A Béara semi-final is always about getting a result! After a second-half capitulation which lead to a narrow defeat to Glengarriff just over 12 months ago, this match was always about restoring the hierarchy. On a pleasant Autumn day in Droum, the signals were positive before the match had begun. Well before kick-off, Garnish togged-out with a full panel of 30 players warming up at the western end.
Garnish got off to the perfect start with a well-worked interplay, which finished with a left curler over the bar from Fintan JL. Brian Walsh quickly followed with the game’s first goal and another from Fintan John L. However, poor defending and indiscipline inside the square led to referee, Martin Hegarty, calling a penalty and bringing Glengarriff back into the game. And this remained the pattern of the first half, Garnish majestic going forward but lethargic in defence, struggling to pull away despite their dominance. Jack Andy was rewarded for his phenomenal work-rate with a wonderfully taken point and some great build-up play from the creative John O’Driscoll and Cian O’Neill led a crafty placement to the corner of the net by Sean Terry. Yet, the 3-3 to 1-1 half-time scoreline only flattered to deceive.
Whatever was said at half-time, Garnish came out a different team and from the 39th minute Glengarriff relied heavily on frees to keep in touching distance. Matthew O’Leary began to dominate the full-back line and Dylan Henshaw answered any criticism with two majestic points, the second coming from winning the Glengarriff kickout on their 45, chipping it up and slotting it over the bar. Rory O’Driscoll completed the scoring on 59 mins with a 4-11 to 2-7 win.
Ross Murphy, Matthew O’Leary, Éanna Murphy, Tommy O’Sullivan, Darragh Henshaw, Rory O’Driscoll (0-1), Jack Andy (0-1), Brian Terry (0-2), Jerome Dwyer, Hugh Suanais, Brian Walsh (1-0), Sean Terry(1-3), Fintan JL (2-2), John ‘Driscoll, Cian O’Neill. Subs Dylan Henshaw (0-2), Darren Deery, Paul O’Neill, Dean Henshaw, Jamie O’Driscoll.
So, a Béara final and a County semi-final now beckons for this maturing side. Whilst Ollie Rue and his management team would like nothing more than to bring silverware back over the gap of Gour, much work is yet to be done. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of this win was the panel contribution. Indeed, the form of the talented Danny Harrington and the return from injury of Gary O’Sullivan suggests they were unlucky not to get game time. More importantly, a range of youngsters – Conor Andy, Darragh Flor, Stephen Lane, Traelach O’Connor, Tuan Millem suggests that any obituary for Ireland’s further GAA club from Croke Park is way too premature. The tradition of great Garnish team’s has its hallmarks in the DNA of this current Garnish squad.
How the team applies themselves against the bigger teams over the next few weeks will define their season!