Russell Rovers GAA

21 August, 2018

Russell Rovers GAA Club

Russell Rovers 2-9 Bride Rovers 0-11

On Saturday last in Pairc na nGael, Ballinacurra our footballers captured the East Cork Junior B title for only the second time in their history, the first being all of 32 years ago in 1986. This was our third final in four years and many people were beginning to think we would never lay hands on the Michael ‘Boig’ Coleman Cup again but the current management and coach have instilled a winning mentality into this fine bunch of players. This was never more evident than in the last 5 minutes of normal time and 8 minutes of stoppage time when our goal lay under siege. Our defence stood resolute and repelled attack after attack to deny Bride Rovers the goal they needed to get back into the game.

We had wind advantage in the opening half but it was Bride Rovers who registered the first score, a point in the 3rd minute. We had to wait all of 13 minutes for our opening score which was a moment of brilliance worth waiting for. A great through ball by Daniel O’Brien found Brian Hartnett in space and he set the back of the net dancing with a clinical finish. Chris Ruddy pointed a free won by Brian Whelehan and then we saw another moment of magic in the 19th minute when Luke Murray, Kevin Moynihan and the Whelehan brothers combined well to lay off the final pass to Ruddy and the back of the net shook for the second time.

Kevin Moynihan won a free in the 23rd minute which Chris converted and a minute later Moynihan again provided the pass for Ruddy to score from play to which he added another two minutes later. Our backs had kept the Rathcormac side scoreless

from the 3rd minute until deep into stoppage time when they pointed a free after Kevin Ivers “took one for the team” (yellow card) when our goal look threatened.

The half-time score of 2-4 to 0-2 may have looked comfortable but with Bride Rovers turning to play with the stiff breeze we knew we were going to be put under severe pressure in the second half. They began to launch missiles down on top of their dangerous full-forward from Spiddal but our mentors moved to curtail his influence by introducing veteran Anthony Archer off the bench who proceeded to make his presence felt. Two early white flags from Bride Rovers were cancelled out by points from Eoin McGrath and Chris Ruddy with Bud Hartnett and Brian Whelehan providing the passes.

Another brace of points from Bride Rovers prompted our mentors to introduce Josh Beausang and what an impact he made! He began to run at the tiring opposition, scored a good point in the 20th minute and turned provider for a Bud point two minutes later. Ian Smiddy then came on for Kevin Moynihan who had given his all and in the 23rd minute Ruddy kicked over our last score from a free after JP Ivers had been fouled to put us 8 points ahead.

As mentioned at the top of the report, Bride Rovers began to bombard us with high deliveries into the square which yielded 4 points (0-3f) but they failed to breach Dan Ruddy’s goal. Late in the game we all held our breath as Dan went down to smother the ball followed by a heap of bodies on top of him but we were able to breath a sigh of relief when the outcome was a throw-in ball on the 13 metre line. We breathed a bigger sigh of relief when the referee Robert Whelan blew the full time whistle.

Everyone on the field contributed hugely to this badly needed victory, including those who were substituted and even those who didn’t get a run.

Great to see club stalwarts John Paul Ivers and Anthony Archer collect those elusive East Cork football medals. It’s now onwards and upwards to the County next month.

Well done to the Manager Mike Mannion, coach Frank Flannery and selector Tommy Whelehan who is a link to the 1986 team.

Team: Dan Ruddy; Eoin McGrath, John Paul Ivers, Kevin O’Brien; Kevin Ivers, Jack McGrath, Daniel O’Brien; Luke Murray, James Kennefick; David Whelehan, Chris Ruddy, Brian Whelehan; Fintan Murray, Brian Hartnett (Capt), Kevin Moynihan.

Subs: Anthony Archer, Josh Beausang, Ian Smiddy, James Ahern, Kiaran Aherne, Cormac Aherne, Alan Linehan, Ross Walsh, Sean Gilsenan, Daniel Moynihan, Aidan Beausang, Eoghan O’Sullivan, Alan Cott, Kieran Walsh, Paul Lane.

For the record, the team of 1986 lined out as follows:

Redmond Walsh (RIP); Ollie Steel, Gene McGrath, Anthony Smiddy; Tom Aherne, Tom Whelehan, John O’Driscoll (RIP) (Capt); Pa Murray, John Fleming, Mossy Tattan, David O’Brien, Haulie Walsh; Harry Walsh, Christy O’Sullivan, Mossy Murray.


With celebrations put on hold, we travel to Carrigtwohill next Saturday, 25th Aug to play Erins Own in the quarter-final of the JAHC. Throw-in is timed for 3pm.

This is a huge game for us and we will have our work cut out to repeat last year’s win over the same opposition. Please support the lads in big numbers.

Please check locally for updates on this fixture as there is a slight doubt about the venue at the time of going to press.