Beara show deep resolve for famous victory over Belmullet
Report by Joe Ó Muircheartaigh for the Irish Examiner newspaper
All-Ireland Senior D Football Final: Beara Community School 3-11 Our Lady’s College, Belmullet 3-9
How badly do you want it Beara,” roared joint-manager Dara Crowley as Beara Community School slipped a point behind in this rip-roaring All-Ireland final decider played in the Clare venue of Gurteen this afternoon.
The answer he wanted came within seconds as the west Cork side conjured up a brilliant 53rd-minute goal that carried them to a famous victory over a shattered Belmullet outfit that had led this contest by six points early in the second half.
It was created by full-back Niall O’Shea, who carved open the Belmullet defence with a run from deep before off-loading to Fintan Fenner — the inspiring captain then fed full-forward Dylan Crowley for an opportunity he coolly stroked home from six yards.
It was the defining moment of Beara’s brilliant second-half comeback that finally reeled in a Belmullet that had been dominant for periods of the first half when playing with the wind, but still only managed to build up a 2-5 to 1-5 lead.
When the Connacht champions responded to a well-worked ninth-minute goal from Fenner by hitting 2-2 without reply in a ten-minute purple patch it looked as if they had the Rice Cup for the taking.
Their direct play had the Beara defence floundering with quickfire goals from Brendan Conway and Charlie Ginnely in the 11th minute and fine point-taking by Josh Carey pushing them 2-4 to 1-1 clear by the 20th minute.
However, Beara’s resolve reared its head for the first time before the break as they lifted the siege with points from Tommy O’Sullivan, Mikey Orpen and Tom O’Connor.
This same resolve was needed once more just five minutes into the second half as they were hit with a third Belmullet goal when Brendan Conway rifled home a penalty. It came within 30 seconds when Fenner drilled home a penalty down the other end, after which a hugely determined Beara side never really looked back as they doggedly chased down their Mayo opponents.
They finally drew level at the three-quarter stage thanks to two fine points by Gerard O’Shea, but with Josh Carey keeping the scoreboard ticking for Belmullet, the third Beara goal was needed to finally settle matters.
“It was in the tank,” said joint-manager Cian O’Connell. “That goal was there. They know when they’re down they fight to the end. That belief is in them, they trust each other completely that they can do it, no matter how much their down. It showed in the end,” he added.
Scorers for Beara CS: F Fenner (2-1, 1-0 pen), D Crowley (1-0), G O’Shea (0-3), L Kelly (0-2, 1f), T O’Connor (0-2f), T O’Sullivan (0-2), M Orpen (0-1).
Scorers for Our Lady’s College, Belmullet: J Carey (0-8, 7f), B Conway (2-0, 1-0 pen), C Ginnely (1-0), R Conway (0-1).
BEARA COMMUNITY SCHOOL: K Murphy; S Power, N O’Shea, D Harrington; K O’Sullivan, S O’Shea, T Milliem; A O’Sullivan, F Fenner; T Sullivan, L Kelly, T O’Sullivan; T O’Connor, D Crowley, G O’Shea.
Subs: M Orpen for Power (20), M O’Sullivan for Milliem (37).
OUR LADY’S COLLEGE, BELMULLET: K Gallagher; L Lynch, L McGrath, C Rowan; C Reilly, J Flannery, J Calvey; L Tighe, S Gallagher; E Walsh, B Conway, A Barrett; J Carey, R Conway, C Ginnely.
Subs: D McAndrew for E Walsh (Half-Time).
Referee: C Maguire (Clare)