Stirring Comeback Assures Pride But Title Goes South

Monday, 10 December 2012 09:04
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A converted penalty four minutes into injury time saw yesterday's County Minor League title head for the Haven, but Urhan's heroic rally will live long in the memory. Final Score: Urhan 3-09 Castlehaven 2-14.

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A fine game of football enthralled the vocal crowd in Bantry with both sets of supporters encouraging their players throughout.

The game started edgily enough with Urhan and Haven both passing up scorable frees within the first two minutes. Dec O' Neill broke the deadlock with a fine right-footed effort three minutes in, after a patient move involving Andrew O' Neill, Conor Lowney, Kevin Hartnett and Sean O' Sullivan. Though Haven levelled three minutes later, it was Urhan who conjured the first goal chance, only for Conor Lowney to lose his footing when one-on-one. Haven responded with two attacks and two wides before Dec O' Neill scored his second, another beauty. Ten minutes in and Urhan led 0-02 to 0-01.

Haven, however, took complete control from there to the half-time whistle. Five points in the next six minutes accurately reflected their supremacy in practically every position on the field. Only Niall Dwyer and Dec O' Neill could realistically be said to be winning their battles during that spell.


An Andrew O' Neill goal on eighteen minutes closed the gap to a single point but it provided a very temporary relief. Haven responded immediately with an attack, a free and a point. Three more points as half-time approached had them at double scores before Sean O' Sullivan, moving a quick free to Conor Lowney and taking the return, tacked on a late Urhan point to give some hope. Urhan 1-03 Castlehaven 0-10.


From the restart, Urhan launced an attack which led to a Sean O' Sullivan pointed free. Haven replied in kind before Conor Lowney pointed well on thirty-five.


Then on thirty-nine minutes Haven had their first shot on goal. Paddy Sheehan saved well only to see the rebound fall Haven's way and be turned to the net, and a six-point lead seemed ominous for Urhan. Not so. Sean O' Sullivan converted another free on the three-quarter mark. Two minutes later a good team move found Conor Lowney on the edge of the box, who spurned the point, danced through the Haven rearguard, and goaled to give Urhan hope. 2-06 to 1-11.


Haven were still looking very dangerous upfront, particluarly as they had isolated Brian Hurley on David Cronin in oceans of space. The Urhan man gave everything and limited Hurley for most of the second half. Nevertheless, Haven pointed from play as the minutes ticked on, then again from a free. Sean O' Sullivan from a free brought it down to a goal again, as Urhan, with Cormac Shea, Niall Dwyer and Luke Daly prominent, took control all over the field. With seven to play Urhan's best move of the match freed Dec Neill on the right side of the box. He kept his cool and fed the inrushing Cormac Shea who drilled right-footed. Goal! And level scores.


It was nip-and-tuck now in the centre of the field but when Luke Daly drove forward with three minutes to go and fed Conor Lowney it was Urhan who took a precious lead, Lowney's right footed effort from wide on the right sailing over gloriously.


Once again Haven responded with an attack when most needed. And levelled. The game entered added time. Extra-time beckoned briefly before a beautiful pass from Conor Lowney freed Sean O' Sullivan for a fine point and what would surely be a title-winner.


It was not to be. The referee played on, and Haven launched another attack. When the ball broke loose in the box, Urhan had little choice but to protect their goal. In doing so a penalty was conceded. Harsh luck but completetly unavoidable. Haven showed courage to spurn a levelling point and deigned for the goal, and they were rewarded.


Our congrats go to them on a fine team and a fine win, but our congrats also to this fine bunch of Urhan players who restored their pride in spades with a courageous second-half display.


Full-time: Urhan 3-09 Castlehaven 2-14.


Urhan: Paddy Sheehan; David Cronin, Niall Dwyer; Andrew O' Neill, Cormac O' Shea, Anthony O' Shea; Luke Daly (c); Dominic Doellken, Sean O' Sullivan, Kevin Hartnett; Conor Lowney, Declan O' Neill.


Subs: Dónal Óg Harrington, Dylan Murphy (for Anthony O' Shea).

Photos: Kathleen Dwyer.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 13:37