Mark Egner’s charges endured a miserable season since earning promotion from Division 2, losing seven straight games and conceding 52 goals.
Saturday’s 4-3 success over Bandon has turned the heat up on UL, who have yet to pick up a point this season and have played two games more.
Plenty can happen before the two basement sides meet in their final league clash on April 13, not least next Saturday when Bandon and Fermoy clash again in West Cork. John Dennis’s stunned charges know they’ll need to turn their fortunes around to avoid being dragged into the relegation malaise themselves.
Bandon led three times through Ciara McCarthy, Loraine Copithorne and Vicky Burns but those strikes were cancelled out by Orla Cotter and a Trish Fitzpatrick brace.
Bizarrely, Bandon had a goal disallowed when the umpires ruled the ball entered the goal via a rogue gap in the side-netting. And Fermoy won it with five minutes remaining, Jess Ottman converting from the penalty spot after a deliberate backstick behind the keeper had prevented a Fermoy goal.
Elsewhere, UCC overcame Cork C of I to grind out a 2-0 win at Garryduff that keeps their title challenge alive. Jen Barry, Holly Moore and Emma Barber’s adroit defending kept College at bay in the first half until Kate Humphreys broke the deadlock, before her Munster U21 colleague Sarah Sullivan finished a sweet corner move to make it safe as C of I rallied late on.
Mount Mercy schoolgirl Laurene Buckley made a big impression after being called up for duty by Cork Harlequins, getting among the goals in a 6-0 win over Limerick to maintain the pace-setters’ 100% record.
Third-placed Catholic Institute flew out of the blocks to kill off Ashton’s challenge, scoring three times in the first six minutes en route to a 9-0 success — a far cry from their last-gasp 2-1 win in Cork back in October.
Dungarvan and Cashel/New Inn will hope to avoid each other in the Irish Challenge semi-finals; the Waterford side needed penalty strokes to see off Gorey after a 1-1 draw, but the Tipp girls were comfortable 6-1 winners over Renmore in Galway.
Cork C of I continue to fly the flag for Munster in the men’s Irish Junior Cup, Davy Herbert scoring twice as they beat Belfast Harlequins 4-0 to go into today’s third round draw. UCC took the lead against Annadale in Belfast through Brian Egan but their challenge foundered as a hat-trick by former Irish international Chris Jackson sealed a 3-1 win for the hosts.
Catholic Institute hammered Parkview 8-1 to make the last four of the Irish Challenge. Across town Limerick lost 5-1 to a powerful PSNI unit, despite Munster U18 David Cardy dragging them level at half-time.