Under 21's Capture The Cup   30/03/2015

Mid-Cork U21 CFC Final:

Uibh Laoire 2-16
Clondrohid 0-09

A blistering display of first half football was enough to steer Uibh Laoire to more success at Under 21 level at Annahala on Saturday last. Playing with the aid of the breeze, Uibh Laoire held a 1-13 to 0-03 advantage at the interval, leaving Clondrohid with a mountain they would always struggle to climb. While Clondrohid battled gamely in the second half, the victory was never in doubt for Uibh Laoire who recorded a rather facile victory in the finish.

Wind the assistance of a strong wind, Uibh Laoire got off to the perfect start, scoring 1-02 without reply in the first five minutes. The goal coming from a strong run by Barry O'Leary who in turn fed Cathal Vaughan & Vaughan made no mistake from close range to billow the Clondrohid net. Uibh Laoire's defence was then called into action on several occasions with first, goalkeeper Liam Cotter making a smart stop & then David Murphy making a fantastic diving block when a Clondrohid goal looked certain. The whole team took great heart from this fantastic defensive effort & improved further as a result. 

Up front, Cathal Vaughan was in scintillating form as he kicked some glorious points off left & right as Uibh Laoire began to drift clear of the Clondrohid challenge. The scoreline could have been a lot worse for Clondrohid had it not been for the heroics of their keeper who brilliantly denied Liam Kearney of a certain goal after a fine run. Kearney did hit a point near the half's end as Uibh Laoire took a half-time lead of 1-13 to 0-3, with Vaughan grabbing an amazing tally of 1-10 in the first half alone.

To their credit, Clondrohid came out battling at the start of the second half and took the game to Uibh Laoire. Kicking four points on the trot, Uibh Laoire looked to be in trouble but strong defensive work by Ciarán Galvin, Finbarr McSweeney and Ciarán O'Riordan ensured the Uibh Laoire goal remained untouched. Questions were being asked of Uibh Laoire and they answered them emphatically as first, Cathal Vaughan scored a point and then Liam Kearney found the net from close range after another assist by Barry O'Leary, to all but kill the Clondrohid challenge. 

Clondrohid continued to go in search of a goal to bring them back into the game but Liam Cotter was in unforgiving form in the Uibh Laoire goal & determined to go home with a clean sheet. As the final whistle neared, marauding wing-back Micheál O'Lionáird got his just rewards for his many forays forward with a fine point into the breeze & fittingly, it was captain Kevin Jones had the final say, kicking a beautiful point out by the right touchline. 

The final whistle was greeted by great celebrations from the jubilant Uibh Laoire supporters, players and management alike. This was a fantastic performance by an Uibh Laoire team that had a panel of just 14 fit players. 

While Cathal Vaughan will take many of the plaudits for his final tally of 1-11, this was a far more rounded team performance than many will give credit for. Liam Cotter and his defence will be delighted to keep a clean sheet on the day - something which is not an easy feat in the 13-a-side game. The midfield partnership of Barry O'Leary and Kevin Jones never shirked responsibility while the forward unit will be delighted with their return of 2-16 on the day. Newcomers to this level, Ciarán O'Riordan, James O'Donovan, Chris Óg Jones, Christopher O'Donovan & substitute Ian McSweeney all played with a maturity belying their younger years, showing they have a big future for the club in the years ahead. 

Special mention to the management team of John O'Callaghan, Tim Pat O'Sullivan and Billy Twomey who once again guided an Under 21 team to glory, despite being short on numbers. Last but certainly not least, special praise is reserved for injured defender Seán O'Leary who was unable to take the field on the day but played a big part in this team's success nonetheless. 

Team(13-a-side): Liam Cotter, Finbarr McSweeney, Ciarán Galvin, Micheál O'Lionáird, David Murphy, Ciarán O'Riordan, Kevin Jones(c), Barry O'Leary, Christopher O'Donovan, Cathal Vaughan, James O'Donovan, Liam Kearney, Chris Óg Jones.

Sub Used: Ian McSweeney
Sub Unused: Seán O'Leary

Scorers: Cathal Vaughan 1-11; Liam Kearney 1-1; Barry O'Leary 0-02; Kevin Jones 0-01; Micheál O'Lionáird 0-01.

Some photos of the post-match celebrations can be found in 'Under 21 Champions 2015' in the 'Photo Gallery'.

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