O’Riordan’s last gasp point gives Muskerry second chance against UCC

A POINT by Diarmuid O’Riordan two minutes into injury time earned Muskerry a deserved draw in this entertaining Evening Echo Cork SHC first round tie at Ballygarvan last night.

On a miserable night, both sides produced a marvellous contest, with some outstanding individual performances and excellent scores, and a draw was a fair result. But the result will bring problems for both teams, as to when the replay can go ahead.

Two evenly-matched teams were level eight times and level on the number of wides — nine each.

With the students fielding inter -county players from Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork, Kerry and Limerick, it would be a brave man who would go against them in the replay when their exams will be well and truly over.

Donncha Cody, son of Kilkenny manager Brian, was excellent at centre -back for UCC, ably assisted by Cork’s Kevin Hartnett, while Shane O’Sullivan (Waterford) along with John Halbert, Jamie Nagle and Niall Moran were the pick of their forwards.

Two former UCC students Tom Kenny and Rory O’Doherty were outstanding for the Mid Cork division, as were Barry Corkery and Diarmuid O’Riordan, whose free-taking was impeccable.

The persistent rain made it difficult for both teams but Muskerry made the better start and struck five points on the trot as the students struggled to come to grips with the pace of their opponents.

Jamie Nagle finally got UCC off the mark with a point in the 10th minute and as the students settled, they were level at the end of the first half thanks to a cracking goal by Halbert and two excellent points by Waterford senior O’Sullivan.

The exchanges were keen, with play swinging from end to end.

Muskerry were grateful for some outstanding goal-keeping by Ronan Byrne, but UCC’s skill was that bit better and with Halbert excelling at corner forward, they were full value for their 1-8 to 0-8 half-time lead.

Muskerry upped the ante on the changeover and had the deficit down to the minimum after 40 minutes with points by O’Doherty and O’Riordan.

UCC moved Niall Moran to midfield where he became hugely influential and the sides were level three further times after they swapped points.

College lost a glorious chance of a goal when Jamie Nagle broke clear but his shot was just that faction too high, although the point gave his side the lead entering the last five minutes of normal time.

Muskerry were hanging on by their fingertips and where grateful for a great save by their ‘keeper Ronan Byrnes, who denied Halbert.

O’Riordan showed his prowess as a free-taker when he levelled the game for the seventh time with a point from a difficult angle, and both sides would gladly have settled for the draw at that stage.

However, as this hugely entertaining game went into injury time Halbert looked to have won it for the students when he scored a beauty of a point from out on the touchline.

But the divisional side were not to be denied, and O’Riordan did likewise from an acute angle to earned his side a deserved second bite of the cherry.

Scorers for UCC: J Halbert 1-4 (0-2 frees); J Nagle 0-4; S O’Sullivan 0-3; J Crowley, J Mulhall 0-1 each.

Muskerry: D O’Riordan 0-8 (0-7 frees, 0-1 65); R O’Doherty 0-5; K Walsh 0-2; J Russell 0-1.

UCC: E Martin (Wexford); E O’Sullivan (Cork), P Murray (Waterford), P O’Donovan (Kilkenny); J Jordan (Cork), D Cody (Kilkenny), K Hartnett (Cork); J Crowley (Cork), M Cahill (Tipperary); J Mulhall (Kilkenny), J Nagle (Waterford), N Moran (Limerick); I McCarthy (Kerry), S O’Sullivan (Waterford), J Halbert (Cork).

Subs: D Twomey (Cork) for McCarthy; T Mullane (Cork) for Mulhall.

MUSKERRY: R Byrnes (Blarney); N Buckley (Aghabullogue), G Burke (Inniscarra), B Corkery (Éire Óg); J Hughes (Blarney), T Kenny (Grenagh), D O’Donovan (Blarney); J Olden (Inniscarra), M McCarthy (Blarney); D O’Riordan (Dripsey), R O’Doherty (Ballincollig), J Russell (Grenagh), M O’Sullivan (Cloughduv), T O’Mahony (do.), K Walsh (Aghabullogue).

Subs: P Dunlea (Cloughduv), Hughes; D Corkery (Cloughduv) for O’Sullivan; D O’Connell (Inniscarra) for Walsh.

Referee: M Harrington (Carrigaline).

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