The uncertainty centred on a second-half Sean O’Sullivan effort for Tracton – most observers credited the Tracton player with a point to put his side three ahead but it is understood the ball went wide, and late in the game the scoreboard display at both ends was changed out of sequence to ‘deduct’ a point from Tracton.
Two late points from Youghal secured them a draw, and on balance that was a fair result. The east Cork side were quicker into their stride, playing with purpose and determination, with full-back John Grace leading by example.
The hard-running Bill Cooper and Brendan Ring soon had Youghal two points to nil ahead, but Tracton tied the game through Joe Kingston and accurate free-taker Ronan Walsh.
The game took its first decisive turn when Youghal nudged ahead through a Brendan Ring free. On 10 minutes Leigh Desmond lofted a free from deep in his own half down into the Tracton danger zone. Ring touched it to the onrushing Cooper, who drove through before crashing the ball to the net for the only goal of the half.
When Damien Ring followed that a minute later with a fine point from the middle of the field, Youghal were 1-4 to 0-2 up and coasting.
Credit Tracton for their fightback; Ronan Walsh and Joe Kingston had points, and a Robert Cronin long-distance free might have rolled all the way to the net were it not for the alert John Grace at full-back for Youghal, who took the sliotar off the line.
With Frank Lynch and Joe Kingston leading the resistance, Youghal couldn’t establish a meaningful lead as the half wore on. The game sagged a little in the run-up to half-time, and a Brendan Ring free for Youghal was answered by a Walsh free for Tracton, which left the sides 1-6 to 0-7 at the break.
Youghal could have made the game safe on the restart, when James O’Mahony found Brendan Ring near the Tracton square, but the full-forward batted the ball wide as the goal yawned.
That was the cue for Tracton to storm back into the game, led by the impressive Sean O’Sullivan at centre-forward. They had a sniff of goal on 38 minutes when the hard-working Frank Lynch made ground before being dispossessed by Grace, and they were still only three points in arrears when, on 42 minutes, Joe Kingston won a penalty.
Ronan Walsh, impressive throughout from the dead ball, blasted it home to tie the game up.
From then on Tracton took over, with Michael O’Sullivan showing well and Ronan Walsh drawing a fine reaction save from Eoin Coleman with a close-range shot. Sean O’Sullivan was prominent, winning plenty of possession and setting up Tracton attacks, while Kieran Corrigan at full-back settled well after an early yellow card to dominate the final quarter.
On 53 minutes Michael O’Sullivan got Tracton’s last score to put them three ahead. Youghal rallied and Brendan Ring put over two frees before the final whistle. At this point the scoreboard read 1-12 to 1-12 each, though most spectators thought Tracton were one ahead. However, Tracton had no argument with the score-keeping. The disagreement on which will face Ballymartle in the final is for another day.
Scorers for Tracton: R. Walsh 1-5 (1-0 pen, four frees); J. Kingston 0-3, M. O’Sullivan, S. O’Sullivan 0-2 each.
Youghal: Brendan Ring 0-7 (0-6 fs); B. Cooper 1-2; D. Ring, Barry Ring, C. O’Mahony 0-1 each.
TRACTON: D. Walsh, M. Barry, K. Corrigan, C. McGuinness, M. Desmond, B. Lynch, R. Cronin, K. Lynch, T. McGuinness, P. Kingston, S. O’Sullivan, J. Kingston, R. Walsh, F. Lynch, M. O’Sullivan.
Subs: D. O’Callaghan for P. Kingston (40); J. Kingston for Desmond (44); F. Walsh for McGuinness (49).
YOUGHAL: E. Coleman, M. Cronin, J. Grace, B. O’Sullivan, C. Spillane, L. Desmond, B. Ring, N. Roche, D. Ring, C. O’Mahony, B. Cooper, B. Coleman, J. O’Mahony, B. Ring, A. Curtin.
Subs: B. Moloney for B Coleman, R. Cunningham for Curtin (both 52).
Referee: K. Murphy (Nemo Rangers).