Murphy’s late leveller

CORK footballer Nicholas Murphy earned Carrigaline a replay in yesterday’s Cork Premier IHC quarter-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh with an injury-time goal.

Poor finishing had looked like it would cost them dearly before excellent free-taking from Robert O’Shea brought them strongly back into contention.

Conversely, a draw was a disappointing outcome for Courcey Rovers. Overall, they produced better hurling at different periods and drew inspiration from the accuracy of Daire Lordan from placed balls. And, after coming under serious pressure entering the closing stages, they seemed likely to advance when Lordan’s 57th-minute score earned them a three-point advantage, after scores had been level for the fifth time four minutes earlier.

However, after both sides swapped points, Carrigaline won a free in midfield and minor player Cillian McSweeney’s well-struck shot found midfielder Murphy in the right position at the edge of the square to finish the ball to the net.

Courceys, backed by a strong wind, made the better start with three early points without reply. The first, from full-forward Niall Murphy, came in the seventh minute and followed a series of missed chances from a Carrigaline attack that was winning plenty of ball in general play.

That wastage of possession — which saw them finish the half with 11 wides — was to undermine their challenge to a significant degree, even though they were level for the first of seven times after a 12th-minute goal from Ray Keohane.

While Courceys were more economical, it was noteworthy that they failed to take advantage of two clear goal chances.

The first of these fell to right corner-forward Simon Holland in the ninth minute when he ran on to a loose ball at the edge of the square but was unable to get in a proper shot. Four minutes later Holland tried to set up Seamus Hayes with a hand-pass across the goalmouth only to see it intercepted by Killian McSweeney (playing in his 12th championship game at minor, U21 and senior level since July 6).

Leading 1-9 to 1-4 at the break — with Lordan impeccable from frees — Courceys saw their advantage whittled down to a single score by the 45th minute after some well-struck frees by Robert O’Shea.

Six minutes later the same player levelled scores from play before the hard-working David Drake put Carrigaline in front briefly for the first time.

However, Lordan quickly equalised and by the 57th minute Courceys were three points clear and looking good. That was the situation after O’Shea and substitute Gary Minihane traded points until Murphy — limited by injury and ineffective at midfield — was in the right place at the right time to get his levelling score.

Scorers for Courcey Rovers: N Murphy 1-4; D Lordan 0-7 (7f); S Hayes, S Holland, O Gately, S Hayes, D Murphy, G Minihane 0-1 each.

Scorers for Carrigaline: R O’Shea 0-8 (7f); D Drake 0-4; R Keohane 1-1; N Murphy 1-0; S O’Brien 0-1.

COURCEY ROVERS: S Nyhan; G Moloney, T Lordan, D Lordan; O Gately, V Hurley, B Hayes; D Hayes, D Murphy; G Moloney, K Moloney, D Lordan; S Holland, N Murphy, S Hayes.

Subs: G Minihane for Holland (44); S Lordan for Moloney (54).

CARRIGALINE: E O’Sullivan; K McSweeney, G Harrington, G Dillon; W O’Brien, J Moran, C Hurley; N Murphy, C Barry; D Drake, P Murphy, S O’Brien; B O’Keeffe, R Keohane, R O’Shea.

Sub: K McIntyre for O’Keeffe (41).

Referee: J Bermingham (Bride Rovers).

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