by Seamus Hayes
COUNTY champions, Kilmurry-Ibrickane struggled to break down O’Curry’s blanket defensive approach in Doonbeg last Saturday. The 2012 intermediate champions set out to defend in depth and while that approach kept them in the game, the fact that they only kicked one second-half score, from Eoin Troy, cost them the chance of a stunning win.
For most of the 60 minutes, O’Curry’s defensive tackling was disciplined and effective. They held up the man in the tackle and when they did concede scoreable frees, Ian McInerney and Mark (Cookie) McCarthy kicked first-half wides, which they would have expected to put over without a second thought.
Crucially though, McCarthy kicked a brace of superb long-range second-half points for Kilmurry, while their last point was a 45-yard free from the same player. Those scores underlined that the most effective way to break down O’Curry’s massed defensive numbers was to kick scores from distance. McCarthy and substitute Seamus Murrihy were the only Kilmurry players to manage this.
The winners trailed 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time. O’Curry’s had played with the strong breeze but were caught by two early Enda Coughlan points. O’Curry’s ground their way into the game however, with Ger Quinlan kicking three frees. The impressive Tom Downes pointed from play while Ollie Quinlan kicked the point of the opening half, from 47 yards.
O’Curry’s played eight full-time defenders with Seán Haugh and Ollie Quinlan dropping back to augment their defence. Eoin Troy, Jack Scanlan and James Troy were their primary attackers, aided occasionally by Jim Downes, who operated between attack and defence.
With the breeze behind them after half time, Kilmurry were expected to up their game. O’Curry’s stuck manfully to their plan however, and although they didn’t offer much in attack, they made it very difficult for Kilmurry to create much attacking threat of their own. O’Curry’s took their time with any free they won and generally set about slowing down the play.
Both teams had half goal chances midway through the second period. A Darren Hickey delivery from half way bounced off the O’Curry’s crossbar with Michael O’Dwyer searching for the rebound, while at the far end Peter O’Dwyer made a smart save from Seán Murphy, while PJ Greene didn’t get fully behind the subsequent 45′.
At that stage, 11 minutes from time, the teams were level, 0-5 each. Seconds after he was brought on, Seamus Murrihy, kicked a crucial point for the winners. Two minutes later Peter O’Dwyer had to leave the field with a leg injury. Having already made five substitutions, Kilmurry had to play with 14 men for the last nine minutes. Five minutes from time Eoin Troy kicked what he thought was a point but the umpires waved it wide. A minute later McCarthy landed a monster from 45 yards, establishing a two-point lead for the winners. Eoin Troy, thanks to good work from Ollie Quinlan, kicked a superb riposte but McCarthy responded with an injury time free.
O’Curry’s felt that they didn’t get many breaks in terms of 50/50 refereeing decisions. There was one occasion where Seán Haugh was clearly fouled as he was going down on the ball but no free was awarded.
On a day when Kilmurry didn’t play with much fluency, Mark McCarthy, Enda Coughlan, in the first half and Peter O’Dwyer in goals, did well. As they await the quarter-final draw, Kilmurry will be concerned at the fitness of Peter O’Dwyer (midfielder) and Martin McMahon, following their enforced substitutions.
O’Curry’s had good displays from Tom Downes, Ollie Quinlan and Jim Downes. Their next game will be in the semi-final of the senior ‘B’ championship.
Kilmurry Ibrickane: Peter O’Dwyer; Shane Hickey, Darren Hickey, Martin McMahon; Thomas Lernihan, Paul O’Connor, Declan Callinan; Peter O’Dwyer, Keith King; Ian McInerney, Michael O’Dwyer (captain), Mark McCarthy; Johnny Daly, Enda Coughlan, Niall Hickey.
Subs: Mark Killeen for Declan Callinan (half-time), Michael Hogan for Johnny Daly (41), John Sexton for Martin McMahon (41-inj), Seamus Murrihy for Keith King (49), Noel Downes for Niall Hickey (49).
Scorers: Mark McCarthy (0-3, 1f), Enda Coughlan (0-2), Peter O’Dwyer, Seamus Murrihy, Ian McInerney (f) (0-1 each)
Wides: 14; Frees: 24; 45s: 1.
Yellow cards: Keith King, Declan Callinan, Enda Coughlan.
O’Curry’s: PJ Greene; Declan Walsh, Michael O’Shea, Damien Carmody; Tom Downes, Michael Carmody, Eoin Brew; Ger Quinlan, Damien Clohessy; Jim Downes, Seán Haugh, James Troy; Eoin Troy (captain), Jack Scanlan, Ollie Quinlan.
Subs: Seán Murphy for James Troy (37), Derek Troy for Jim Downes (62).
Scorers: Ger Quinlan (0-3f), Tom Downes, Ollie Quinlan, Eoin Troy (0-1f).
Wides: 6; Frees: 17.
Yellow cards: Damien Clohessy, Seán Haugh, Declan Walsh, Eoin Troy.
Referee: Pat Cosgrove.