HAVING led up to until seven minutes from the end, Blues U14 hurlers lost their West Cork final replay to Argideen Rangers in an intense contest in Skibbereen on Saturday last.
The exchanges were close from the throw in and Bantry appeared to be on top going into a two-point lead from placed balls by James Lavin.
The sides exchanged points with Bantry’s scores coming from another James Lavin free and one from play by Barry O’Sullivan. Argideen pointed from play to make the tally four points apiece but Bantry took the lead again when Tom Daly shot to the net. Rangers replied with a point but James Lavin cancelled this with another pointed free. When Argideen’s free-taker pointed his third of the first period to leave the half-time score Blues 1-05, Rangers 0-06, Bantry looked to be fully deserving of their lead.
From the restart the boys in blue continued to attack and when Daniel Murray was fouled in possession James Lavin put over the free.
Tom Daly put Bantry four points ahead with a well-taken score and at this stage Blues were looking good.
However Argideen got back in the game, scoring the next four points, two from frees to level the match.
Substitute Billy Foley shot Blues back into the lead but then disaster struck for Bantry.
A long ball dropped into the Blues goalmouth and was deflected to the net. Rangers were lifted by this and went on to score the final three points of the game to close it out. In the final period Bantry pushed hard for the goal they needed, but the Timoleague defence held firm.
In a game that had many talking points and was not without some controversy, the final score stood: Argideen Rangers 1-13, Bantry Blues 1-08.
Although they lost this game Bantry had heroes all over.
Every player was outstanding in their effort and work rate but special mention must go to Ronan O’Mahony who was immense.
He dominated his man throughout and was covered every blade of grass over the hour.
In the full back line Tadhg McCarthy was excellent as was his partner Robyn McCarthy.
The halfbacks Dylan Carthy, James Lavin and Sean Thornton worked tirelessly and when Patrick Casey came into this line as a sub in the second half he made an impact. Jack McCarthy at midfield gave everything and all of the forwards ran themselves into the ground.
Bantry can hold their heads high after this final and great credit is due to the entire squad for their attitude and work in training to get to this final.
Team: Shane Murray, Tadhg McCarthy, Robyn McCarthy, Dylan Carthy, James Lavin (0-4,F), Sean Thornton, Ronan O’Mahony, Jack McCarthy, Daniel Murray, Shane McSweeney, Barry O’Sullivan (0-1), Tom Daly (1-1). Subs used: Billy Foley (0-1), Aiden O’Sullivan, Patrick Casey. Subs: Sean Cronin, Eoin Minihane, Matthew Barry, James McGlinchey, Mike Hanley, David O’Sullivan.
Minor hurlers progress
Blues minor hurlers progressed to semi-final stage of the championship with a good win over Kilbree on Monday night last in Dunmanway.
On a damp and misty evening first blood went to Bantry when Gerald O’Sullivan finished to the net when the ball broke in the Kilbree square.
In difficult conditions scores were hard to come by and at half time the Blues led by 1-02 to 0-03, Bantry’s scores coming from Jack Hanley and a pointed free from Tim Foley.
Blues got the first break of the second half when a long free from Tim Foley went straight to the net. Further points from Anthony Hanley and Seánie O’Leary put some daylight between the teams. Kilbree had a brief resurgence when they scored three points without reply but Bantry went on to score the next six to win by 2-10 to 0-06.
I: Cathal McCarthy, Joseph Murphy, James Foley, Colm James, Owen Lynch, Jimmy O’Leary, Noel O’Flynn, Seánie O’Leary, Jack McCarthy, Tim Foley (1-5,F’s), Gerald O’Sullivan (1-0), Gary Hurley (0-1), Jack Hanley (0-1)( John Lavin), Anthony Hanley (0-2), Shane McCarthy (0-1). Subs: Stephen Hanley, Shane Keevers, Owen Flynn.
In the minor football championship Bantry Blues lost to Bothar Buí by 15 points to 2-07 after extra time in Macroom on Wednesday, July 18th.
Missing members of the U21 squad on the evening they have a second chance as they now go into the “back door” draw.