Erin’s Own withstand stern challenge from Rovers

If Erin’s Own harbour ambitions of challenging for this year’s Cork crown, they will have to do better than this Jekyll and Hyde opening round display against Bride Rovers at Carrigtwohill last night.

Twice they had the game in safe keeping only to leave their opponents off the hook, before coming extremely close to losing it in a hectic four-minute spell of injury time.

The ‘06 and ‘07 champions couldn’t have asked for a better start. The ball broke to Alan Bowen from the throw in and he put Jack Sheehan through for a goal and when Eoghan Murphy pointed a free seconds later the Rovers looked to be in for a drubbing.

However, there is a well held belief that you never beat Bride Rovers easily and with their inter-county man Brian Murphy and his brother Barry commanding figures in defence, they hit back strongly with a succession of points by the impressive Jason Mannix to trail by one at the end of the opening quarter.

There is a fair bit of history between these clubs and as a result this local derby lacked nothing in intensity, helped by the referee who allowed the game to flow which had the good sized crowd in full voice at times.

Strangely after their excellent start Erin’s Own lost their way somewhat as they struggled to match their opponents passion and the incessant pressure of the Rovers forwards should have yielded a goal when Sean Ryan knocked the sliothar into the path of Daniel Dooley but his firs time shot few over the crossbar with only the ‘keeper to beat.

It was a massive let-off for Erin’s Own and they responded superbly with a goal from the puck out, the Rovers keeper dropping Maurice Carroll’s long delivery and the ever alert Eoghan Murphy billowed the net from close range to open up a four point lead after 20m minutes.

Undaunted the Rathcormack side came again and in a tremendously exciting last 10 minutes pinned their opponents in their own half as the mercurial Barry Johnson landed three points from frees, and the evergreen Jerome O’Driscoll hit the equaliser to leave the sides locked at the break at 2-4 to 0-10.

As in the first, Erin’s Own were quickly out of the blocks in the second-half and Eoghan Murphy rifled over four points without reply. And with their defence, superbly marshalled by Stephen Cronin, Brian McHugh and Peter Kelly, now a far more solid unit, there was an air of inevitably about the outcome.

However, Bride Rovers weren’t prepared to rollover and they came storming back with a succession of points of their own, and only the hand of Peter Kelly denied them a goal as he deflected a free over the bar.

It was all hands to the pump for Erin’s Own as the Rovers threw everything at them in search of a match-winning goal. As the game went into injury time, two close in frees were blocked before Sean Ryan’s effort for that match winning goal went over the bar, and Erin’s Own were relieved to hear the final whistle on the puck out.

Bride Rovers now meet Na Piarsaigh in round two on June 9.

Scorers for Erin’s Own: E. Murphy 1-7 (0-7 frees); J. Sheehan 1-1; K. Murphy 0-3; M., O’Connell, S. Cronin, C. Coakley 0-1 each.

Scorers for Bride Rovers: B. Johnson 0-9 (0-8 frees); J. Mannix 0-3; D. Dooley, S. Ryan 0-2 each; J. O’Driscoll, P. Murphy, M. Collins 0-1 each.

ERIN’S OWN: S. Bowen; K. Murphy, B. McHugh, S. Murphy; S. Cronin, P. Kelly, P. Fitzgerald; K. Murphy, S. Kelly; B. Clifford, J. Sheehan, M. O’Carroll; C. Coakley, E. Murphy, A. Bowen.

Sub: M. Murphy for Clifford (50).

BRIDE ROVERS: D. Fitzgerald; M. Kearney, B. Walsh, S. Kearney; B. Murphy, B. Murphy, L. Forde; S. Boyce, B. Johnson; M. Collins, J. Mannix, P. Murphy; J. O’Driscoll, S. Ryan, D. Dooley.

Subs: J. Pratt for M. Kearney (15); J. Murphy for Dooley (45).

Referee: C Lyons (Nemo Rangers).

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