Dungarvan led by 0-16 to 1-11 with three minutes remaining and looked set for victory with Jamie Nagle conducting the orchestra at midfield. Sion produced a late surge, however, and five late points, including three from Martin O’Neill and one apiece courtesy of Stephen Roche and Austin Gleeson swayed the verdict in their favour.
Mount Sion boss Anthony Kirwan hailed the fighting spirit shown by his side.
“All credit to the lads. They have been digging results out. It’s down to their mentality and they are working well as a team.”
He affirmed their stray shooting will be looked at for the later rounds. “It’s definitely worrying for today. It also shows that we had a lot of possession. It’s definitely something to work on; to turn those chances into scores. It’s something to rectify for the next day.”
The sides were all square at three points apiece after an opening quarter played at a languid pace. Sion dominated in terms of possession but shot wildly and amassed 10 first half wides in the process. The elusive Gavin Crotty struck for three points from various angles as the Blues settled.
A brace of frees from Cormac Curran nudged them in front but Martin O’Neill tied it up again with two well struck points from midfield. Cormac Curran restored Dungarvan’s lead but Sion received a shot in the arm before the break in fortuitous circumstances. In the first minute of injury time, Sean Ryan glanced Austin Gleeson’s long distance effort to the net as goalkeeper Darren Duggan was completely deceived. A fourth free from Curran left Sion 1-5 to 0-7 ahead at half time.
It was tit for tat in the second half as the sides were level on four occasions. Last year’s county finalists nudged in front entering the final quarter. Jamie Nagle’s switch from centre back to midfield proved pivotal and they gained forward momentum. Cormac Curran added five frees to see his total swell to nine points and Gavin Crotty struck his fourth of the afternoon.
When county minor Patrick Curran gave them a two-point cushion with three minutes remaining, they looked well placed to take the points. Momentum turned decisively in those closing minutes, however, as Martin O’Neill’s steady hand over the frees sneaked Sion through.
Scorers for Mount Sion: Martin O’Neill (0-8, 6fs) S Ryan (1-0), E McGrath (0-2), S O’Neill, K Stafford, S Roche, A Gleeson, G Carroll, M Gaffney (0-1 each).
Scorers for Dungarvan: Cormac Curran (0-9fs), G Crotty (0-4), Colm Curran (0-2), P Curran (0-1).
MOUNT SION: I O’Regan; P Penkert, J O’Leary, C Ryan; T Browne, O Whelan, S O’Neill; E McGrath, K Stafford; A Gleeson, M Gaffney, Martin O’Neill; S Roche, S Ryan, Martin ‘F’ O’Neill.
Subs: G Carroll for Martin ‘F’ O’Neill (46), M King for Ryan (50).
DUNGARVAN: D Duggan; C Sheridan, K Daly, S Kearney; K Moore, J Nagle, S Ryan; E Healy, Cathal Curran; Cormac Curran, G Crotty, Colm Curran; P Curran, D Houlihan, R Donnelly.
Subs: L Ryan for Houlihan (ht).
Referee: T Walsh.