On Sunday 15th November the curtain came down on Mizen Rovers playing season in a U16 League Final against neighbours Muintir Bhaire. This match was fixed for Ballydehob originally but due to heavy rain in the previous Friday and busy schedule the following week the pitch was unavailable so then it was either Durrus or Goleen pitch as the match had to be played if at all possible. After a pitch inspection on Saturday evening the Goleen pitch got the green light providing no more heavy rain fell between that and throw in on Sunday at 1.30pm and thankfully held off until after the match.
This was the third meeting of Mizen and Muintir Bhaire at this age group this year. On both the previous matches the Goleen lads came out on top with a comfortable margin but at the back of our minds we also knew that Muintir Bhaire had beat Glengarriff in the league and ran them close in the championship which Mizen had failed to do on two outings.
Sam Coughlan as captain won the toss and opted to play with the strong wind which blew down the pitch from the west. The Mizen lads knew that they had to make full advantage of the first half wind as they would have to defend against it in the second half with the possibility of the threatened rain as well. Early exchanges were close with Muintir Bhaire defending well but in the sixth minute Michael Sheehan broke through to score a great point and open the Mizen account, this was followed quickly by a point from Sam Coughlan then another Michael Sheehan point and Matthew Sheehan opened his tally with a point and them followed that with a great goal to rattle the Muintir Bhaire net for the first time. Sam Coughlan now in full flight and leading by example scored two points in the trot before Michael O’Reilly opened his account with a mighty long range point all of forty yards out and them Mark O’Reilly hit they net for the Goleen lads second goal and then Mark followed this with a lovely point. Matthew and Michael Sheehan scored another point each before Matthew finished off the first half scoring with another great goal. Muintir Bhaire only scored one point in the first half which due mainly to some great goal keeping and defending by the Mizen defence. Half time score Mizen Rovers 3-10 Muintir Bhaire 0-01.
Starting the second half the Goleen lads facing into the strong wind knew they would have to defend strongly and try and prevent Muintir Bhaire from any hope of a quick come back, Two of the Mizen forwards Michael & Matthew Sheehan dropped back behind midfield to strengthen the Mizen defence which worked well as it limited Muintir Bhaire to only two points early in this half with the Mizen lads starting to go forward again and Michael Sheehan as he did in the first half opened the Mizen account with a great point. Michael O’Reilly now playing some great football and back to his best topped over another point which he followed with a great strike from the penalty spot to score Mizen’s fourth goal and then from the kick out the ball was won by the Mizen lads and sent back in and Michael O’Reilly hit the net. Muintir Bhaire then got a goal back to give them some hope but unfortunately for them this was to be their last score and it was quickly cancelled out with a fire goal from Mark O’Reilly. Then Michael O’Reilly scored another goal to complete his hat trick, followed by another point. Jack O’Driscoll came from behind to score a great goal. Full time score Mizen 8-13 Muintir Bhaire 1-03. In truth the score line didn’t do justice to Muintir Bhaire as the match was much more competitive than the score suggested but the Mizen lads played very well all over the field and were in no mood for letting this game slip away from them. Danny Cullinane was rock solid in goal and pulled off some fine saves during the match. Kieran O’Driscoll and Tadhg Reidy never put a foot wrong all day and mopped up everything that came their way. Jack O’Driscoll, Finnian Healy and Jake Coughlan were very strong in the half back line and broke up many a Muintir Bhaire attack and drove forward every chance they got. Sam Coughlan had another big game at midfield, Michael O’Reilly and Michael Sheehan posed a huge scoring threat to the Muintir Bhaire defence right throughout the match. John Supple unlucky not to get on the score sheet put in a lot of hard work around the middle and was pivoted in setting up a lot of the Mizen scores. Mark O’Reilly and Matthew Sheehan did a lot of damage in the forward line throughout the first half and always looked dangerous anytime the ball went in. Andrew O’Connor, Donnacha O’Donoghue and Jimmy O’Reilly came on in the second half and contributed well to the Mizen victory. Team: D. Cullinane, K. O’Driscoll, T. Reidy, J. Coughlan, F. Healy, J. Coughlan, S. Coughlan(Capt), M. O’Reilly, M. Sheehan, J. Supple, Ml. O’Reilly, M Sheehan, D. O’Donoghue, A. O’Connor & J. O’Regan.
After the match Gerdie Donovan, who refereed the game very impartially, presented the U16 league plaque to team captain Sam Coughlan. Both teams and travelling parents were treated to refreshments in the Community Centre, thanks to Colin Moynihan and staff from ‘Along the Way’ café for preparing the food. Thanks to Tommy Jermyn and Community Council for allowing the game to go ahead when a lot of other pitches were closed on the day. Also a huge thanks to Pat Moynihan for the expert way he had the pitch lined out, one would have to travel a long distance to find a pitch prepared to such a high standard as at had Goleen pitch on that day, and also thanks for doing the job at different times during the year sometimes at short notice. Thanks to the people who helped out with this team during the year, Cornelius Coughlan, Pat Reidy, Bob O’Leary, Maura O’Reilly and to the coaches John Cullinane and Noel Crowley who put a lot of sessions in with this team. Thankfully this was a good end to a long year!!