St. Brogan's College 2 - 4 Skibbereen Community School
Report by Sean Spenser
The first game of the Cork Cup was never going to be an easy game, but you could argue the draw was kind to Skibbereen with an away trip to Bandon in a game where they were big favourites going into the game.
Nine minutes in, Isaac Harte picked the ball up and beat three men with a drop of the shoulder and some nice skill. He had nothing else going on so decided to have a strike from 20 odd yards out. It wasn't the cleanest of strikes and was rapidly dipping as it was approaching the goalkeeper. It sneaked in just under the keepers body to make it 1 - 0. It looked like the game would be business as usual! Just after the kick-off Jamie O' Driscoll produced a magnificent piece of skill to nutmeg his man and laid it off to Isaac Harte on the edge of the box. He decided to shoot from distance again, this time striking the bar!
Twenty five minutes in Bandon won a questionable free-kick when Thomás O' Mahony was shielding the ball near the box and the referee said it was obstruction. This was not the first poor refereeing decision in this match and it wouldn't be the last! Skibbereen were clearly annoyed by this decision and as the ball came in no one was concentrating. The Bandon player was given a free header which Cormac McCarthy just managed to get his fingertips to, but it just struck the post and went in. Half time came at 1-1 which Skibbereen would've been very disappointed with.
After thirty six minutes a Bandon corner was put in and another free header from a Bandon player saw the ball trundle into the bottom right corner. 2 - 1! Just like that a total reversal of the game! In the 44th minute a ball into the box allowed Jamie O' Driscoll to head the ball at the goal, while an unorthodox attempt from him, he gave it a good effort. However as the ball hit the back of the net the ref disallowed the goal. He said Isaac Harte made an action towards the ball when he tried to head it as well. Only problem with this decision was that Isaac Harte was onside! The defender on the line was keeping him onside the whole time! It was clear that Skibbereen would not get the rub of the green when it came to refereeing decisions in this match!
One minute later James McCarthy fought to win back the ball and then keep the ball off of three Bandon players, all of which were bigger than him! The poor decision had ignited something deep inside him as he held off three players at once allowing him time to play the ball to Isaac Harte. Isaac had the easy task of beating a man on the edge of the box and drilling it into the bottom left corner. I say easy because everything seemed easy for Isaac Harte in this game!
In the 50th minute Isaac picked it up on the halfway line. He spun his man and played a through ball to Jamie O' Driscoll to run onto. He got there before his man, but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Fortunately it fell kindly allowing him to have a second bite at the cherry. He made no mistake and all people involved in Skibbereen let out a sigh of relief (along with a terrific roar) as they saw the ball roll across the line into the back of the net. 3 - 2 and Skibbereen were finally back in the lead. On the 56th minute Isaac Harte took a long shot to try and bury the game. His shot struck the very left of the crossbar and bounced away. It looked like he would not secure his hat-trick that his performance deserved.
Alas, 2 minutes before the full time whistle Robbie Minihane cleared the ball and it fell to Isaac Harte on the halfway line. He powered through with the ball to make it one on one with the keeper. He calmly slotted home to the keepers left. A hat-trick and a win secured in the bag.
After a myriad of bad refereeing decisions it looked like Skibbereen may have lost hope. However a couple of unsung heroes pulled the team together and made sure to do the dirty work leaving Isaac Harte to steal the headlines and score a bag of goals.
Man of the Match: Isaac Harte - On a day where there was a fantastic team performance which showed great character and resilience to come back after being pegged back there was only one man who could have got the Man of the Match award. With a hat-trick and an assist he was superb and was a real driving force. On multiple occasions he turned defence into attack due to his shear willingness to run at players and take them on. There are no more superlatives to describe his performance as words cannot explain the quality of the performance he had out there today.
Starting XI: Cormac McCarthy, Feilim O'Donovan, John Leahy, Robbie Minihane, Tomás O'Mahony, James McCarthy, James O'Neill, Jamie O'Driscoll, Liam McCarthy, Isaac Harte, Donnacha Maguire.
Substitutes: Jack O' Brien (Donnacha Maguire), Eoin Murran (John Leahy)
Big thanks to St. Brogans for having us down. Unfortunate weather and pitch conditions, but the match was still very enjoyable. We wish you the best of luck in all of your future sporting escapades!