Had the Muskerry side lost the game, they would have been kicking themselves because for long periods they dominated it — on the scoreboard at least, one time leading by five points — but were forced to defend stoutly as the Rovers came storming back to take the lead a minute from normal time.
Macroom played with the strong wind in the opening half and were quickly into their stride, racing into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes, thanks to the accuracy of Patrick Lucey and David Goold.
The mid-Cork side’s early dominance was epitomised by the excellence of Rory Buckley at full back, Fintan Goold at centre back and his brother David at full forward, who thrived on the long ball being driven in to him.
Valleys defended well in the face of the pressure and showed their potential on the break, John Cottrell, easily their best forward, kicking two points in a row.
In order to involve Fintan Goold more in the game, Macroom moved him out to midfield and while he won his share of possession particularly from the air, Kevin Canty and Chris O’Donovan maintained their grip around the middle.
However, Macroom’s use of the long ball troubled Valleys’ defence and David Goold showed class with two excellent points to help his side to an interval lead of 0-8 to 0-4.
The Rovers resumed the second half with Canty at full forward in a swap with Fiachra Lynch and it ensured they continued to control the middle, and after Hugh O’Donovan cut the deficit with a point, Lynch was denied a goal by a magnificent save by the Macroom netminder James O’Connell.
The Muskerry side took advantage of that let off to lead by double scores — 0-10 to 0-5 — after 35 minutes.
However, the Rovers refused to roll over, and with Lynch and John Cottrell rampant, they turned the game on its head, kicking six unanswered points — two by Cottrell — to lead by one for the first time.
The tension was at fever pitch as the Rovers clung to their slender lead and they looked to be heading for the final. Macroom were rocked by the ferocity of the challenge the Rovers threw down, but as the game went into added time, they weren’t to be denied and David Horgan became the hero for them with the equalising point.
Scorers for Valley Rovers: J. Cottrell 0-5 (0-2 frees); H. O’Donovan (0-1 free), D. Murphy 0-2 each; J. Lyons, K. Canty, E. Fallon, J. Murphy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Macroom: P. Lucey 0-4 (0-3 frees); D. Goold 0-3; F. Goold 0-2 (0-1 free); I. Casey, S. Kiely, C. Murphy, D. Horgan 0-1 each.
VALLEY ROVERS: A. Quirke; N. O’Donovan, D. Lynch, Joe Lynch; Jack Lynch, T. Cummins, D. Crowley; K. Canty, C. O’Donovan; H. O’Donovan, D. Murphy, M. Power; J. Cottrell, F. Lynch, J. Murphy.
Sub: E. Fallon for H. O’Donovan (52).
MACROOM: J. O’Connell; R. O’Dwyer, R. Buckley, M. O’Donnell; S. Kiely, F.Goold, C. Murphy; P. Corrigan, E. O’Mahony; B. O’Donnell, I. Casey, T. Dineen; P. Lucey, D. Goold, D. Horgan.
Subs: P. Lynch for R. O’Dwyer (15); A. Hegarty for T. Dineen (25); G. Angland for B. O’Donnell (50).
Referee: M. Collins (Clonakilty).