Joy for Our Lady’s as last gasp McGrath point foils Carrig

Our Lady’s Templemore 1-10 Carrigaline CS 0-13

Our Lady’s needed a draw to qualify for the knock-out stages while Carrigaline had to win, and they looked to be on track when leading by a point going into injury time.

There appeared to be no danger when Shane Burke’s effort for an equaliser was going harmlessly wide. However, the Carrigaline ‘keeper decided to play the sliothar only to lose possession and his full back eventually took the ball over his end line for a 65. It all hinged on the outcome of the 65, and outstanding centre-back Noel McGrath showed marvellous composure to strike the ball over the bar and set up a quarter-final clash with Midleton CBS next Wednesday.

For the last two seasons Our Lady’s were denied their place in the knock-out stages because of scoring difference. In the circumstances few will begrudge them their right to advance. Physically stronger in most areas, the Cork school served notice from the throw in. Hurling with passion and pace they scorched into a 0-7 to 0-0 lead as the Tipperary side struggled to cope.

Defensively Carrig were superb. Corner-back Conor Hurley, wing back Ray Keohane and centre-back Stephen White gave nothing away, but while Our Lady’s struggled to make any impression in attack, their outfield play suggested that if they could manage a score or two, they would make a match of it.

And that’s how it panned out, taking inspiration from Noel McGrath and midfielders Gearoid Ryan and Shane Burke, they eventually got on the scoresheet after 17 minutes with a point from Ryan. With Ryan lording it at midfield, Our Lady’s struck for the game’s only goal when Carrigaline ‘keeper Barry failed to hold Ryan’s long range free and Shane Hennessy was on hand to knock the sliothar home. At half time the deficit was down to three points, 0-8 to 1-2, significantly the Cork school had gone 14 minutes without a score.

The standard of hurling continued to improve in the second-half and both sides matched each other point for point before one of the big talking points of the match.

A strangely subdued Stephen Corcoran set up Simon O’Brien for a peach of a goal but the referee deemed him to be in the small square. It seemed harsh given that Our Lady’s Shane Hennessy was almost on the goal line when he scored his side’s goal just before half time.

From that let-off Our Lady’s began to exert enormous pressure on the Carrig defence chiefly due to the dominance of Burke at midfield and, as the tension mounted, he tied the game for the first time with seven minutes remaining.

Points were exchanged before Stephen White landed a massive lead point for Carrig from a midfield free as the game went into injury time. But Our Lady’s weren’t to be denied and after the Carrig defence took all the wrong options, Noel McGrath became the hero for Templemore when he tied the game for the third time from the 65 much to the delight of his team-mates.

Scorers: Our Lady’s: N. McGrath 0-3 (0-2 frees, 0-1 65); S. Hennessy 1-0; G. Ryan (0-1 free), S. Burke 0-2 each; J. Ryan, D. Burke, W. Donnelly 0-1 each.

Carrigaline: S. Corcoran 0-5 (frees); S, White (free), S. O’Brien 0-2 each; A. Murphy, J. Moran (free), M. O’Riordan, R. Keohane 0-1 each.

OUR LADY’S: K. Johnson; D. Greed, N. Doyle, M. McGrath; S. Purcell, N. McGrath, J. Campion; G. Ryan, S. Burke; W. Donnelly, J. Ryan, D. Burke; S. Hennessy, J. Luptron, C. Scally.

CARRIGALINE: S. Barry; C. Hurley, J. Walsh, P. Ronayne; R. Keohane, S. White, J. Cowhig; S. O’Regan, J. Moran; A. Murphy, M. O’Riordan, P. Campbell; S. O’Brien, K. Corrigan, S. Corcoran.

Referee: M. Meade (Limerick).

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