It was fitting that O’Connell clipped over the vital point from the left wing as he atoned for some wayward shots in the first-half. The success propels Milford to a semi-final meeting with Fr O’Neill’s and turns their season around in remarkable fashion. Milford lost their opening two games in this year’s championship, including a second round defeat to Barryroe, but battled back and gained revenge for the earlier loss to the Carbery side last night.
The match tight throughout with Barryroe controlling the first-half as they led 1-6 to 0-4 at the break and Milford dominating the second-half as they sought to move back into contention.
Milford’s defence was vastly improved from the team’s meeting in the second round when they shipped four goals. Barryroe only raised one green flag on this occasion when Ciaran Hurley whipped the ball to the net in the 15th minute after a long-range free by Kieran Griffin dropped near the Milford goalmouth.
In the second-half Milford were extremely tight and only conceded one point during that period, a 39th minute free that Griffin converted, with Eoin Dillon and Jerry O’Brien giving towering displays.
Dillon also impacted in the scoring stakes, as he nailed two pressure frees from distance in the last 10 minutes, the second score tying the game at 1-7 to 0-10.
In the opening half, the teams were level at 0-3 apiece after the first quarter but Barryroe defenders Jason Fleming and Bernard O’Brien spearheaded their drive for the remainder of that period. Kevin McCarthy was heavily involved at midfield, while Griffin and Michael O’Brien looked dangerous up front.
Barryroe led 1-6 to 0-3 approaching the interval with Milford suffering from an inability to put scores on the board in their attack. They spurned point-taking opportunities from frees and play while O’Connell saw his rasping drive for goal in the 17th minute cannon off the upright. In the second-half the match switched in Milford’s direction. Paddy O’Regan blasted a drive just over the crossbar before Henry O’Gorman and O’Connell succeeding in reducing the deficit to 1-7 to 0-8 by the 41st minute.
Dillon tied the game with his brace of scores before O’Connell grabbed the winning effort.
Barryroe fought desperately to send the game towards a replay but their accuracy deserted them and the Milford rearguard weathered their storm to hold out.
Scorers for Milford: S O’Connell 0-7 (3fs), E Dillon 0-2fs, H O’Gorman, P O’Regan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Barryroe: K Griffin 0-4 (3fs, 1 65), C Hurley 1-0, M O’Brien 0-2, A Fleming 0-1.
MILFORD: J Lenihan; G O’Mahony, J O’Brien, R Villiers; P Watson, E Dillon, J Leonard; D Corkery, H O’Gorman; T Flynn, J Cremin, S O’Connell; S Carroll, A Watson, P O’Regan.
Subs: P Kirwan for Carroll (16), P O’Brien for Corkery (47).
BARRYROE: G Keohane; B O’Brien, G O’Leary, E McCarthy; C Cahalane, J Fleming, T Carroll; K McCarthy, J O’Donovan; D Harrington, A Fleming, K Griffin; M O’Brien, P Collins, C Hurley.
Subs: E O’Dwyer for Cahalane (43), D O’Sullivan for Collins (51), B O’Donoghue for Harrington (53).
Referee:Cathal Egan (Glen Rovers).