork: O. Murphy, E. Barry, M. Carolan, T. McKitterick, J. Lynch, D. O’Donovan, C. Horan, G. Bantible, P. O’Shea, M. Moynihan, S. Kennedy, C. Caffrey, L. Cunningham. Donegal: J. Byrne, A. Coman, D. Scott, D. Doherty, E. Quigley, C. McDevitt, T. Caldwell, C. Bell, C. Diver, C. Hughes, H. .Loughran, E. McCarney, A. Curley.
By Rory O'Donnell