Derek Dormer was on hand to watch St Flannan’s College defeat Clonakilty Community College 3-8 to 0-11
A 2-1 final quarter blitz from supersub James Doherty ensured that St Flannan’s College cemented their place in the last eight of the prestigious Munster Senior A Post-Primary Schools Football Championship in Ballyagran, Limerick on Wednesday afternoon.
Requiring nothing less than a victory to keep their Corn Uí Mhuirí hopes alive, the Ennis school had to show immense character to produce a ten point second half turnaround.
Therefore, regardless of what happens in the final round between Tralee CBS and Clonakilty, St Flannan’s are assured of one of the quarter-final places from the group.
Substitute Doherty was the hero scoring 2-1 after his introduction in the 45th minute. In fact Doherty’s very first touch came only 20 seconds after his introduction when he picked up possession 25 metres out before unleashing an unstoppable rocket into the top corner.
Doherty’s second major was another superb finish, this time rifling low into the bottom right hand corner in the 56th minute to roars of approval from the Flannan’s faithful.
Overall the attacking threat of the Clare school was ultimately the difference on a day where 3-7 of their 3-8 total came from play.
The game was only 18 seconds old when midfielder James Hegarty, who was impressive all day, burst through the centre before offloading to Lissycasey’s Darren Keane who kicked over.
However Flannan’s would fail to add to this bright start with their next score coming a full 20 minutes later as Clonakillty took over.
Led by Cork Minors Darragh Gough and Olan O’Donovan, they kicked six points in a row which included two sensational points from acute angles, one apiece from the aforementioned minor stars.
To their credit the St Flannan’s rearguard led by Éire Óg’s Fionnan Treacy kept battling and most importantly didn’t concede a goal.
Goalkeeper Cian Howard did come to his side’s rescue with a terrific point blank save from O’Donovan but this was the only goal chance coughed up by the Flannan’s defence.
Two late points from Doora/Barefield’s Ben McDonough and Keane saw St Flannan’s only trailing by four on an interval scoreline of 0-7 to 0-3.
The Ennis school began the second half with a much sharper focus and two points, a Fred Hegarty monster kick from distance and a Fiahcra Kirby score reduced the arrears to two.
The game’s opening goal then arrived when substitute Ian Williams released Fionn Cotter who in turn picked out the overlapping run of wing-back Paddy Nagle.
The Parish man finished superbly and the dream start to the new half was completed as St Flannan’s were now leading by 1-5 to 0-7.
Cork minor Gough kicked two frees in a row to put Clonakillty back into the lead in the 44th minute. Cometh the hour cometh Clarecastle brothers James and Harry Doherty.
Both were introduced in the 45th minute and they would incredibly account for 2-2 of St Flannan’s 3-8 total. The Banner’s Sean McMahon kicked a beauty in the 53rd minute but it was the Doherty brothers who fittingly had the last say.
James’ second major was quickly followed by a fisted point from younger brother Harry before James kicked the final score in the 62nd minute.
Afterwards teacher John Connole couldn’t have been any prouder. “We stayed in the game when our backs were to the wall in that first half. We felt we were in a decent place at half-time and our bench made the difference in the end.
“The game is all about having an impact off the bench and we most certainly had that today. The quality of footballer coming into Flannan’s these days is top notch and that’s a credit to the work being done in the clubs. All these clubs are doing tremendous work and the result can be seen here today.”
Best for the Ennis school on a great day were Fred Hegarty, Fionnan Treacy, Darren Keane and of course impact sub James Doherty.
St Flannan’s College: Cian Howard (Éire Óg); Gearoid Barry (Inagh-Kilnamona), Cormac Maher (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Ronan Kilroy (Banner); Francis Meaney (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Fionan Treacy (Éire Óg), Paddy Nagle (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield); James Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona), Fred Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona); Fionn Cotter (Lissycasey), Sean McMahon (Banner), Cian Kirby (Clondegad); Ben McDonough (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Fiachra Kirby (Clondegad), Darren Keane (Lissycasey). Subs: Ian Wiiliams (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) for Maher (20, inj), James Doherty (Clarecastle) for C. Kirby (45), Harry Doherty (Clarecastle) for F. Kirby (45), Colm Meaney (Clondegad) for Cotter (55)
Scorers: James Doherty (2-1); Paddy Nagle (1-0); Darren Keane (0-2, 1f); Ben McDonough, Fred Hegarty, Fiachra Kirby, Sean McMahon, Harry Doherty (0-1 each)
Clonakilty: Tadgh O’Neill; Shane O’Regan, Dan Twomey, Diarmuid McCarthy; Sam Bailey, Fionn McCarthy, Eamonn Hodnett; Aaron Cullinan, Cillian Twohig; Tomas Ó’Buachalla, Darragh Gough, Feargal Murphy; Olan O’Donovan, Philip Flynn, Joseph Bailey. Sub: Eoin Cullinane for Hodnett (49)
Scorers: Darragh Gough (0-4, 3f); Olan O’Donovan (0-3, 1f); Aaron Cullinan, Dan Twomey, Fergal Murphy, Tomas Ó Buachalla (0-1 each)
Referee: Mike Flannery (Limerick)