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Clon bow out of Corn Uí Mhuirí

21 January, 2023

Irish Examiner 20/01/2023

A Paddy Lane hat-trick and seven of the finest points from Robert Monahan sent Mercy Mounthawk into their first-ever Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final at the expense of Clonakilty Community College.

Clon had eliminated one Tralee powerhouse in The Green last time out but they trailed throughout an open and entertaining game of football against Mounthawk, who advance to a semi-final against either St Brendan’s, who they lost to in the group stage, or Hamilton High School.

This was a powerful performance across the field from Mounthawk. Their full-back line never leaked a shot on goal, their half-backs and midfield set a formidable platform, and their attack was full of incisive movement and sharp finishing, led by Lane (3-3) and Monahan, who combined for 3-10. Only two points of Mounthawk’s 3-15 came from frees, plus one 45 and one mark.

Captain Monahan wore number eight but lined out at full-forward for the first half and Clonakilty CC could never get to grips with him. His size was one problem but his accuracy turned this into a code-red threat. He was off the mark from the throw-in and he went on to curl over points off right and left, as well as with the outside of his right boot and off the ground from a 45.

From that first kick-out, Daniel Kirby won possession and Odhrán Ferris fed Lane for the opening goal. Not even a minute had passed and Clonakilty were four down, which became five with a Darragh O’Connor free.

Darragh Gough and Olan O’Donovan split a dozen points between them across the hour and their shooting got Clonakilty back within two by the end of the first quarter.

But Monahan’s long reach turned a ball over in Clon territory and with options left and right, he chose O’Connor who squared for Lane to walk the ball in. 2-5 to 0-5 now after 21 minutes.

Ferris and O’Connor were key playmakers for Mounthawk, the Ardfert native laying on 2-2 while O’Connor gave the assist for 1-4 of Mercy’s total. They set up Monahan and Lane to extend the lead to seven but Clon finished strong, with O’Donovan and the hard-working Fergal Murphy cutting the gap to five, 2-8 to 0-9, at the break.

The West Cork school had lost centre-back Sam Bailey to injury just before the second goal and his absence was keenly felt, although his replacement Éamonn Hodnett did make a positive impression. At half-time, they switched wing-back Cillian Twohig to full-forward and he was right off the mark with his first of two points on the resumption as they got within one score, 2-8 to 0-11.

Mounthawk moved Monahan out to midfield for the second half. He still added two points to his tally and Mounthawk retained an inside threat, with a Lane shot blocked by Hodnett and O’Connor denied by Shane O’Regan.

Tomás Kennedy, switched into attack, kicked two points to keep Clonakilty at arm’s length before Ferris snatched a break from O’Connor and supplied the wide-open Lane for his hat-trick on 52 minutes; 3-12 to 0-13.

Lane and Kennedy summed up Mounthawk’s work ethic thereafter. On the very next play after his third goal, Lane was back on halfway to strip a Clonakilty midfielder of possession and charged forward 40 yards to set up another chance.

Then, when Clon had their closest sighting of the Mounthawk net, Kennedy was back in defensive mode to claw the ball away from O’Donovan’s grasp; the Kerins O’Rahillys clubman following that up with two marks from kick-outs.

Another incredible Monahan point from 45 metres and two from Lane saw the game out.

Scorers for Mercy Mounthawk: P Lane (3-3, 0-1 mark); R Monahan (0-7, 1 45); D O’Connor (2 frees), T Kennedy (0-2 each); N Collins (0-1).

Scorers for Clonakilty CC: D Gough (2 frees), O O’Donovan (5 frees) (0-6 each); C Twohig (0-2); F Murphy, T Cullinane (0-1 each).

MERCY MOUNTHAWK: M Tansley (Austin Stacks); G O’Riordan (Ardfert), J Murphy (Austin Stacks), S Rice (Ballymacelligott); D Kirby (Austin Stacks), C Litchfield (Austin Stacks), B Byrne (Austin Stacks); T Kennedy (Kerins O’Rahillys), D O’Sullivan (Ardfert); N Collins (Ballymacelligott), O Ferris (Ardfert), S Corkery (John Mitchels); D O’Connor (Kerins O’Rahillys), R Monahan (Ardfert, capt), P Lane (Austin Stacks).

Subs: J Hoare (Kerins O’Rahillys) for Corkery (45), N Townsend (Austin Stacks) for Collins (58), C Mason (Churchill) for O’Sullivan (60), F Egan (Ardfert) for Kirby (60), C Moran (Kerins O’Rahillys) for O’Riordan (60+3).

CLONAKILTY CC: T O’Neill (Owen Gaels); D Twomey (Owen Gaels, capt), F McCarthy (Clonakilty), S O’Regan (Clonakilty); D McCarthy (Ibane Gaels), S Bailey (Kilmeen), C Twohig (Kilmeen); J Twomey (Clonakilty), A Cullinane (Clonakilty); F Murphy (Clonakilty), D Gough (Clonakilty), T Ó Buachalla (Ibane Gaels); O O’Donovan (Ibane Gaels), P Flynn (Ibane Gaels), T Cullinane (Owen Gaels).

Subs: É Hodnett (Carbery Rangers) for Bailey (20 inj), J Bailey (Kilmeen) for Twomey (48), E Cullinane (Ahane Gaels) for F McCarthy (60+1).

Referee: S Stokes (Tullylease).

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