Both clubs hadn’t played competitively for some time and it showed. They weren’t helped by a greasy surface due to a heavy shower before the throw-in, but Piarsaigh coach Sean Guiheen wasn’t bothered. “I’d rather win a bad game than lose a good one but yes, it wasn’t pretty.
“We looked very rusty, took the wrong options at times but all credit to the lads they dug out a result we badly needed. We knew coming down here that Courceys would be difficult opponents. You have only to look at the league table and see they are joint second having beaten some of the top teams.
“Defensively we did well, with John Gardiner and Eoin Moynihan particularly impressive. There is plenty of room for improvement up front, but we achieved our objective, which was to win the game and stay in the title race a bit longer. We have a couple of weeks now to work on our weaknesses and we’ll be ready for the quarter-final.”
Courceys, with the wind, had a dream start. A point by Timmy Lordan in the opening minute was quickly followed by a Shane Moloney goal, touching home a long delivery by namesake Gary.
Always a club to rise to a challenge, the city side recovered well from the early onslaught and with Pádraig Gould unerring both from play and frees, they hit the front by the 10th minute, Gould knocking over three points and Paul Cumming forcing John Gardiner’s long delivery over the line for a goal.
However, Daire Lordon kept Rovers in touch with some impressive freetaking and he punished some silly fouls with three points in-a-row, the third a magnificent effort from inside his own half and when Vincie Hurley landed a point from a similar distance, the Ballinspittle side edged 1-8 to 1-7 clear at the break.
There was little or no improvement in the standard of play on the restart but Piarsaigh hit five points on the trot, punishing some sloppy play by the Rovers and it looked as if they would win with plenty to spare.
Piarsaigh held the Courcey attack scoreless for 25 minutes before Daire Lordon finally grabbed a point to leave three between the sides and plenty of time to pull the contest out of the fire.
Losing John Gardiner to a groin injury left Piarsaigh vulnerable at the back, but Courceys couldn’t capitalise and the city side’s corner-back, Eoin Moynihan, capped an excellent’s night work with his third point. Substitute Alan Hogan added another for good measure to move their side onto the last eight.
Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: P. Gould (0-6, 4f); P. Cumming (1-0); E. Moynihan (0-3, 1f); P. O’Rourke (0-2); C., O’Mahony, R. McGregor, C. Buckley, A. Hogan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Courcey Rovers: D. Lordan (0-9, 8f); S. Moloney (1-0); T. Lordan, V. Hurley (0-1 each).
NA PIARSAIGH: A, Keating; A. Brady, D. Mannix, E. Moynihan; J. Gardiner, C. Joyce, S. Óg Ó hAilpín; C. Buckley, R., McGregor; K. Buckley, P. O’Rourke, C. O’Mahony; P. Gould, S. O’Sullivan, P. Cumming.
Subs: S. Glasgow for S. O’Sullivan (40); A. Hogan for K. Buckley (45); Anthony Dennehy for C. O’Mahony (55); Adam Dennehy for J. Gardiner (55).
COURCEY ROVERS: S. Nathan; C. Daly, G., Moloney, J. Duggan; S. Lordan, V. Hurley, T., Lordan; G. Moloney, K. Moloney; S. Moloney, O, Gately, D. Lordan; S. Hayes, G. Minihane, C. Lordan.
Subs: J. O’Neill for S. Hayes (ht); J. O’Reilly for C. Lordan (ht); D. Murphy for O. Gately (50); D. Hayes for J. Lordan (50.
Referee: D. O’Connell (Lisgoold).