Carrigtwohill: W. McCarthy; M. Foley; P.O’Sullivan; R. Power; C. O’Connell; N. Furlong; M. O’Riordan; D. O’Mahony; S. Flannery; T. Hogan (0-3; 0-2f; B. Lordan); N. McCarthy (0-2); L. O’Sullivan; S. Kidney (Seanie O’Farrell 0-1; R. White (0-3); M. Fitzgerald (0-6; 0-2f).
C.I.T.: K. Roche; J. O’Callaghan; E. Dillon; B. Withers; L. McLoughlin (0-5, 0-4 f); R. Cashman; B. O’Sullivan (K. Hallisey); N. Kelly (P. O’Connor 0-1); M. O’Sullivan (0-1); J. Cronin (0-1); D. Drake (0-1; J. Sheehan); A. Walsh; T. Quaid (0-1f; T. Murphy 0-1f); S. O’Brien; C. Casey (1-0).
In what will be considered one of the bigger shocks in this tournament’s long history, Carrigtwohill Cork Senior champions for the first time since 1918. At 100/1 to win it out earlier on in the year and engaged in a number of relegation battles since they were promoted to senior status in 2007, this victory for Carrigtwohill is a testament to how far a club can go with a good coach and a focus on underage teams. In reality Carrigtwohill have always produced classy hurlers, most notably the O’Farrells, Michael Fitzgerald, Niall McCarthy and Noel Furlong in the 90s with the likes of Thomas Hogan, Robert White, Daniel O’Mahony more recently and these talented players along with a much improved sense of organisation, discipline and physicality ensured victory in what was a tight, tense game in heavy underfoot conditions. One has to however feel somewhat sorry for C.I.T. – the likes of Aidan Walsh and many others have had extremely long years and in the energy sapping conditions the performances of a lot of their better known players was disappointing.
For C.I.T., one can only say they individually and collectively didn’t live up to their own high standards. Unlike earlier games, they got largely cleaned out in the middle third of the pitch with Nicky Kelly anonymous, David Drake substituted early in the second half (somewhat unfairly) and Micheal O’Sullivan only showing flashes of his excellent ability to forage and win ball. Otherwise Lorcan McLoughlin and John Cronin put in good shifts and were probably two of C.I.T.’s best players but in general C.I.T. were second best and out muscled in the middle third of the pitch. As such the likes of Simon O’Brien and Colm Casey were badly starved of ball and whereas both were impressive in their ability to create goal chances in other games, C.I.T. only created the single real goal chance over the 60 minutes, which was expertly taken by Casey. Defensively C.I.T. were more solid, Cashman and Dillon in particular leading well while Jon O’Callaghan at corner back is beginning to show some of the form that made him such a prospect at underage inter-county level.
For Carrig, few can be disappointed with their performances. Competitive, physical and aggressive in every line they made it far harder for C.I.T. to play their typically skillful free-flowing style of hurling then the likes of Newtown did. As such a massive part of the mediocre individual performances of many of C.I.T.’s stars was down to Carrigtwohill’s perseverance and work ethic throughout the pitch. Finally, this is one of many close low-scoring games Carrigtwohill have won this year, which is a further testament to their discipline and mental strength. Again, the usual leaders showed up for Carrig – Niall McCarthy produced two huge points in the second half from near the sideline under huge pressure and generally worked exceedingly hard all game; Robert White and Micheal Fitzgerald were the main scores from play and the latter, a constant clinical thorn inside, was my MOTM. Elsewhere Liam O’Sullivan played a world of ball yet again in the middle of the park while Sean Flannery also caught the eye with a considerable amount of possessions. Likewise, two stars of the campaign overall, Daniel O’Mahony and Colm O’Connell had solid games while the thus far unheralded Carrigtwohill full-back line was water-tight, bar Casey’s individual goal, although it helps when you have a composed center-back like Noel Furlong in front of you.
All in all, Carrig dominated throughout the pitch, and the scoreline probably flatters C.I.T. somewhat. The game is what one expects from the Carrigtwohill of 2011 – dogged, tight, physical, close. At the same time they have many players of genuine skill that hopefully Jimmy Barry-Murphy will take note of – Rob White as a prospect at full-forward most obviously, and possibly Noel Furlong or Liam O’Sullivan as well. Furthermore, considering the youth of many of the team’s players and the success of underage teams in Carrigtwohill in recent years, one suspects, if they can retain their management, that they’ll be around for a few more years yet.