Double honours is 'fairytale' stuff for Aghabullogue

Finishing out our chat with winning captain Paul Ring about the homecoming, 'Aghabullogue, it could be burned down tonight,' he quips.
Double honours is 'fairytale' stuff for Aghabullogue

VICTORY SEALED: Aghabullogue players and mentors celebrate after defeating Mitchelstown in the Bon Secours Cork IAFC final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Pic: Eddie O'Hare

Aghabullogue 2-13 Mitchelstown 1-15 

Aghabullogue were determined to write their own script this year. 

They must have been to come away from Páirc Uí Chaoimh on separate weekends with a single-point victory in the Cork IAHC and the IAFC finals.

They put themselves on the map a fortnight ago triumphing over Midleton, they returned yesterday to add the final chapter after pipping Mitchelstown in the football.

Ahead 2-8 to 0-6 at half-time, they were put to the pin of their collar with the north Cork side fighting back to score 1-2 in stoppage.

It was a historic day for the mid-Cork club, which is based in Coachford - many of them savouring victory on two fronts.

Finals lost in 2013, 2018 and 2022 made it all the sweeter.

“To win one county is magical, but to win two in two weeks is just fairytale,” inspirational captain Paul Ring said after he collected the John ‘Lock’ O’Sullivan Cup.

“Winning the hurling really stood to us. There was always savage effort going in behind the scenes, it all came good this year. Maybe we were a bit young, a bit naive. We have proved ourselves now.

“I think it is 14 games unbeaten. That is a great stat, it is just testament to the lads. Every fella was putting his shoulder to the wheel.

“We knew Páirc Uí Chaoimh would suit us. We are not the biggest team, but we are fast. We knew on a big pitch if we could get the ball and move it quickly we could punish teams. We always have it in us to score goals.” 

Goals in the eighth and 13th minute from Cialan O’Sullivan and David Thompson proved pivotal. Contributions from everywhere, including man-of-the-match John Corkery.

‘It is just reward for John. He is after a great year in hurling and football. He is one of the older fellas on the panel, I think he is 30. He was in Australia for three years. He shows great leadership because we have a lot of young fellas on the panel.

“Ian O’Sullivan as well, he saved twice. We have three good goalkeepers and a good goalkeeping coach Shane O’Leary. They drive each other on. We have full faith in Ian.” 

While Mitchelstown were dealt a major blow with the news county senior Cathail O’Mahony would play no part due to injury, it was ironic it was the opposition’s forward line was on fire.

One of those Matthew Bradley, caused all sorts of problems in both showdowns.

“Our purple patch really hurt Mitchelstown. It came at the right time for us,” he remarked. “We had a lot of energy going out there. We were very sluggish starting against Kilshannig last year so we didn’t want to find ourselves in that position.

“At the start of the year if you told me I’d be in two county finals, I would have shook my head a small bit. Now that we have done it, it is so special. I can’t really put it into words.” 

There was plenty of experience on the Mitchelstown team too, and they deserve a lot of credit for the manner in which they fought back - the goal from a penalty in the 63rd minute by their skipper Shane Cahill made for a nervy finish, despite being reduced to 14 due to Cormac Hyland’s late black card.

Finishing out our chat with Ring about the homecoming, “Aghabullogue, it could be burned down tonight,” he quips.

Scorers for Aghabullogue: D Thompson (1-2), A O’Sullivan (0-4, 0-1 free), C O’Sullivan (1-0), M Bradley (0-3, 0-1 free), J Corkery (0-2), L Casey (free) and R Dennehy (0-1 each).

Scorers for Mitchelstown: S Beston (0-4), S Cahill (1-0 pen), S Walsh, S O'Sullivan, D Reidy Price and M Walsh (0-1 free) (0-2 each), C Hyland, J O'Sullivan and M Keane (free) (0-1 each).

AGHABULLOGUE: I O’Sullivan; B O’Sullivan, S Tarrant, B Casey; A Murphy, P Ring (Capt), C Smith; R Dennehy, C Gillespie; J Corkery, M Bradley, A O’Sullivan; D Thompson, E O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan.

Subs: M Dennehy for A Murphy (5 inj), T Long for B O’Sullivan (27 inj), B Dineen for B Casey (44), L Casey for C O’Sullivan (52), P O’Sullivan for M Bradley (56).

MITCHELSTOWN: L Hanna; L Finn, F Herlihy, K Roche; J O’Sullivan, M Keane, P Magee; R Donegan, S Walsh; S O’Sullivan, D Reidy Price, M Walsh; D Dineen, S Cahill (Capt), S Beston.

Subs: C Hyland for P Magee, D Flynn for R Donegan (both 24), J Sheehan for D Dineen (26), S Kenneally for J Sheehan (34 inj).

Referee: Brian Coniry (Crosshaven).

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