Ballygarvan stand tall to survive late Catherine’s test

Ballygarvan were forced to defend deep into the last frantic moments of this game to record a merited victory over St Catherine’s at Watergrasshill last night.

Going into injury-time with a two-point lead in a low-scoring game they had to sweat before referee Joe Larkin called full time.

In a tough, physical and at times rousing encounter, Ballygarvan can thank their full back Ciarán O’ Sullivan who had an absolute stormer and he was ably assisted by centre back Ger Spillane and as the game aged, Cork panellist Stephen White was a strong performer too at half back.

St. Catherine’s will feel they had the chances to get at least a draw out of this one. They just didn’t have enough of a forward threat in a game, to be fair, where both defences were generally on top and apart from Shane Kearney and at times Pa Roche. As well as that they didn’t carry a sufficient offensive threat to really pressurise Ballygarvan and too many of their shots fell into the hands of grateful goalkeeper Liam Dillon who cleared an ocean of ball.

Early on playing against the wind Ballygarvan looked the more economical with centre forward Mark Kennefick, just back from injury, proving an early thorn to the St. Catherine’s defence, pointing a free he won himself and a short time later scoring from play. But a painful looking hand injury picked up in the first quarter which caused quite a long delay curtailed his influence and he was later forced off with it, which negatively affected the Ballygarvan attack.

St. Catherine’s were winning plenty of ball around midfield but were finding it hard to convert that possession into scores and after the first quarter were 0-3 to 0-2 in arrears.

However, they found their range late in the half through frees by Pa Roche and an excellent long range effort by Ronan Clancy to leave the teams tied at 0-5 each at the break.

The east Cork side made all the running in the third quarter and they edged into a three point lead 0-8 to 0-5 by the 40th minute through points by Clancy again, Roche and an inspirational score by Kearney.

However the scores dried up for them after that and they registered just one more point in the last 25 minutes.

Ballygarvan backed by the strong wind and helped by the introduction of giant full forward Joe Spillane began to hurl with more authority and slowly the scores followed.

Points by Gary White, Dan McCarthy and Stephen White brought them level and they took the lead entering the home straight as Matthew O’ Riordan and Dan McCarthy put them into a two point lead. And despite the Trojan efforts of Cal Ahern and Shane Cotter, the east Cork side could not force the goal that would have rescued the tie and their misery was compounded when Pa Roche was dismissed for his second yellow with time almost up.

Scorers for Ballygarvan: M Kennefick 0-4 (3fs), G White, D McCarthy (2fs) 0-2 each, T Quilligan, M O’ Riordan and S White 0-1 each.

Scorers for St Catherine’s: P Roche 0-4 (2fs), S Kearney, R Clancy (2fs) 0-2 each, P O’ Connor 0-1.

BALLYGARVAN: L Dillon; J Browne, C O’ Sullivan, P Conroy; Derry O’Sullivan, G Spillane, Damien O’Sullivan; S White, M O’Riordan; Donal O’Sullivan, M Kennefick, G White; D McCarthy, T Quilligan, E Ahern.

Subs: K Ashman for Derry O’ Sullivan (ht), J Spillane for Kennefick (inj. 38), A Murphy for Donal O’ Sullivan (51).

ST CATHERINE’S: E Ahern; S O’Brien, C Hegarty, E Kenneally; C Ahern, R Clancy, L O’Connor; S Cotter, D Mangan; P O’ Connor, S Kearney, B Mulcahy; J Mulcahy, P Roche, J Neville.

Subs: D Farrell for Neville (47).

Referee: J Larkin (Douglas) .

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