In the big game at Páirc Úí Rínn yesterday, O’Donovan Rossa and Carrigaline couldn’t be separated, on a 1-9 to 1-9 scoreline.
Weather conditions hampered a free-flowing game but O’Donovan Rossa selector Shane Crowley was relieved that a decision to play with the wind after winning the toss didn’t backfire on his team.
“The wind should have been worth a four or five-point lead to us, but we only had one at the half-time break,” he said.
“It was backs-to-the-wall stuff then, so we were forced to make a few changes and work a lot harder in the second half. Overall, however, I think a draw was a fair result.”
Equally, Carrigaline felt they were worth another chance.
Selector Alan O’Mahony admitted his charges were disappointed, but stressed: “Skibb threw everything at us in the last seven or eight minutes and only about two or three great blocks from our defence saved us.”
Rossa were smart out of the blocks and inside a minute Kevin Davis won a good challenge before sending over the opening point.
But Carrigaline battled back and used possession well to score points from Sean Conlon and David Drake (free) and, despite playing against the wind, went in at the break 0-6 to 0-5 behind.
On the resumption Shane Crowley drove a speculative shot towards goal and Kevin Shannon leaped high to fist the ball to the net. The umpire signalled a goal, but referee David Murnane ordered a free out instead for obstruction on Mellet.
Both sides then quickly pointed before Hodnett went on to grab another point to make it 0-8 to 0-6 in the 42nd minute. Then in a dramatic four-minute spell, the game swung back in Carrigaline’s favour.
Cian Ó Floinn finished a brilliant 45th-minute move involving Kevin Kavanagh and McIntyre for the opening goal, and Liam O’Regan added a point. But Cork player Hodnett responded with a smashing 47th minute goal to restore his side’s lead at 1-8 to 1-7 before Simon O’Brien’s equaliser for Carrigaline.
There was plenty of drama left as Simon O’Brien shot Carrigaline ahead before Rob McCarthy pegged them back. Then Rossa’s Thomas Hegarty had a weak goalbound shot saved by Mellet, and at the other end McIntyre sent a free attempt wide. That signalled the end of the action and the game will be replayed next Sunday next at the same venue.
Meanwhile Bishopstown and Bride Rovers have to do it all over again in the SHC after a 1-18 to 2-15 draw after extra-time.
On the previous form shown by Bishopstown and Bride Rovers, nobody would have predicted a thriller.
Fortunes fluctuated as two honest sides battled it out in a sporting display of courage and commitment and it came as no surprise that they were still tied on level terms when referee, John Sexton, confiscated the sliotar at the end of extra-time.
For much of the game the ‘Town looked the likely winners with some excellent scores from their midfield sniper Pa Cronin (0-8) and half forwards Ronan Conway (0-4), Michael Power and Eoghan McCarthy.
But, all the time, they were stalked by a Bride Rovers side that oozed confidence and refused to panic.
In extra-time a goal engineered by Diarmuid Lester and scored by Denis Crowley raised the biggest cheer of the night. Bishopstown still trailed by two points going into the second period of extra-time when Pa Cronin and Ronan Conway provided the points to complete the draw.
There was another draw after extra-time in an equally do-or-die contest in the Premier IHC contest between Watergrasshill and Valley Rovers yesterday.
The sides drew 0-18 to 1-15 at Páirc Uí Rinn following a terrific fight back from the Innishannon side who were down nine points at half-time.
Watergrasshill were flying in the first 30 minutes playing with the aid of the strong wind and chalked up a sizeable 0-12 to 0-3 lead for the changeover.
But incredibly, the Hill failed to score for the final 20 minutes as Valley Rovers grew in confidence. And with the elements in their favour, Eamonn Collins’ great accuracy from play and frees ensured stalemate at full time.
Collins edged Valley Rovers ahead but Paddy O’Regan replied with a similar placed ball four minutes later. Both sides were flat out. Kieran Coakley, who was not passed fit for the Hill to start, came on as another sub Shane O’Regan nosed the Imokilly men to the fore. With normal time up, Watergrasshill appeared to have weathered the storm, but Eoin Manning held his nerve to shoot the equaliser.