Carbery Rangers (Cork) 1-13 The Nire (Waterford) 2-15 (AET)
By Michael Moynihan, Clonakilty
A storming second half proved crucial to The Nire in this lively Munster Club SFC semi-final which went to extra time, the Waterford men eventually besting Carbery Rangers of Cork to make it through to face Dr Crokes in the provincial decider.
The Cork side struck for the first goal of the game on eight minutes. A long Robbie Kiely clearance broke to John Hayes, who rolled the ball to the corner of the net: Brian Shanahan pointed well two minutes later.
The Nire rallied with three quick points, two from Brian Wall (one a free) and a goal chance Conor Gleeson put over the bar, before a Kevin McMahon point put Carbery a goal clear again, 1-3 to 0-3, on 16 minutes.
The Nire sniffed another goal chance out and when Dylan Guiry’s shot was deflected Ronan Milner in the Rangers goal had to be sharp to keep it out.
Two good Shanahan frees pushed the Cork side five ahead, only for Dylan Guiry to hit another Nire point, but John Hayes’s late free made it 1-6 to 0-4 at half-time.
Brian Wall (free) and sub. Kieran Fitzpatrick swapped scores on the resumption, but wing-back Jerry O’Riordan ranged forward for a fine score: Carbery six ahead on 37 minutes.
Then The Nire struck - a sweeping move ended with Gleeson rattling the crossbar from close range, but Liam Lawlor slotted the rebound expertly to the net. A Wall free and a fine Gleeson point from play and it was 1-7 to 1-8 with twenty minutes left, The Nire in full cry.
Brian Hodnett and Wall (free) swapped points before Gleeson levelled proceedings with ten minutes remaining and the game anybody’s. The Nire roared forward and Wall pointed yet another free to nudge his side ahead. John Hayes levelled matters in the 59th minute, but when Gleeson hit a fine point it looked enough for a dramatic Nire win.
With a last-gasp effort, however, Carbery sub. Seamus Hayes fisted over a dramatic equaliser.
In extra time Darren Guiry and Brian Shanahan swapped points, and then The Nire simply took over.
Sub Jake Mulcahy put his side one up, and then came the crucial score: a Gleeson cross broke kindly for Shane Walsh and he found the net calmly.
Gleeson hit another fine point and it was 2-14 to 1-12 at half-time in extra time.
Darren Guiry added yet another for The Nire on the resumption, but they needed a superb save by Tommy Wall to deny Carbery’s Seamus Hayes a certain goal on 73 minutes - Wall was injured, and substituted, in the process, but it was the play which made the game safe for his side.
Scorers for Carbery Rangers: J. Hayes (1-3, 0-3 frees); B. Shanahan (0-4, 0-2 frees); B. Hodnett (0-2); J. O’Riordan, K. Fitzpatrick, K. McMahon, S. Hayes (0-1 each).
Scorers for The Nire: B. Wall (0-6, 0-5 frees); C. Gleeson (0-5); L. Lawlor, S. Walsh (1-0 each); Darren Guiry (0-2 frees); J. Mulcahy, Dylan Guiry (0-1 each).
CARBERY RANGERS: R. Milner, M. Kelly, T. O’Rourke, S. Murray, J. O’Riordan, R. Kiely, P. Hodnett, B. Shanahan, J. Fitzpatrick, A. Jennings, B. Hodnett, K. McMahon, C. O’Donovan, C. O’Rourke, J. Hayes.
Subs: R. Hegarty for Murray (15); K. Fitzpatrick for C. O’Rourke (HT); S. Hayes for O’Donovan (43); M. Mennis for Jennings (44); A. Roche for Kelly (48); M. Ronan for T. O’Rourke (58); B. Kelly for Mennis (Start ET); M. Kelly for P. Hodnett (66); A. Jennings for B. Hodnett (HT ET); C. O’Donovan for B. Kelly (black card, 70).
THE NIRE: T. Wall, J. Walsh, T. O’Gorman, D. Ryan, J. McGrath, C. Guiry, J. Barron, S. Walsh (c), D. Guiry, S. Lawlor, B. Wall, S. Ryan, L. Lawlor, D. Guiry, C. Gleeson.
Subs: K. Guiry and J. Mulcahy for C. Guiry and L. Lawlor (50); D. Nugent for K. Guiry (62); K. Guiry and L. Lawlor for D. Nugent and B. Wall (Start ET); C. Mulcahy for J. Walsh (75); D. Murphy for T. Wall (inj, 75); K. Brazil for L. Lawlor(80).
Referee: P. O’Sullivan (Kerry).