This was one of the great games of hurling, played by two superbly fit teams and thankfully there were no winners because followers will never tire of watching hurling championship games of this standard.
Local derbies rarely live up to their billing, but this all-Carrigdhoun clash was the exception. Both teams went all out for the win and produced a superb contest that was level seven times.
Courceys opened brightly and had three points on the board inside the first five minutes as the Tracton defence struggled to contain the lively Rovers’ forwards. There was a great edge to the game as you’d expect from neighbouring clubs with the hurling teak tough but always fair and honest.
Tracton settled well after the early Courceys scores and with Frank Lynch playing superb at midfield, they struck for a marvellous goal in the 10th minute, created by Lynch and finished in style by Joe Kingston to tie the game for the first of seven occasions.
That goal sparked off a great period for the Minane Bridge side and with Kingston and Ronan Walsh sparkling in attack, they rifled over four points in a row as Courceys began to struggle.
However the Ballinspittle side were thrown a life-line in the 20th minute when John Murphy’s long-range free from inside his own half was fumbled by the Tracton defence and ended up in the net.
Points were exchanged as the tempo of the game continued to rise and the teams were level on two further occasions before Tracton again hit a purple patch.
The magnificent Kieran Lynch cleared a long ball out of defence to Peter Kingston whose effort for goal was blocked by Courceys ‘keeper Anto Hegarty but the sliotar ran loose and the in-rushing Ronan Walsh swept it home to help his side to a 2-7 to 1-6 half-time lead.
There was no let up in the intensity of the exchanges on the change over and the huge crowd were given plenty to shout about as Vincent Hurley cut the deficit with two quick points.
Tracton were grateful for the brilliance of Kieran Lynch and Michael Desmond in defence as Courceys swarmed all over them. As the tension mounted so too did the pressure on the Tracton defence and Vincent Hurley showed magnificent composure in landing three points in a row to tie the game for the fifth time.
The tension was unbearable both on and off the field as Joe Kingston gave Tracton the lead with a great point but with the game in injury time, Courceys’ courage and tenacity was rewarded and it was fitting that Vincent Hurley should have the final say with the equalising point from 20 metres to send this thrilling contest to a replay which should not be missed.
Tracton: R. Walsh 1-7 (0-5 frees); J. Kingston 1-2; F. Walsh 0-2. Courceys: V. Hurley 0-7 (0-4, frees, 0-1 65); N. Murphy 1-1 (frees); J. Murphy, D. Hayes 0-2 each; T. Collins 0-1.
M. Quinn; B. Lynch, D. Kelleher, R. Dwyer; K. Lynch, S. Sullivan, M. Desmond; R. Cronin, F. Lynch; F. Walsh, J. Kingston, G. Kingston; R. Walsh, P. Kingston, D. Walsh.
M. O’Sullivan for D. Walsh; K. Corrigan for H. Kingston.
A. Hegarty; J. O’Regan, D.. Murphy, A. Collins; K. Moloney, T. Lordan, B. Hayes; D. Hayes, N. Murphy; V. Hurley, J. Murphy, T. Collins; B. Hayes, D. Twomey, C. Lordan.
J. Quinn for Lordan; M. O’Donovan for B. Hayes.
D. Kirwan (Eire Og).