A pair of winning points of real quality from Darragh Fitzgibbon, at the end of the second period of extra-time, finally put daylight between these two teams after a pulsating and fiercely contested Cork SHC first round at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday.
In a contest full of so many thrills and spills, the newly crowned Premier intermediate champions stepped up to the challenge leaving Erin’s Own — who go to round two — crestfallen after their two-point defeat.
Erin’s Own — without the injured Robbie O’Flynn and Sean Kelly — trailed by two points as the action came to a finish at the end of a hectic 60 minutes plus, but their response was terrific. Brothers Kieran and Eoghan Murphy, operating at opposite ends of the field, coming to the rescue in dramatic fashion. Eoghan, who was immense, contributing an outstanding 1-13, converted a free while impressive goalkeeper Kieran bombed a huge point from play at the death.
Erin’s Own moved one in front at the end of the first period of extra-time (1-24 to 1-23). The see-saw nature continued, Charleville edging it by the time excellent referee Conor Lane called time on a thrilling spectacle during which the teams were tied four times in the first half and were still deadlocked 10 minutes into the second half. Erin’s Own then hit a purple patch to streak seven ahead but Charleville struck back to go two up before it ended 1-19 apiece.
No wonder Charleville coach Ben O’Connor had a smile on his face. Of Fitzgibbon, who totalled a hefty 14 points, he said: “Who else would you want to get the ball to in that situation. He will make the runs, and we have the boys to pop it to him.
“They are all fairly fit. They are good to go with the ball. That is our game. We just wanted them to go. At half-time in extra-time, I said that is what all the running and training is about. It was hard physical running they were at. Their fitness stood to them. We were looking forward to this all week.
“Ten minutes to go, I thought our boys were flying. We were two points down at half-time but we were in the game. We said to them; first time senior we are in the game, two points down and half an hour to go. Still in the game, that is what we were looking for.”
Charleville, with a man-of-the-match performance from lion-hearted corner back Darren Butler, trailed 0-11 to 0-9 at the interval but had they been more ruthless in front of goal, they could have been in the ascendancy — Andrew Cagney came closest, his goalbound shot stopped on the line by Jack Sheehan.
Tied 0-13 apiece on 40 minutes, the momentum swung Erin’s Own’s way. They piled on the pressure scoring 1-4 without reply — the goal an incredible flicked effort from Eoghan Murphy who benefited from the good work of Maurice O’Carroll and
Andrew Power, Mark Collins too playing a big part.
Charleville staged a tremendous turnaround, not alone did they wipe out the seven-point deficit, they led by two. An inspirational goal from Cagney, who ran half the length of the field, proving to be the catalyst. The Murphys delivered in stoppage time to ensure parity, with extra-time to follow.
“This gives us a chance to stay up senior. We will have to up the pace a small bit, that is faster than anything we have played,” said O’Connor. “That is the standard.
“If we were beaten, we would have no hope of staying up. The big knobs at the top table, they decide that. We are trying for the last three years to come up senior, and they were trying themselves before that. Then the first year we come up. everything is put in your way to keep you down.
“We have no guarantees. That is the way they have it done. Why didn’t they have relegation for the last two or three years? We don’t think it is fair. Effectively we have to win two more matches to stay up senior. We will fight away.
“No point in getting bitter over it,” he grinned.
Scorers for Charleville:
D Fitzgibbon (0-14, 0-8 frees, 0-1 65), A Cagney (1-2), J Doyle (0-3), D Casey and T Hawe (0-2 each), C Carroll, K O’Connor, D O’Flynn and M Kavanagh (0-1 each).
Scorers for Erin’s Own:
E Murphy (1-13, 0-8 frees, 0-1 65), M Collins (0-5), A Power (0-2), S Murphy, K Murphy, J O’Carroll, S Horgan and G O’Mahony.
C Collins; D Butler, J Meade, F Cagney; A Dennehy, J Buckley (Capt), C Carroll; K O’Connor, J O’Callaghan; D Casey, J Doyle, D O’Flynn; C Buckley, D Fitzgibbon, A Cagney.
T Hawe for C Buckley (43), M Kavanagh for D Casey (52), D Casey for D O’Flynn (65).
K Murphy; P Fitzgerald, C Dooley (Capt), J Sheehan; C O’Mahony, S Murphy, S Cronin; C O’Connor, J O’Carroll; M Collins, M O’Carroll, S Horgan; A Power, J O’Flynn, E Murphy.
I O’Mahony for C O’Connor (58), G O’Mahony for S Horgan (60), R Twomey for J O’Carroll (69), D Twomey for P Fitzgerald (70).
Conor Lane (Banteer).