Outplayed all over the park, only the sweet free-taking of Andrew O’Brien kept Kildorrery ticking over in the second-half. But then, late goals by Tom Monaghan and O’Brien himself, after a howler by Canovee keeper Michael Deasy, earned them a victory they never looked like achieving.
It really was cruel luck on Canovee. With the two Lyons’, Eamonn and Timmy, superb at midfield, Kildorrery were going nowhere. But first Canovee lost Timmy, injured in the 45th minute. It didn’t look a problem, but then Eamonn was red carded for a second yellow in the 55th minute with his side 1-10 to 0-10 ahead and suddenly Kildorrery found new energy and exploded into action. And they delivered.
Looking for revenge for last year’s narrow championship defeat, Canovee started brightly, Pat Dunlea and Dara Ring firing over sweet points. Indeed that lead could have been even better had Con Dunne not blasted a goal chance wide.
Kildorrery’s response was good though, Peter O’Brien scoring a fine point moments after blasting a shot off the butt of the upright.
But the Canovee movement all over the park was sweet, Paul O’Sullivan, Anthony Cronin and John O’Brien were superb in defence and the forward division, particularly Dunlea and Ring, were firing as a sweet point from Eamonn Lyon earned them a 0-3 to 0-2 lead after the opening quarter.
Kildorrery battled back though. Eamonn O’Connor equalised and Tom Monaghan should have put his side ahead. But Canovee took over in the final 10 minutes of the half. Kildorrery keeper Brendan Hannon had to make a fine save to deny Ring a goal but it finally arrived in the 23rd minute, Dunne making amends for his earlier miss to propel his side into a three-point lead.
Canovee were on song now as late points from Dan O’Sullivan, Ring and Dunlea gave them a healthy 1-6 to 0-4 lead.
The shooting from both sides in the second-half was dismal though. Andy O’Brien fired over three frees for Kildorrery, but Dunlea was equally efficient at the other end as Canovee looked to be easing to the finishing line leading 1-9 to 0-7 entering the final quarter.
Ring then made it a six-point lead and it looked all over for Kildorrery. But suddenly it all went pear shaped for Canovee and, with O’Brien continuing to boot over the frees, the winners never lost heart.
Still in touch, 1-10 to 0-10, the sending off of Eamonn Lyons seemed to spur Kildorrery and when Shane Fitzgerald set up Tom Monaghan for a 55th minute equalising goal the game was back in the melting pot.
Canovee then went to pieces as Kildorrery kicked into gear and even Andy O’Brien looked bemused when he saw Canovee goalkeeper Michael Deasy fumble an easy delivery over the line with time almost up.
They even had time for another point from Eamonn O’Connor, to complete an unlikely win.
Scorers for Kildorrery: A O’Brien 1-6 (5fs), T Monahan 1-0, E O’Connor 0-3, P O’Brien, D White 0-1 each.
Scorers for Canovee: P Dunlea 0-5 (2fs), D Ring 0-3, C Dunne 1-0, E Lyons, D O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
KILDORRERY: B Hannon; S Kelly, TP Murphy, J Cremin; F Stapleton, J McCarthy, R McEniry; S Fitzgerald, A O’Brien; E O’Connor, D White, M Monahan; T Monahan, P O’Brien, D Kelly.
Subs: J McCarthy for Kelly (47), L Kelly for M Monahan (60).
CANOVEE: M Deasy; P O’Sullivan, J Scanlon, J McCarthy; J O’Brien, A Cronin, B Ahern; E Lyons, T Lyons; D Aherne, P Dunlea, S O’Connor; C Dunne, D Ring, S O’Connor.
Subs: C Buckley for T Lyons (45), D Murphy for Scanlon (60).
Referee: N Barrett (Carrigtwohill).