Battling Beaufort win Munster JFC title after extratime thriller
BEAUFORT bounced brilliantly into the limelight to collect the AIB Munster JAFC from a battling Dromtariffe at the end of a compelling decider in Mallow last Sunday. Ultimately, it came down to the survival of the fittest in 80 odd minutes, high on octane fare from the first to the last phase of play before the Kerry champions shaded the outcome.
On doing so, Beaufort were required to dig deep, raising their level of performance big time during the second half to erase a six point deficit. Operating with far more urgency, Beaufort got their hands on real possession to make it count and alter the scoreboard in their favour.
Again outsiders Dromtariffe rattled into the tackles with such intent that Beaufort could never shake the men in red and white that produced the will to force extra time. From the subsequent play, a wasteful Beaufort did make a degree of possession count, crucially mustering up the required response to shade the outcome in a low scoring additional 20 minutes by 0-2 to 0-1.
A setback for Beaufort in the pre match warm up, an injury to play-maker and influential centre forward Liam Carey robbed the Kerry champions of an all important linkman. That forced the introduction of Daragh Coffey into attack with Ciarán Kennedy moving to the 40.
The change of personnel didn’t seem to impinge on Beaufort early on, laying down a marker inside 45 seconds, team captain Nathan Breen took a return pass from Padraig Doona to drill home a fine goal. With the Breens, Nathan and Mike on top at midfield, Beaufort drove forward at pace yet the Dromtariffe defence, once settled, stood up admirably to a number of dangerous sorties.
GoalKeeper Dan Mann denied Doona of another goal before the Beaufort no.10 pointed for a clear 1-2 to
0-1 advantage. Though playing with the aid of the breeze, Dromtariffe appeared to be in trouble, their resolve faced a massive challenge.
To their credit, the response was magnificent, defensively, the Howard brothers and Jack Murphy stood tall as did the magnificent Conor O’Callaghan and Adam Buckley created inroads in the centre.
Up front Daniel O’Keeffe and Evan Murphy troubled Beaufort, the ploy of shifting veteran midfielder Seamus O’Sullivan to full forward, paying dividends, picking up a delivery from Shane Collins to net for parity.
Sharper in the tackle, Dromtariffe’s rising confidence became obvious, O’Keeffe pointing on the double. Though Beaufort’s efforts didn’t drop, they found it difficulty to generate scoring chances, breaking a 15 minute barren run from a neat Kennedy point.
Still Dromtariffe dominated, to limit the growing impact of 2017 Under 17 All Ireland hurling medallist O’Callaghan, Beaufort moved skipper Breen onto the skilful dual player. If anything, Dromtariffe grew on the ascendency, Mark O’Connor put through only for ‘keeper Michael Moriarty to save but the perfectly positioned O’Sullivan netted the rebound to construct a healthy 2-6 to 1-3 lead at the break.
On the restart, Beaufort cranked up the intensity, some nervous moments within the Dromtariffe defence as the opposition attacked with menace, Ciarán Kennedy delivered an encouraging score. However, the tactic of quick direct ball into attack failed to reap its potential, poor shooting impinged on the Beaufort game.
Meanwhile, Dromtariffe were capable of intercepting the onslaught, points to O’Keeffe and Denis O’Donoughue helped restore a six points advantage(2-9 to 1-6). But not for the first time in the campaign, Beaufort worked their way through the channels, the chance ratio increased, typified on a long ball from Doona created havoc within the Dromtariffe rearguard, Kennedy made the most of the hesitancy to net.
That score ignited Beaufort, throwing down the challenge, defenders Ger Harnett and Jonathan Kissane made telling contributions as did the two Breens in the centre with Fergal Hallissey and Kennedy a major threat up front.
Indeed, the attacking flair of Beaufort proved a major burden for Dromtariffe, points from Kennedy and Niall O’Connor levelled matters before the enterprising Hallissey nudged the Kerry side ahead twice.
Far from being out of the equation, Dromtariffe required a big response and it materialised from massive points by O’Keeffe and O’Callaghan. With both sets of supporters on tenterhooks in nail biting additional time, the two sides searched for a winner, the best chance fell to Beaufort, Mike Breen found Kennedy who lined up at the post only for a heroic block from Seán Howard forced stalemate at 2-11 apiece.
Even the fans in the stand and terrace were drained, applauding two combatants off the field for a welcome short recess ahead of extra time. On their return, Beaufort possessed previous experience of encountering this type of situation emerged, a number of substitutes created an impact, most notably Seán Foley and Padraig O’Sullivan.
Enjoying a monopoly of possession, wayward shooting restricted Beaufort before Doona and Hallissey popped over all important points. With both sides tiring, the scores didn’t come as frequent as they did earlier, Beaufort limiting Dromtariffe to just a single white flag t to ensure the Munster silverware found a new home on the Kerry side of the