And Duhallow coach Ned English was pleased. “Heart, organisation and good football brought us through tonight. Those Carbery guys, you just can’t put them away. There were at least 20 exhausted players out there tonight at full-time. We thought we had it, but those guys just don’t go away. We looked for courage and we got it aplenty.”
No question, Carbery are a huge scalp out of the way for the rest of the championship pretenders. Despite being outplayed in the opening half, the west Cork side upped the ante in the second period to force the game into extra-time at 1-6 to 0-9 thanks to a late Mark Sugrue deflected goal.
In truth, they deserved it for had they a free taker even half as sweet as Duhallow’s Donncha O’Connor, they might not have needed it, glaring free misses proving costly. And then the killer Duhallow blows within a minute of the start of extra-time, goals from subs Niall Fleming and Kevin Crowley, and there was no way back for a game Carbery side that never got the best out of their Cork duo Alan O’Connor and Graham Canty. It was Aidan Walsh who ruled the roost in that midfield department and with Donncha O’Connor sublime, robust and running hard, particularly in the opening half when he kicked four important frees, Carbery were up against it from the off.
With Donal Gayer giving a man-of-the-match show in the half forward line, full-forward Jack Cott’s probing, teasing runs causing problems, and corner backs John McLoughlin and AJ O’ Connor absolutely superb, Duhallow were in control. Leading 0-6 to 0-2 after the opening quarter, Kyrle Holland and Walsh adding to O’Connor’s sweet free conversions, Carbery weren’t getting a look in.
Even when they did muster good movements, halted by resolute Duhallow defending, Declan Barron, Brian and Colm O’Driscoll all failed to capitalise on good free chances and it looked like Carbery weren’t going to register a first-half score.
But the switching of Brian O’Driscoll to the half forward line and Denis O’Sullivan to the half back line began to pay dividends and Carbery finished the half the stronger with points from Graham Canty and Colm O’Driscoll to trail 0-7 to 0-2 at the break.
Carbery meant business on the resumption, and they needed to, as points from Kevin O’Driscoll and Rory Deane reduced the deficit to three. But, with Gayer outstanding, A J O’Connor won a great ball to set up O’Connor for his fifth point and it was 0-8 to 0-4 to Duhallow entering the final quarter. Carbery gave it everything in a bid to save the game, bringing in Jamie Wall and Mark Delaney, as points from Sugrue and Niall Canty brought the deficit down to just two. And, had Kevin O’Driscoll been accurate, they might have been level. But when Duhallow sub Bertie O’Callaghan made it 0-9 to 0-6 nearing full time it looked curtains for Carbery. Then, in one last raid, Donncha O’Connor lost possession (he did look to be fouled) with the ball coming to Alan O’Connor, who had moved to full-forward after a quiet outing. He, in turn, found Colm O’Driscoll who set up Sugrue for that equalising goal.
The players were on their knees as the game went to extra-time. But it was Duhallow who had the answers in extra-time, those quick-fire goals doing the trick.
Scorers for Duhallow: D. O’Connor 0-5 (0-4 frees), N. Fleming and K. Crowley 1-0 each, A. Walsh 0-2, D. Moynihan, K. Holland, B. O’Callaghan and B. Dennehy 0-1 each.
Carbery scorers: M. Sugrue 1-1, K. O’Driscoll 0-2, G. Canty, C. O’Driscoll, R. Deane, N. Canty and S. Levis 0-1 each.
DUHALLOW: K. Murphy (Boherbue); J. McLoughlin (Kanturk), P. Gayer (Castlemagner), A J O’Connor (Kiskeam); P. O’Leary (Kiskeam), J. Healy (Ballydesmond), S, Murphy (do); D. Moynihan (Knocknagree), A. Walsh (Kanturk); Donncha O’Connor (Ballydesmond), T. Collins (Castlemagner), D Gayer (do); K. Holland (Kanturk), J .Cott (Castlemagner) , M. Dilworth (Knocknagree).
Subs: B. Dennehy (Kiskeam) for Dilworth (21), N. Fleming (Ballydesmond) for Collins (ht), B. O’Callaghan (Ballydesmond) for Moynihan (50), K. Crowley (Millstreet) for Cott (56), Daithi O’Connor for S. Murphy (66), S. O’Sullivan (Dromtariffe) for Holland (71), E. O’Connor (Kanturk) for McLoughlin (80).
CARBERY: M. Cronin (St Colums); E. Kelleher (St Mary’s), O. Sexton (Kilbrittain), S. Keohane (St. Mary’s); N. Canty (Bantry Blues), B. O’Driscoll (Tadgh MacCarthaighs), K Harrington (Bantry Blues); A. O’Connor (St. Colums), G. Canty (Bantry Blues); R. Deane (Bantry Blues), C. O’Driscoll (Tadgh MacCarthaighs), D. O’Sullivan (Ballinascarthy); D. Barron (Bantry Blues), K. O’Driscoll (Tadgh MacCarthaighs), M. Sugrue (Bandon).
Subs: J. Wall (Kilbrittain) for Barron (46m), M. Delaney (Bantry Blues) for Deane (52), S. Levis for N Canty (71), S. O’Neill (Bantry Blues) for Kelleher (71), K. Coffey (St Oliver Plunketts) for Wall (74).
Referee: N. Barrett (Carrigtwohill).