Despite being the better side for most of this Evening Echo Cork Co U21 HC semi-final, some sloppy defending proved near fatal as the scoring power of Patrick Horgan and Conor Dorris earned Glen Rovers a replay they battled hard for.
All the Glen’s total — bar a late and important point from substitute Steve McCarthy — came from Horgan and Dorris. In contrast, eight different Sars’ players – both midfielders and six forwards — were on target.
But the concession of four goals was a massive kick in the teeth and hurt Sars big time.
With the senior title safely in Riverstown and the minors in the county final, Sars were looking to make it a third county final and a date with Duhallow. They might feel they should have as two Glen goals, one from Horgan and one from Dorris looked a shade dodgy. But Sars, parading six of their senior winning side, took their eye off the ball at critical moments and the Glen took full advantage.
A good start by the Glen, two quick Horgan pointed frees, but once Sars settled they got down to business. Points from a Pat Barry free, William Kearney and Eoin O’Sullivan had them clear and with Daniel Kearney massive at midfield – except for his shooting – Sars looked impressive.
But they were caught in the 10th minute when a fine Eoin Cronin sideline cut was knocked on by Kevin Barry and Dorris hit a rasper to the net to level the game at 1-2 to 0-5 after the opening quarter. Then 16 minutes into a listless semi-final a Sars goal arrived when Cillian Spain and Brian Moylan failed to deal with William Kearney’s long ball, leaving Pat Barry clear and the centre-forward raced away and fired home a beauty.
Sars were in control now, Barry finishing the half with 1-3 and William Kearney 0-3 and they were good value for their 1-10 to 1-5 half-time lead.
Sars got down to business quickly on the resumption, points from Barry and Robert O’Driscoll making it a seven point gap. But then came a second Glen goal, Dorris putting Horgan clear and when he was upended the Cork attacker fired a great penalty to the net.
Horgan, at right half forward, was a menace Sars couldn’t handle, neither Dave O’Donnell, Conor O’Sullivan or Darren Kenneally in turn able to quieten him. Indeed the move of O’Sullivan to wing back worked against Sars as he had been on top at midfield with Kearney .
But Sars still pressed on as another Barry free and two fine points from Robert O’Driscoll put them 1-15 to 2-6 clear entering the final quarter. But the Glen were far from finished. Horgan struck again in the 46th minute, some generous over-carrying taking him though the Sars defence, though his finish was sublime. There was just a goal in it now and what a cracking finish ensued.
Daniel Roche made it a four point game again in the 48h minute, but three minutes later Dorris got on the end of a ball to score the Glen’s fourth goal though there was a strong hint of a square ball about it.
With the score now at 1-16 to 4-6, the Glen’s comeback was gaining momentum with Denis O’Callaghan in fine form until he retired injured. But they could never edge ahead as a Daniel Kearney point again gave Sars a two point cushion. Still the Glen battled. Kevin Barry’s effort ran agonisingly across the Sars goalmouth, but they weren’t going to be denied. Salvation came in the shape of points from substitute Steve McCarthy and Dorris – just reward for digging in.
Scorers for Glen Rovers: P. Horgan 2-4 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), C. Dorris 2-3, S. McCarthy 0-1.
Scorers for Sarsfields: P. Barry 1-5 (0-5f), R. O’Driscoll 0-4, W. Kearney 0-3, E. O’Sullivan, C. McCarthy, C. O’Sullivan, D. Roche, D. Kearney 0-1 each.
GLEN ROVERS: C. Hickey; K. O’Sullivan, D. Mulcahy, C. Spain; S. Hegarty, B. Moylan, D. O’Toole; S. McDonnell, D. O’Callaghan; E. Cronin, D. Brosnan, R. Whitty; C. Dorris, P. Horgan, K, Barry.
Subs: B. O’Donovan for Brosnan (ht), S. McCarthy for O’Callaghan (57).
SARSFIELDS: W. O’Flynn; C. Smith, G, O’Kelly-Lynch, E. Whooley; D. Kenneally, C. Leahy, D. O’Donnell; D. Kearney, C. O’Sullivan; W. Kearney, P. Barry, D. Roche; R. O’Driscoll, C. McCarthy, E. O’Sullivan.
Subs: J. Cashman for Whooley (54), T. Crowley for O’Donnell (56).
Referee: K. Healy (Ballymartle).