St Colman’s let St Fachtna’s off the hook

THREE teams, two games apiece, and all draws.

It couldn’t have been tighter in Group C of the Corn Uí Mhiurí, so the battle to go through to the quarter-finals is still up for grabs as play-offs loom to decide the top two qualifiers.Yet it might have been so different in the biting cold and swirling Coachford yesterday had St. Colman’s taken their chances in the second-half. However, they found a resolute St. Fachtna’s defence, in which Richard Hodnett (until he retired injured) Conor McCarthy and Danny O’Donovan stood tall, a tough nut to crack. Not even the fillip of two early goals could drive the Fermoy side on.

Just seven scores from play between the two sides is a poor return, but it has to be said that the stinging, swirling wind did make life extremely difficult for both sets of forwards. Still it was a lively opening half, with St. Fachtna’s quick to hit the target when Ger Minihane pointed a free after only 40 seconds. And the midfielder kicked two more later on, scores instrumental in their narrow first-half lead. But St. Colman’s were always lively and competitive and it took them only four minutes to get their opening goal when Darragh O’Carroll set up midfield partner Sean Finn and the sides were level 0-3 to 1-0 after the opening quarter.

And St. Colman’s then struck for a second in the 16th minute, this time Darren Tobin the provider for Ronan Fenton and the corner-forward made no mistake. Finn and O’Carroll were strong for St. Colman’s at midfield and with Anthony Cronin also full of running up front they troubled the Skibb rearguard. Dangerous St Fachtna’s front men Alan Holland and Thomas Hegarty saw little of the ball, but the Skibb side did get in for a cracking 27th minute goal when Peadar O’Driscoll put Donie Hodnett away and the midfielder made no mistake.

Minihane’s free taking was sharp and when he kicked a third point in the 29th minute it enabled St. Fachtna’s to lead 1-5 to 2-1 at the break.

Scoring was at a premium in the second-half though. Big St. Colman’s full-forward David Pyne converted two sweet frees after the restart to push his side back in front and with Finn full of running at midfield they looked in good shape.

Peadar O’Driscoll tied things up again in the 38th minute, but what followed was nothing short of squandermania as both sides were guilty of appalling shooting, wind or no wind. Minihane pounced again for St. Fachtna’s in the 46th minute with a gem of a point from play to put his side back in front, but for the rest of the contest they were up against it as St. Colman’s stormed back and looked strong and forceful.

Substitute Sean Shanahan proved a valuable asset in the 46th minute — he was hardly on the pitch when he fired over a fine point. But, lucky for Fachtna’s, Pyne’s radar began to fail miserably, some good free chances going abegging. And he was also denied a goal by Fachtna’s wing back O’Donovan, who made a vital interception in the 52nd minute with a goal looking certain.

Pyne did fire over the ensuing ‘45, but St Fachtna’s weren’t going to be denied as Rob McCarthy kicked a late free to again tie things up. St. Colman’s had two glorious chances to win it in injury time but both Shanahan and Cronin were off target. Fachtna’s were let off the hook and they knew it.

Scorers for St. Colman’s: D. Pyne 0-4 (0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘45), S. Finn and R. Fenton 1-0 each, S. Shanahan 0-1.

St. Fachtna’s : G. Minihane 0-4 (0-3 frees), R. McCarthy 0-3 (0-2 frees), D. Hodnett 1-0, P. O’Driscoll 0-1.

ST. COLMAN’S, FERMOY: S. Burke; J. Blackburn, B. Carroll, M. Flynn; G. Burke, S. O’Brien, L. Whelan; S. Finn, D. O’Carroll; A. Cronin, D. Tobin, E. Sheehan; the. O’Neill, D. Pyne, R. Fenton.

Sub; S. Shanahan for O’Neill (46m).

ST. FACHTNA’S, SKIBBEREEN: R. Price: C. O’Riordan, R. Hodnett, E. Shiely; M. Murphy, C. McCarthy, D. O’Donovan; G. Minihane, D. Hodnett; A. O’Mahony, R. McCarthy, P. O’Driscoll; J. Russell, A. Holland, T. Hegarty.

Subs; D. Hazel for O’Mahony (44m), M, Collins for Russell (44m), P. O’Hea for R. Hodnett (inj 55m).

Referee: G. Buckley (Grenagh).

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