A last-gasp extra-time point by Whitechurch player Sean Keane salvaged a draw for UCC in a highly entertaining opening round tie in the divisions-colleges section of the Cork SHC in Cloughduv last night.
Keane did brilliantly to split the posts in the 81st minute just as UCC looked destined for defeat, following an outstanding goal moments previously by Carbery attacker Mark Sugrue who had been set up by a great run by Cork senior midfielder Darren Sweetnam.
A draw was the most justified conclusion to a game that had Carbery as the superior force in the opening-half of normal time. The divisional team manufactured a 1-8 to 0-6 lead by the interval. The green flag was raised by Jamie Wall, who had been involved with the Cork U21 footballers on Wednesday night along with Sugrue, while Maurice Sexton and Eoin Kelly struck some neat points.
UCC lined out without seven members of their victorious Fitzgibbon Cup side as a mixture of inter-county and study commitments ruling out Tipperary trio Shane Bourke, Stephen Maher and James Barry, and the Waterford quartet of Philip and Pauric Mahony, Darragh Fives and Brian O’Sullivan. However their fortunes improved in the second-half and despite trailing by 1-10 to 0-7 in the 36th minute, they mounted a brilliant revival.
Even though Sugrue cracked home a great goal for Carbery in the 45th minute, UCC kept chipping away. William Egan, Willie Griffin and Dan McCormack all hit points to push them into a slender 0-17 to 2-10 advantage by the 61st minute yet Kelly rescued Carbery with the injury-time point that ensured additional periods were required.
In extra-time, UCC made the early headway and led 0-21 to 2-13 at the midway juncture, but Carbery fought back and Ross Cashman left the minimum between the sides, 0-23 to 2-16 when converting a long-range free in the 77th minute. Harnedy looked to have fired the insurance point for UCC but the game finished in a welter of excitement through Sugrue’s stunning goal and Keane’s vital point in response.
Scorers for Carbery: M Sugrue 2-1, E Kelly 0-5 (0-2f), M Sexton 0-4 (0-2f, 0-1 ’65), J Wall 1-1, G O’Driscoll, F Keane 0-2 each, R Cashman 0-1 (0-1f).
Scorers for UCC: S Harnedy, W Griffin (0-5f) 0-5 each, W Egan 0-4 (0-2f, 0-1 ’65), J Ahern, M Howard 0-3 each, D McCormack 0-2, M Grace, S Keane, A O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
CARBERY: J McSweeney (Bandon); C O’Driscoll (St Oliver Plunkett’s), J O’Donovan (Bandon), D Hickey (Kilbrittain); D Lucey (Bandon), R Cashman (Kilbrittain), G O’Driscoll (Newcestown); D Sweetnam (Dohenys), M Sexton (Kilbrittain); M Sugrue (Bandon), F Keane (Newcestown), D Crowley (Bandon); E Kelly (Newcestown), D Twomey (Newcestown), J Wall (Kilbrittain).
Subs: E O’Donovan (Bandon) for Crowley (54), D Coffey (Kilbree) for Twomey (54).
UCC: P O’Brien (St Ita’s, Cork); K Ryan (Ruan, Clare), J O’Callaghan (Inniscarra, Cork), T Curran (Ballinameela, Waterford); A Hannigan (Shannon Rovers, Tipperary), P Prendergast (Lismore, Waterford), W Egan (Kilbrin, Cork); A O’Sullivan (Castlelyons, Cork), J Roche (Ballyhooly, Cork); D McCormack (Borrisoleigh, Tipperary), S Harnedy (St Ita’s, Cork), M Grace (Mooncoin, Kilkenny); M Howard (Passage, Cork), J Cassin (Rower-Inistioge, Kilkenny), W Griffin (Adare, Limerick).
Subs: N Kennedy (Granagh-Ballingarry, Limerick) for Roche (half-time), J Ahern (Killeedy, Limerick) for Cassin (half-time), B Bergin (Clonakenny, Tipperary) for Hannigan (39), M Fitzgibbon (Feohanagh/Castlemahon) for Kennedy (52), S Keane (Whitechurch, Cork) for Fitzgibbon (71).
Referee: Conor Lane (Banteer).