Walsh’s late strike heralded a joyous triumph for Tracton, but it was a heartbreaking goal for a Mallow side that contributed greatly to what was an enthralling encounter.
Mallow got off to a great start. After Walsh had edged Tracton in front with a free, centre-forward Tadgh O’Riordan set up corner forward Barry Murphy for a truly magnificent third minute goal. And they could have got a second a minute later but full-forward Denis Hayes failed to capitalise on a golden opportunity.
But gradually, Tracton came to grips with their game and four sweet points without reply from midfielder Robert Cronin, two from Walsh and another by Joe Kingston, gave them the lead.
The Carrigdhoun contenders then proceeded to put an authoritative stamp on the thrilling proceeding with two further points from the impressive Sean Sullivan.
Leading by 0-7 to 1-0 after the opening quarter, Tracton continued to up the pace and looked to be in an extremely comfortable position when wing forward Damien Walsh caught goalkeeper Colm Sheehan off his line with a lobbing shot to the net.
But a shell-shocked Mallow side regained their composure in a most admirable fashion and although the north Cork representatives found themselves eight points in arrears at one stage in the first-half they came thundering back with all guns blazing to gain equality at the break following a second goal from the outstanding Barry Murphy in the 30th minute.
It was rip-roaring stuff as both sides fought valiantly to gain the upper-hand. It appeared that the tide had turned in Mallow’s favour when full-forward Hayes at last found the mark with his side’s third goal.
Mallow led by two points at the end of normal time but after both sides were reduced to 14-men following the dismissals of Fergal McCormack and Frank Lynch for second yellow cards offences, Tracton hit the jackpot with Walsh’s late winning strike.
Scorers for Tracton: R. Walsh 1-5 (0-3 from frees); F. Lynch 1-1 (0-1 from free); D. Walsh 1-0; S. Sullivan 0-3; R. Cronin, and J. Kingston 0-1 each.
Mallow: B. Murphy 2-4 (0-1 from free); D. Hayes 1-0; P. Dineen 0-5 (0-5 from frees); D. Kerrisk 0-1.
TRACTON: M. Quinn; B. Lynch, D. Kelleher, R. Dwyer; K. Lynch, M. Desmond, C. Lordan; R. Cronin, F. Lynch; S. Sullivan, J. Kingston, D. Walsh; F. Walsh, K. Corrigan, R. Walsh.
Subs: P. Kingston for D. Walsh; M. Sullivan for Cronin.
MALLOW: C. Sheehan; D. Coughlan, B. Gleeson, P. Buckley; C. Kerrisk, F. McCormack, B. Carey; D. Kerrisk, P. O’Riordan; M. Maher, T. O’Riordan, J. Hayes; B. Murphy, D. Hayes, P. Dineen.
Subs: D. Murphy for Dineen; J. Culloty for T. O’Riordan.
Referee: C. Lyons (Nemo Rangers).