It was no more than the divisional side deserved as they dominated the game for long periods but struggled to see off the challenge of a dogged Dohenys side that came within seconds of causing a major upset.
Leading by a point as the game slipped into injury time, Dohenys corner forward Jack O’Connell broke clear but opted to go for the goal and his shot went inches wide of the post. Had he taken the point, it’s doubtful if Duhallow would have had time to recover.
Dohenys coach Kieran Farr wouldn’t apportion blame for the miss, opting instead to take the positives from the draw.
“We had the chances to win it, and I wouldn’t be too happy with the wides tally we had, particularly in the second half,” he said.
“To be fair our two goals were of the lucky variety, and overall it was a fair result.
“It was the kind of night where mistakes were always going to be made and there were many, on both sides. I’m pleased with the effort the lads put in. They worked extremely hard and that’s all we can ask for.
“We’ll go back and regroup but God only knows when the replay will be. We should have a couple of players back from America and Darren Sweetnam, who was prevented from playing because of his Cork hurling duty, will also be available the next day.”
Two evenly matched sides were level seven times in a game that only sprung to life in the second-half as Dohenys threw down the gauntlet to their opponents.
On a night not conducive to good football, little separated the sides in the opening half and they were level three times by the 25th minute after sharing six points.
Dohenys matched their opponents in most sectors of the field and shocked the divisional side with their opening goal in the 30th minute when Duhallow failed to clear the danger and Stephen Collins’ high ball into the square was punched home by Daniel O’Donovan to give his side a slender one point advantage at the break.
As both sets of players struggled with the greasy underfoot conditions, mistakes continued to be made which added to the excitement of the game but the divisional side were coping better and after Aidan Walsh tied the game for the fourth time, they finally put daylight between the teams with three points in a row and were finally shaping up as likely winners.
However a couple of substitutions by Dohenys changed the complexion of the game. With his first touch, Michael Milner slipped the ball under the Duhallow ’keeper to tie the game and amid tremendous excitement Mark Quinn gave the West Cork side the lead with his third point.
Duhallow needed a leader now and up stepped Donncha O’Connor. The Cork inter-county player — who came in for special attention all through and his marker was fortunate with only a yellow card, began to show his class with surging runs, and only some desperate defending by the Dohenys defence kept their goal intact.
There appeared to be no separating the sides as time ticked away and Jerry McCarthy’s point looked to be the winner until O’Connor drilled over from a needlessly conceded free to earn his side a deserved replay.
Duhallow coach Ned English felt his side were fortunate to get the draw, but added he had warned his players they would get nothing easy off Dohenys.
“It was a dour battle out there in difficult conditions. Dohenys are a very competitive outfit and we can count ourselves fortunate to be still in the championship.
“Having said that there were times in the game when we looked winners, but you must play for the full hour. There is no point in having the ability if you don’t transfer it onto the pitch and if we only learn that from tonight’s game, it should stand us in good stead in the replay.”
Scorers for Duhallow: D O’Connor 0-4 (2fs), N Fleming, B Dennehy 0-2 each, D Gayer, A Walsh, M Dilworth 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dohenys: D O’Donovan, M Milner 1-0 each; M Quinn 0-3 (1f), J O’Connell, J McCarthy 0-1 each.
DUHALLOW: K Murphy (Boherbue); J McLoughlin (Kanturk), J Dennehy (Kiskeam), AJ O’Connor (do); P O’Leary (do), J Healy (Ballydesmond), S Murphy (do); B O’Callaghan (do), A Walsh (Kanturk); D O’Connor (Ballydesmond), D Gayer (Castlemagner), M Dilworth (Knocknagree); K, Holland (Kanturk), N Fleming (Ballydesmond), B, Dennehy (Kiskeam)
Subs: J Cott (Castlemagner) for Gayer (45), S O’Sullivan (Dromtarriffe) for O’Callaghan (50).
DOHENYS: D Farr; P Deane, T O’Donovan, D Rice; B O’Donovan, A Sheehan, M Murphy; D O’Sullivan, D Healy; J McCarthy, S Collins, D Dwyer; J O’Connell, D O’Donovan, M Quinn.
Subs: M Milner for Dwyer (40); P Collins for S Collins (40).
Referee: P O’Leary (Kilmurry).