Kanturk and Cill Na Martra served up a football treat in horrific weather conditions in Millstreet on Saturday.
But it was the Duhallow outfit — thanks to an Aidan Walsh goal in the first half, and a double blast from Cork U20 star Daniel O’Connell and Ian Walsh — that advance to a Cork Premier IFC semi-final for the first time.
Both sides deserve massive credit for producing such a high standard of football in the downpour that prevailed for the 66 minutes.
Playing against the driving wind and rain, Kanturk were quick to signal their intentions when Paul Walsh pointed after only 20 seconds and when Ian Walsh and O’Connell fired over two more, it was the perfect impetus for the Duhallow side.
Micheál Ó Deasúna did get a point back for Cill Na Martra but it was Kanturk, with Lorcan McLoughlin and O’Connell in superb form, who were running the show as they led 0-5 to 0-2 after the opening quarter with O’Connell’s second point a real cracker.
But Cill Na Martra hit back swiftly. Tadgh Ó Corcora, Shane Ó Duinnín, and Dan Ó Duinnín all found the target as the Gaeltacht men began to get their act together, with Micheál Ó Deasúna a big influence now and he levelled the tie in the 22nd minute with a fine point.
But in the 25th minute they were rocked when Ryan Walsh set up Aidan Walsh and the Cork senior hurler gave goalkeeper Antóin Ó Conaill no chance from close range. It enabled his side to lead 1-5 to 0-7 at the break, with the wind and rain at their backs for the second half.
Substitute Damien Ó hUrdail was a big influence for Cill Na Martra, scoring two quick-fire points after the break to put his side ahead for the only time, but that’s as good as it got. Ian Walsh soon tied things up again and then those destructive two goals in the 42nd and 43rd minutes, the first from O’Connell and the next a real opportunist effort from Ian Walsh after a goalmouth scramble, and Kanturk were on their way, leading 3-6 to 0-10 entering the final quarter.
Ó hUrdail had his third point for Cill Na Martra in the 47th minute, and it took a fine save by a Kanturk keeper Jordan Fullerton to deny substitute Maidhchí Ó Duinnín a goal as the Gaeltacht men attacked at every opportunity.
Sub Máirtín Ó Conchúir and Micheál Ó Deasúna got the deficit down to three, but the biggest cheer came for Kanturk’s clinching point from centre back Lorcan O’Neill in the 66th minute.
No wonder Kanturk selector Jerome Walsh was pleased. “We are delighted with the performance in such testing conditions. Our first Premier semi-final now on the way against St Michael’s and now we have all our hurlers back we are looking forward to having a crack at it.
“We beat a very fancied Cill Na Martra side today, with the goals doing us a big favour. I was very pleased the way we started the game and we never let our intensity slip,” he said.
Scorers for Kanturk: D. O’Connell (1-3), P. Walsh (0-1), A. Walsh (1-0), I. Walsh (1-2), M. Healy (free), L. O’Neill (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cill Na Martra: M. Ó Deasúna 0-4 (0-2 frees), D. Ó hUrdail (0-3), S. Ó Duinnín 0-2, D Ó Duinnín, T Ó Corcoran, S. Ó Cheallacháin, M. Ó Conchúir (0-1 each).
J. Fullerton; J. McLoughlin, D. Browne, D. O’Connor; L. McLoughlin, L. O’Neill, A. Sheehy; P. Walsh, A. Walsh; M. Healy, R. Walsh, D. O’Connell; I. Walsh, C. Clernon, J. Fitzpatrick.
Subs: J. Carver for Sheehy (46min), L.O’Keeffe for Clernon (55m).
A. Ó Conaill; D Mac Lochlainn, , G. Ó Mocháin, E. Ó Loinsigh; S. Ó Foirréidh, N. Ó Laoire, S Ó Ceallachair; G Goillidhe, F. Ó hÉalaithe; D Ó Duinnín, M Ó Deasúna, D. Ó Conaill; C Ó Duinnín , T. Ó Corcora, S Ó Duinnín.
Subs: D Ó hUrdail for Ó hÉalaithe(ht), M Ó Conchúir for C. Ó Duinnín (35), C. Ó Laoire for Ó Céilleachair 36m), M. Ó Duinnín for S. Ó Duinnín (47m).
Referee: M. Sheehan (Liscarroll).