At one stage, Carrigaline looked like winning by a score a man, but, with their backs to the wall, Kilbrittain staged a thrilling recovery and came within an ace of achieving a feat that would have bordered on the miraculous.
Carrigaline were on fire right from the word go. Their confidence received an enormous boost in the first minute when, after Kilbrittain’s long serving goalkeeper Oliver Harrington brilliantly deprived Paul Foster, left corner forward Tony Murphy was ideally positioned to knock the rebound to the net.
Murphy followed with a point and it was all systems go for Carrigaline in the opening quarter as Kilbrittain struggled alarmingly to prevent the floodgates opening.
The stylish Stephen Corcoran, who had a tally of eight points, four from play, wreaked havoc up front as Carrigaline, boosted by a great half back line of Joe Moran, Conor Hurley and Victor Cooney, extended their lead to 1-3 before Vincent O’Brien managed to get Kilbrittain’s name on the scoreboard with a point in the ninth minute.
But there was no stopping a rampant Carrigaline side. They scored some scintillating points before full-forward Paul Foster, latched onto a breaking ball to score their second goal in the 17th minute.
Now trailing by nine points after Carrigaline’s fantastic start, Kilbrittain had a mountain to climb in their endeavours to save themselves from calamity. They did succeed in scoring a series of fine, long distance points, but with Peter Murphy in outstanding form on the forty, Carrigaline continued to hold the whiphand to lead 2-10 to 0-8 at the interval despite two late pointed frees from Kilbrittan’s ageless wonder Dan O’Connell.
However, Kilbrittain orchestrated a tremendous second-half comeback, sparked by early points from Alan Hayes and Pat Sexton to leave just two goals between them.
And the south west representatives were unlucky not to have scored a goal when Edward Sheehy shot straight at goalkeeper, Eoin O’Sullivan with the net at his mercy.
Two further pointed frees from Dan O’Connell reduced the deficit to five points with eight minutes of normal time remaining, but then it looked curtains for Kilbrittain when Tony Murphy scored his second goal for Carrigaline after he followed through on a brilliantly flighted sideline cut from Joe Moran.
Now trailing by seven points, Kilbrittan showed tremendous character as they clawed their way back from the brink and two goals in rapid succession from substitute Maurice Sexton and Ross Cashman, who crashed home a 20 metre free, brought Kilbrittain within a point of their opponents.
Now this enthralling game was up for grabs but vital points from Wesley O’Brien and Stephen Corcoran, who converted a free in injury time, sealed Carrigaline’s sweet triumph and brought Kilbrittain’s remarkable resurgence to an agonising halt.
So the scene is now set for a mouthwatering final between two south east sides and deadly rivals, Carrigaline and Ballymartle.
: Carrigaline: T. Murphy 2-2, P. Foster 1-1, S. Corcoran 0-8 (0-4f), P. Murphy, V. Cooney, W. O’Brien, J. Moran (sideline cut), 0-1 each. Kilbrittan; M. Sexton 1-0, R. Cashman 1-0 (f), D.O’Connell 0-6 (0-4f), V. O’Brien 0-2, F. Hickey 0-2, P. Sexton, P. Ryan, E. Sheehy, A. Hayes, J. Deasy 0-1 each.
: E. O’Sullivan, A. O’Keeffe, G. Harrington, G. Dillon, J. Moran, C. Hurley, V. Cooney, N. Murphy, A. Kelly, E. O’Keeffe, P. Murphy, W. O’Brien, S. Corcoran, P. Foster, T. Murphy.
: R. Keohane for O’Keeffe, B. O’Driscoll for Kelly (inj), S. O’Brien for Foster.
: O. Harrington, D. Desmond, J. Murphy, M. Deasy, J. O’Brien, P. Sexton, P. Hurley, P. Ryan, E. Sheehy, F. Hickey, V. O’Brien, R. Cashman, J. Deasy, A. Hayes, D. O’Connell.
: M. Sexton for Hickey, O. Sexton for Desmond, D. Hickey for Sheehy.
: C. Lyons (Nemo Rangers).