Fitzgerald scored two points in injury time to ensure his club remain in senior ranks for a least another year. It was a result Carrig deserved as they were forced to play the last 43 minutes with 14 players after Cork’s Niall McCarthy received a straight red card for striking.
Affectionally known as “Mickey Da”, Fitzgerald could so easily have been the villain of the piece had Carrig lost. Twice he handed Catherine’s goal chances, the first they took when he came off his line for the sliothar but left it behind him, Junior Sheehan kicking it to the empty net.
The second chance was of a similar nature. With the sides tied at 1-10 apiece after 60 minutes, Fitzgerald failed to hold Richard O’Connell’s long delivery, but substitute Sean Barry flicked the sliothar wide.
St Catherine’s will be disappointed at having to step down a grade for 2009. For long periods they held the upper hand, led 0-7 to 0-2 after 15 minutes and were looking likely winners up to the time Carrig lost their captain Niall McCarthy.
Carrig finally began to play and with Robert White taking over the free taking duties, they finished the half with three points, two by White which left the Saints 0-8 to 0-7 in front at the break.
Catherine’s used their extra man well, placing Johnny Sheehan in behind their half back line from where he cleared an amount of ball and it was from one of his many long deliveries that they grabbed their goal in the 34th minute.
Carrig ‘keeper Fitzgerald came to gather the long clearance but he completely missed it and Junior Sheehan kicked the sliothar to the net to put his side four points clear. Again they were expected to win the game from that position with their numerical advantage.
However, Carrig weren’t going down without a fight and hit back almost immediately with a goal when Noel Furlong set up Sean O’Farrell after a penetrating run and the big man made no mistake.
A point by Robert White tied the game for the first time and as the tension mounted, the sides were level on two further occasions before Sean Barry missed the chance to put the Saints a goal in front when Carrig ‘keeper Fitzgerald presented him with the chance.
It was to prove a costly miss. With Michael O’Riordan playing the proverbial blinder for Carrig in defence, Robert White got the chance to win it for his side but his effort was blocked out for a 65 by Mike Fitzgerald and Mickey Fitzgerald came up to land the lead point, and amid incredible excitement, Fitzgerald did the same from a 70 metre free to preserve Carrigtwohill’s senior status for another season.
Scorers for Carrigtwohill: R. White 0-6 (0-5f); S. O’Farrell 1-0; N. McCarthy, M. Fitzgerald (0-1 65, 0-1 free) 0-2 each; J. Barrett, S. Flannery 0-1 each.
St. Catherine’s: S. Cotter 0-4 (0-2f); Junior Sheehan 1-0; R. O’Connell, K. Morrison 0-2 each; S. Kearney, M., Fitzgerald (free) 0-1 each.
CARRIGTWOHILL: M. Fitzgerald; P. O’Sullivan, JP O’Riordan, C. Harte; S. Flannery, Seamus O’Farrell, M. O’Riordan; N. Furlong, J. Barrett; B. Lordan, N. McCarthy, R. White; F. Flannery, Sean O’Farrell, S. Barry.
Subs: D. Collins for Barry (43); T. Hogan for Sean O’Farrell (47); Sean O’Farrell for Hogan (50).
ST CATHERINE’S: I. O’Connell; A. Hogan, M. Fitzgerald, E. Kenneally; Johnny Sheehan, S. Fitzgerald, P. Cotter; C. Ahern, D. Farrell; R. O’Connell, S. Cotter, Junior Sheehan; L. O’Connor, K. Morrisson, S. Kearney.
Sub: S. Barry for L. Barry (half time).
Referee: J. Sexton (Ballyhea).