A five-point defeat is a bit hard on the North Cork side, but they contributed greatly to their own downfall by having a man sent off just before half-time, a disadvantage St Michael’s exploited to the full in the second half.
There was little to choose between the sides in the opening 30 minutes and they were level four times after they swapped points at regular intervals.
The city side played with the wind in the opening half and were fortunate not to concede a goal after just 30 seconds when Killian O’Connor had only the keeper to beat but Brian Kavanagh was quickly off his line to make an excellent save to deny the 17 year-old.
Highlight of that opening half was a superb point by Mallow’s Pa Herlihy, who beat three defenders in a great run before scoring to ease his side in front for the first time.
However Mallow’s joy was short-lived. Twenty-five minutes in, Donal Cremin lofted a high ball into the Mallow square and the ball broke kindly for Eric Hegarty, who found the net.
Minutes later Mallow were down to 14 men after Diarmuid Kerrisk received a second yellow card, seconds after getting the first, and when tall midfielder Donal Relihan didn’t appear for the second half, the die was well and truly cast for the North Cork side as Michael’s led 1-5 to 0-6 at the break.
The introduction of Paul Cronin to their attack had the desired effect for the Blackrock side on the changeover, and after Cian O’Riordan landed a point, the city side struck for their second goal when the impressive Eoghan Buckley had the simplest of tasks after the ball broke from a long delivery by Andrew Murphy.
Four points in front and playing against 14, Michael’s looked to be in the comfort zone, but all credit to Mallow, and in particular Cian O’Riordan, who single-handedly pulled his side back into the game with three points in-a-row.
Excellent defending by their captain Richard Dineen steadied St. Michael’s nerves and as 14-man Mallow found the going extremely tough, the city side closed out the game with a third goal. The score came from Paul Cronin, who was in the right place after the ball broke out to him from yet another long delivery by Donal Cremin.
Scorers for St Michael’s: E Buckley 1-4; E Hegarty, P Cronin (0-1 free) 1-1 each; M Mulconry 0-1, M Ryan 0-1.
Mallow: C O’Riordan 0-9 (0-6 frees); D Relihan 0-2; P Herlihy 0-1
ST MICHAEL’S: B Kavanagh; B O’Sullivan, R Dineen, D Crowley; A Murphy, A O’Driscoll, C Kilcoyne; S O’Sullivan, W Kennedy; M Mulconry, E Hegarty, D Cremin; E Buckley, M Ryan, M Drummond
Subs: P Cronin for Drummond (half time); I Giltinan for Mulconry (55); E O’Mara for Kilcoyne (55)
MALLOW: C Sheehan; L Dockery, K McCarthy, M Taylor; D Kerrisk, C Kerrisk, M Murphy; H Dockery, D Relihan; C O’Riordan, E Stanton, C Stanton; P Herlihy, D Hayes, K O’Connor
Subs: B Sheehan for Relihan (half-time); S O’Keeffe for O’Sullivan (45); A Sheehan for Hayes (55)
Referee: J Birmingham (Bride Rovers).