Russell Rovers GAA

05 November, 2018

Russell Rovers GAA

Russell Rovers 3-15 Castletownbere 1-10

History was created in Páirc Uí Rinn last Saturday night when Russell Rovers captured their first ever County title at adult level by winning the Jim Cronin Cup in the Junior B Inter-Divisional football championship and did so in some style.

This same group of players had already made club history back in September when they got Russell Rovers name inscribed on the Jamesey Kelleher trophy for the very first time but showed on Saturday night they are equally adept with the big ball.

A below par display against Castletownbere would have been understandable and excusable following their heart-breaking defeat to Cloughduv in the County Junior A Hurling Final the previous Saturday but instead they got up on the horse’s back to show they were hell-bent on atoning for that set-back and Castletownbere bore the brunt of it.

For those of us who have been following Rovers teams for a long number of years, this must surely rank as our finest football display ever. With their sheer pace and fitness they exploited the wide open spaces of Páirc Uí Rinn and I’m sure many of the team would love to play every game at this venue. We exploded out of the blocks from the throw-in and the men from the Beara Division didn’t know what hit them.

After only 5 minutes of play we had raced into a 0-5 to 0-0 lead which could have been more if Bud Hartnett’s low shot to the far corner had squeezed inside the post instead of just inches wide.

With Eoghan O’Sullivan, Eoin McGrath, Brian Whelehan. Paul Lane, Daniel O’Brien James Kennefick and particularly Kieran Walsh making driving runs through the middle, Chris Ruddy, Josh Beausang, Bud and Fintan Murray had the Castletownbere rearguard in all sorts of trouble.

It took the Beara men 15 minutes to register their first score and only added two more points before the break. Josh raised our first green flag in the 17th minute with Bud claiming our second goal in stoppage time. Points by Chris (0-5), Josh (0-2), Bud (0-1) and Eoghan (0-1) gave us a comfortable half-time lead of 2-9 to 0-3.

Second half points by Chris (0-3), Josh (0-1), Luke Murray (0-1) and a beauty from John Paul Ivers, along with a well-converted penalty by Bud (after Jack McGrath had been taken down in the square), ensured we were always in complete control of the game even though Castletownbere, with wind advantage, outscored us by 1-7 to 1-6 in this half with their consolation goal coming shortly before the final whistle.

The Jim Cronin Cup was presented to outstanding Captain, Brian Hartnett, by the Chairperson of the County Board, Tracey Kennedy, to great applause from the large Rovers following.

While I am always loathe to pick out individual players, I think the Man-of-the-Match gong should go to Kieran Walsh for his huge work rate over the hour, though there were several other serious contenders, including Chris Ruddy with his 8 points haul.

On behalf of the hard-working Committee and our fantastic supporters I would like to thank the team for the marvellous enjoyment and excitement you have provided during the year even if it was heart-stopping stuff at times! And it’s not over yet with the Division 1 hurling league final to come next Saturday, along with a Junior C hurling championship semi-final later.

Special thanks to Manager Michael Mannion, Coaches Frank Flannery and Niall O’Halloran, Eoin Ivers and all the back-room team for making 2018 the greatest year ever in the club’s history. A lot of people may not be aware of the huge amount of work that these people have put in to achieve the success we have enjoyed.

Team: Dan Ruddy; Aidan Beausang, John Paul Ivers, Kevin O’Brien; Paul Lane, James Kennefick, Daniel O’Brien; Eoghan O’Sullivan, Eoin McGrath; Brian Whelehan, Kieran Walsh, Brian Hartnett (Capt); Fintan Murray, Chris Ruddy, Josh Beausang.

Subs: Luke Duggan-Murray, Kevin Moynihan, David Whelehan, Daniel Moynihan, Jack McGrath, Anthony Archer (all used), James Ahern, Alan Linehan, Ian Smiddy, Cormac Aherne, Kiaran Aherne, Kevin Ivers, Alan Cott, Sean Gilsenan.

Fixtures:

JHL Div 1 Final: versus St Itas, Saturday 10th November at 3.15pm in Castlemartyr.

Please note the throw-in time may be brought forward if the weather forecast suggests there may be a risk of insufficient daylight to finish the game. Please check locally for updates.

JCHC Semi-final: Draw and fixtures expected to take place by the week-end when the fourth semi-final spot between Midleton v Sarsfields is known. The other semi-finalists are Bride Rovers, Carraig na bhFear and Russell Rovers.