Drafted in as a late substitute, Brett, just back from work experience in San Francisco, hit a glorious equalising point a minute from normal time. It was a deserved leveller for Fr O’Neill’s, who were forced to play with 14 men for three quarters of the game.
Although Fr O’Neill’s hit the front with two quick points from outstanding captain Ger O’Leary and Colin Buckley, it was Cobh, with the aid of a slight wind, who grew in the ascendancy.
The sweet and accurate striking of former Cork senior Derek Barrett and the free-taking expertise of left corner-forward Ger Meaney put Cobh into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead at the end of the first quarter before calamity befell Fr O’Neill’s when full-forward John Flavin was sent off following an off the ball incident in the 18th minute.
But two superb points from wing-forward Eddie Holland tied the game before Fr O’Neill’s were rocked again. The concession of a penalty allowed Meaney to billow their net and set up Cobh for a 1-8 to 0-6 interval lead. Barrett and Meaney were the central figures as Cobh put it up to their shell-shocked opponents.
But what a dramatic transformation came over this roller coaster of a game after the change of ends. With O’Leary and Holland in devastating form, Fr O’Neill’s hit a purple patch and five points without reply brought them back on level terms six minutes after the resumption.
Then they surged in front when Podge Butler put over a sideline ball and then followed with a beauty from play. O’Leary converted a free and Fr O’Neill’s, despite their numerical disadvantage, were suddenly three points to the good.
Now it was Cobh’s turn to soak up the pressure but to their credit they did not throw in the towel. Then out of the blue they hit back themselves when Meaney flicked home a long delivery from Barrett.
Cobh regained the lead with a point from Peter Meaney and it was nip and tuck from thereon. A point from John Griffin eight minutes from time edged Cobh back into the lead but then at the death came Brett’s magnificent equaliser.
Scorers for Fr O’Neill’s: J. O’Leary 0-6 (0-3 frees), E. Holland 0-4, P. Butler 0-3, C. Buckley, K. Wall, A. Brett 0-1 each.
Cobh: J. Meaney 2-4 (1-0 pen, 0-2 f, 0-1 65), D. Barrett 0-3, P. Meaney, B. Ahern, J. Griffin 0-1 each.
FR O’NEILL’S: P. Colbert; J. O’Driscoll, B. O’Driscoll, J. Terry, B. Murphy, R. O’Neill, J. O’Mahony, J. Holland, J. O’Leary, C. Buckley, Q. Higgins, E. Holland, P. Butler, J. Flavin, K. Wall.
Subs: T. Lawton for Higgins; A. Brett for Buckley.
COBH: P. Looney; W. Drake, T. Anderson, S. Ryan, M. O’Connor, D. O’Rourke, L. Greaney, D. Barrett, S. Kearney, E. Wilson, B. Ahern, P. Meaney, B. Meaney, A. Walley, J. Meaney.
Subs: J. Griffin for B. Meaney; R. O’Connell for P. Meaney.
Referee: D. Farrell (Mitchelstown).