THE C TEAM: Austin Stacks 2-15; Annascaul 1-9.
With the C Team away on gardening leave for the past five seasons (2014-2018 incl.) there was some buzz around the Club early in the year when news broke that it was about to make a come-back under the stewardship of the one and only Aidan O’Connor, who along with his late colleague Charlie Healy had achieved so much success with that team in the late nineties and the early naughties. And in a wet and windy Castlegregory on this Friday evening (9th Aug) a 14 year gap was bridged when we won a first Co. League title since 2005. (The C team did win a Co. Championship title in 2011 when Kevin O’Carroll and Richie Conway were at the helm).
Having lost to Annascaul by six points (2-7 to 2-13) in the opening round of the League in mid May we knew we had to up our game to have any chance of turning the tables on that result. And that’s just what our boys did on this inclement evening, converting that six point deficit into a nine points winning margin on this occasion.
We made full use of the elements in the first half and led by a whopping 1-8 to no score before Annascaul registered their first point of the game in the 24th minute. At half time there was an eleven points gap between the sides (1-11 to 0-3). And the man who really stole the show in that opening period was Alan Duggan whose midfield performance, aided and abetted by William Kirby, and his brilliant scoring spree into a very tricky wind were outstanding (Alan scored five pointed frees in this half from very difficult angles). But it by no means a one-man show as we also defended superbly against an always dangerous Annascaul forward line and, other than Alan, six other players got on the score sheet in that first half – William Kirby in the 5th minute, Gearóid Sheehan with two points in the 7th and 25th, Mikey Collins in the 14th, Danny Roche in the 21st, Michael Godley in the 28th and our goal of that half put away brilliantly in the 18th minute by David Leonard after a brilliant build-up involving Michael Linnane and David Courtney.
We were, understandably, anxious of Annascaul’s response in the second half, now that the elements were in their favour. And they did have a very good opening, adding three points, without reply, in the first four minutes. But we regrouped quickly and in the next six minutes had cancelled out those three points with another pointed free from Alan Duggan, a brilliantly taken forty-five into that strong wing by Gearóid Sheehan and David Leonard putting over from play in the 41st minute. However Annascaul responded again with three more points as the game entered the last ten minutes of play.
But the score that really put the game out of their reach came in the 53rd minute with the involvement of the two forwards who have really shone throughout this campaign. Danny Roche was heading goal-wards when he was brought down in the square and David Courtney coolly placed the resultant penalty to the right of the keeper. Annascaul did get a consolation goal two minutes later but another man who had outstanding displays all season, Michael Godley scored the last point of the game to add to his first-half score.
So a great start to the season for Aidan and his co-colleagues – Tommy O’Connor, John Joe Sugrue, Ger Mannix, John Tobin, Ricky Moloney and Ciarán McCabe which was greatly acknowledged by team captain, David Courtney as he accepted the winning trophy from the Co. Board’s Christy Killeen. And David did not forget to mention the one and only Charlie Healy whose extended family will always follow the C team as they did in Castlegregory on this Friday evening, along with a very sizeable contingent of Rockie supporters. Roll on the Barrett Cup.
Team: Philip Healy, Tommy Costello, Barry Walsh, Conor Lowe, Michael Godley (0-2), Michael Linnane, Brian Phelan, William Kirby (0-1), Alan Duggan (0-6 frees), Danny Roche (0-1), Michael Collins (0-1), Gearóid Sheehan (0-3), David Courtney (Capt) (1-0 – penalty), David Leonard (1-1), Ricky Moloney.
Subs used: Martin Courtney (ht), James Quigley (53m), Pádraig Breen (56m), Joe Looby (57m), Ger Teahon (57m).