Erin’s Own fought to the end and wing-back Cathal O’Mahony had a half chance to tie it up but, under pressure, his shot was deflected over for their final point on the stroke of full-time.
When the game is tight and in the melting pot, leadership from your top players is always required. Glen Rovers’ main attacker Patrick Horgan stood up and took the game by the scruff of the neck with those three late points to ensure back-to-back county championship victories for the famed Blackpool club.
Erin’s Own didn’t have any player to match the scoring power or opportunism of Horgan. They relied too heavily on the accuracy of Eoghan Murphy from placed balls while their half-forward line failed to score from play. In those final, frantic minutes, the Glen defence were also to the fore, repelling attacks with dogged defiance.
Centre-half-back Brian Moylan, aided and abetted by wing -backs David Dooling and Graham Callanan, stood firm when the need was greatest down the stretch. Defensively, Glen Rovers marked tightly in this vital period and shepherded the Erin’s Own forwards out the field when they gained possession, forcing them to shoot wides under pressure. Crucially, the Glen defence gave away no frees in the final minutes and goalkeeper Cathal Hickey gave an assured performance under pressure.
If Glen Rovers won the match in those vital last minutes, Erin’s Own will feel they lost it, having pulled two points clear with nine minutes left on the clock. They had just outscored their opponents by 1-7 to 0-3, scoring 1-4 without reply, as the Glen went 11 minutes without scoring.
The East Cork team had upped their pace considerably in the second half and harried and hassled with far more determination than they had in the opening 30 minutes.The Glen’s five-point half-time lead had been reeled in with Maurice Carroll’s goal, after a fine run by Colm Coakley, giving them huge impetus.
Down the stretch, determined discipline was needed to keep the pressure on last year’s champions. They needed to mark Patrick Horgan tightly, give away no frees and play the percentages. However, with the game in the balance and Erin’s Own leading by a point, Colm Coakley committed an avoidable free on Rovers’ Dean Brosnan, handing an easy equaliser to Horgan.
Brosnan, who had a huge influence on the game, had been whistled up correctly for overcarrying minutes before. He had again taken four steps when Coakley took him down. This free was a major turning point. It gave the Glen fresh impetus.
Erin’s Own also had a wide from a sideline when they hadn’t a player in position to block it from going wide. They needed to keep that ball in play. Patrick Horgan was fouled in possession from the resultant puckout. A stick pass in the Erin’s Own half-back-line, instead of a more accurate handpass, put Stephen Cronin in trouble and Horgan nipped in to fire over a super point. All small things. However, it is the accumulation of minor mistakes that causes a team to lose.
Overall, Glen Rovers were the better team. If Horgan was the star of the final period, Dean Brosnan was the man in that first half. Erin’s Own failed to get to grips with the wing forward who scored three points in the first half and had a final tally of four.
Not alone was Brosnan scoring, but his work-rate and direct running caused problems for the Erin’s Own defence. He dropped deep out the field for opposing puckouts, followed by his man. When he won breaks, there was huge space to run into and he set up scores for Horgan and full-forward Cathal O Brien with clever passes.
Erin’s Own management swapped wing-backs and this curtailed his scoring exploits in the second half. However, Glen manager Richie Kelleher will take satisfaction from the shrewd move to switch Brosnan with midfielder David Noonan as the game entered the final stretch.The move worked wonders and Brosnan’s running at the heart of Erin’s Own defence was a crucial element in their win.
This was a sweet win for the Blackpool outfit, giving them back-to-back victories in Cork, a difficult assignment at the best of times. I heartily congratulate them on yesterday’s victory and wish them well in their Munster club campaign away against the Limerick champions in four weeks.