Junior B Footballers Survive Late Scare To Progress   23/06/2015

Junior B Football Championship First Round Report:

Uibh Laoire 2-11
Ballincollig 2-08

Uibh Laoire Junior B footballers survived a late scare to seal their passage through to the Second Round of the Mid-Cork Junior B Football Championship by defeating a dogged Ballincollig third string at Kilmurry. 

On a perfect evening for football, both sides struggled with their touch early on but it was eventually Uibh Laoire who took control of the first half with Finbarr McSweeney Jnr. banging in two goals to put an 11 point gap between the teams at the interval. Joseph Creedon opened Uibh Laoire's account with a well struck 45 after Chris Óg Jones was denied a goal by an excellent save from Ballincollig's equally talented goalkeeper. Captain John O'Callaghan added two points for Uibh Laoire along with a Colin Tanner close range free to put Uibh Laoire 0-04 to 0-02 to the good after 17 minutes of play. 

On 21 minutes, Finbarr McSweeney Jnr. struck for his first goal of the game, finishing well to the net from close range after Chris Óg Jones had put him through. Uibh Laoire gained huge confidence from this goal and went on a scoring spree before the break with Colin Tanner, John O'Callaghan, Brian Murphy & Chris Óg Jones all pointing before Finbarr McSweeney Jnr struck for his second goal of the game, gathering Colin Tanner's excellent cross field ball before coolly finishing low to the keeper's near post to put Uibh Laoire 2-08 to 0-03 to the good at the break. This scoreline perhaps flattered Uibh Laoire as their goal had lived a bit of a charmed life at the other end as Ballincollig squandered numerous goal chances of their own. 

If Uibh Laoire thought they were in for a stroll in the Kilmurry sunshine for the second half, Ballincollig made them think again, coming out all guns blazing to put up a serious fight to really worry Uibh Laoire after the break. Ballincollig's early second half dominance was halted by a beautiful point from Chris Óg Jones. Uibh Laoire were then made to pay for wasting several goal chances of their own as Ballincollig struck for the first goal of the game as Joseph Creedon's half-block was not enough to prevent the ball from crawling over the Uibh Laoire goal-line. 

Ballincollig were really beginning to take control now & followed their goal with a point from close range. Things could have got worse for Uibh Laoire but for a tremendous diving block from Martin Cotter as the pressure really piled on the Uibh Laoire defence. Uibh Laoire saw out this period of Ballincollig dominance thanks to massive defensive resistance from the evergreen John McNulty being ably assisted by fellow defenders Ciarán O'Riordan and Brian Murphy. 

Colin Tanner then pointed two frees to put Uibh Laoire's supporters at ease but Ballincollig would not go away & added two points of their own before striking their second goal of the game to put the score at 2-11 to 2-07 with five minutes remaining. Uibh Laoire's experience showed in the remaining time as the likes of Finbarr McSweeney Snr, Seán Lehane and Nicky O'Leary held on to possession in the Ballincollig half to wind the clock down. Ballincollig did manage to score a very late point and almost snatched the unlikeliest of draws as a late shot at goal was palmed away by Joseph Creedon to finally secure the win. 

The overall feeling at the final whistle was one of relief as Uibh Laoire knew Ballincollig had really tested them to the limit in what was a very open & exciting game of football. While this was Ballincollig's third team, it would be silly to be fooled into thinking they lacked quality. They had plenty of experience, featuring players that have played Senior and Junior A Championship in recent years along with younger legs on the wings. One would hope this tough game will stand to Uibh Laoire in the next championship outing, details of which will be available on the club Facebook & Twitter in due course.

Well done to all the players and management team of Barry Oldham, Mikey O'Riordan & Christy Cotter on this fine victory. 

Team: Joseph Creedon, John McNulty, Kevin Hourihan, Martin Cotter, Brian Murphy, David Murphy, Ciarán O'Riordan, Seán Lehane, Nicky O'Leary, Colin Tanner, Finbarr McSweeney Jnr, Finbarr McSweeney Snr, James O'Donovan, John O'Callaghan, Chris Óg Jones.

Sub Used: Dan Kelleher.

Scorers: Finbarr McSweeney Jnr(2-00); Colin Tanner(0-04); John O'Callaghan(0-03); Chris Óg Jones(0-02); Brian Murphy & Joseph Creedon(0-01, each)

Pictured(L-R): Kitman, Seán O'Leary; Man Of The Match, Colin Tanner & Physio, Barry O'Leary. 

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