Ballymartle 2-12 Blackrock 0-17
An injury-time goal from Séamus Corry seized victory for Ballymartle as they denied Blackrock in the fourth round of the SHC at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday.
A late surge from Blackrock looked to have helped them advance to a quarter-final meeting with city neighbours Douglas, sub Olan Kelleher’s point putting them 0-17 to 1-12 ahead in the final minute of normal time.
Ballymartle’s record of reaching the last eight each year since being promoted in 2010 was under serious threat. When Corry lined up a free that must have been 100 yards from goal, his intention was to drop the sliotar into the danger area and hope that something happened. The Rockies’ defence was hindered by the sunlight in their eyes, however, and the ball travelled directly to the net.
There was time for Blackrock to seek an equaliser but their efforts were thwarted, with referee Conor Lane’s whistle sparking wild celebrations from the Riverstick contingent. When his heart-rate had returned to normal, manager Anthony McCarthy admitted his side had enjoyed good fortune.
"We were very lucky," he said, "but you make your own luck as well. We eased off after the first goal and they scraped back a few points and then went ahead but we kept going until the end.
"Maybe discipline let us down a bit because we gave away a lot of frees and they kept scoring from them, that’s something that we’ll have to look at ahead of the quarter-final.
"It’s where we want to be. We’re going to have to improve but it’s very heartening that we never let our heads drop."
For much a poor game, it looked like Ballymartle would edge matters in a straightforward fashion. Blackrock were largely reliant on captain David Cashman’s accuracy to keep in touch and when Killian McCarthy scored a lovely goal in the 39th minute, it put them 1-10 to 0-10 ahead.
After a good clearance by the impressive Patrick Dwyer, Barry Dwyer carried the ball towards goal with purpose and when he off-loaded, McCarthy doubled beautifully to the net. With Cashman the only scoring threat, Blackrock could only match them score for score, but after Barry Dwyer’s free to make it 1-12 to 0-13, Ballymartle retreated.
Progress beyond halfway was difficult, and they could have fallen behind had Rockies sub Cathal Cormack’s pulled effort not gone wide. As it was, Cashman and then Richard Dineen with an excellent long-range effort tied matters with four minutes left.
The city side had the momentum, and Cashman’s 12th point put them ahead for the first time since the 13th minute before Kelleher provided some breathing space before Corry’s stunner.
In the first half, things took a while to get going, the teams trading scores before Cork sub goalkeeper Darren McCarthy, operating as a third midfielder, began to take hold of proceedings and helped Ballymartle to get an upper hand.
Though not involved in his side’s first three points, Cashman managed five between the 24th and 33rd minutes to ensure Blackrock, for whom wing-back Gary Norberg was playing well, only trailed by 0-9 to 0-8 at half-time. Cashman would be just as heavily involved in the second period, but it would not be Blackrock’s day.
Scorers for Ballymartle: B Dwyer 0-5 (four frees), K McCarthy 1-1, Darren McCarthy 0-3 (one free), S Corry 1-0 (free), P Dwyer, B Corry, R Dwyer 0-1 each.
Scorers for Blackrock: D Cashman 0-12 (nine frees, one 65), R Dineen, E O’Farrell, D O’Farrell, P Deasy, O Kelleher 0-1 each.
BALLYMARTLE: Declan McCarthy; D Dwyer, M Tobin, TJ Murphy; P Dwyer, S Corry, C Coleman; S O’Mahony, R Cahalane; B Dwyer, B Corry, D Dwyer; Darren McCarthy, R Dwyer, K McCarthy.
Subs: J Kelly for TJ Murphy (10, injured), J Dwyer for S O’Mahony (50), D Edmunds for Cahalane (52).
BLACKROCK: G Aherne; A Hayes, B Aherne, S Murphy; E Smith, R Dineen, G Norberg; E O’Farrell, D O’Farrell; S O’Keeffe, P Deasy, C O’Leary; K O’Keeffe, D Cashman, M Ryan.
Subs: C Cormack for O’Leary (34), O Kelleher for K O’Keeffe (40), A O’Callaghan for Ryan (44), G O’Regan for Deasy (51).
Referee: C Lane (Banteer).