When Blarney’s Colin Murphy scored a wonderful goal in the 23rd minute, they led by 2-5 to 0-5 as Inniscarra laboured. From there on though, the tide turned, and the fightback was timed to perfection as points from Colm Casey and Conor Buckley capped a marvellous victory.
Following earlier defeats to Bandon and Tracton, Inniscarra now find themselves facing a tie with Kilworth in the quarter-finals, and manager Liam Linehan hailed the character of his team.
“It was unbelievable stuff,” he said.
“We got off to a poor start and gave away two soft goals, but we showed amazing spirit. At half-time we told the lads that we hadn’t hurled but that we were still only four points away.”
Some astute switches were key for Inniscarra. Dan O’Connell, introduced just before half-time, and Tomás O’Connor, brought on at the interval, combined for seven points. At the other end, John O’Callaghan was relocated to the full-back line and helped tighten things while Stephen and Frank Olden did well in the half-back line.
“Dan and Tomás started the first two rounds,” Linehan said, “and it just goes to show that we have a panel. They were disappointed when they didn’t start but by God they did the business when they came on.”
Blarney’s play early on was far more cohesive, a Greg Sykes point typifying the smart teamwork, and when Ross McNamara capitalised on loose defensive play to fire to the net in the 17th minute they led by 1-4 to 0-3.
Cremin was processing a lot of ball at midfield, and it was fitting that he was so centrally involved in Murphy’s goal, a raking delivery from deep doubled marvellously to the net for a six-point advantage.
They would not score again in the first half, however, Sean O’Donoghue and Casey giving Inniscarra a fighting chance, and three from the subs, two by O’Connell and one for O’Connor, had just a point in it by the 33rd minute.
Though not firing as clinically as before, Blarney were just about keeping ahead, and McNamara, Peter O’Driscoll and Murphy all had good points for them. Inniscarra — with Sean O’Donoghue excellent — were wasting chances, however. O’Connor had his eye in from frees, and eventually they drew level in the 50th minute.
Blarney would not fully wilt, as Cremin nosed them in front once more, but it was the final punch. Liam Ó Riain and Jonathan Olden combined for O’Donoghue to level once more before Casey and Buckley gave them breathing space.
Blarney did have one last goal chance as sub Shane Mulcahy set up McNamara, but full-back Kevin Burke made a heroic block as the fat lady, and the Inniscarra fans, began to clear their throats.
Scorers for Inniscarra: D O’Connell, T O’Connor (three frees, one 65) 0-4 each, D O’Connell 0-3, D O’Keeffe (frees), S O’Donoghue 0-2 each, A Sheehan, C Buckley 0-1 each.
Scorers for Blarney: R McNamara, C Murphy 1-2 each, M Cremin 0-2 (one free), P O’Driscoll, D Cremin, G Sykes 0-1 each.
INNISCARRA: J O’Keeffe; P Kavanagh, K Burke, J O’Brien; F Olden, S Olden, J O’Callaghan; T Murphy, S O’Donoghue; A Sheehan, J Olden, J Casey; L Ó Riain, C Casey, D O’Keeffe.
Subs: D O’Connell for J Casey (20), T O’Connor for O’Donoghue (29-30, blood), O’Connor for O’Keeffe, E O’Regan for Kavanagh (both half-time), C Buckley for Murphy (46), S O’Callaghan for J Olden (60).
BLARNEY: P Hallissey; J Barrett, P O’Leary, K Buckley; D Walsh, D McSweeney, B O’Connell; M Cremin, JD Good; E McCarthy, R McNamara, G Sykes; D Cremin, P O’Driscoll, C Murphy.
Subs: D O’Brien for Good (half-time), S Mulcahy for Sykes (43), P O’Sullivan for O’Brien (half-time).
Referee: K Murphy (Nemo Rangers).