Despite not having played in the championship since August 17, and handing their opponents a six-point lead inside five minutes, once the Coachford side found their stride they took off. Glanworth were held scoreless for 42 minutes and though there were a few nervy moments late on, as Aghabullogue defended a three-point lead, they proved resilient.
The opening five minutes provided a very false reading, but, at the time, it merely seemed to affirm pre-match consensus. After points from David Pyne and Denis Gallagher put Glanworth in front, captain Michael Sheehan used his pace to good effect as he rounded off a flowing move by poking a low shot past John Buckley. Gerard O’Neill added another point and while a pair of Corkery efforts and one from Pa Finnegan got Aghabullogue off the mark, Pierre O’Driscoll’s free left Glanworth 1-4 to 0-3 in front after 11 minutes. Nobody could have predicted then they would not score until eight minutes from time.
The North Cork side’s shooting was becoming worrisome, though, while, in contrast, Corkery was in deadly form as frees on 23 and 28 minutes as well as a booming score in injury time left the game tied at the turnaround.
With Finnegan running himself to a standstill and Seán O’Sullivan also impressing, Aghabullogue maintained their momentum on the resumption and, after Finnegan put them ahead, full-forward John Kelleher thought he had netted but he was adjudged to have fouled Thomas Fitzgibbon.
Nevertheless, another Corkery placed ball and then a super point, after Finnegan found him with a quick free, put three in it. At the other end, Glanworth’s attack was malfunctioning on the rare occasions the ball was in the final third, Aghabullogue defenders Dhani Merrick and Mark O’Brien making great blocks.
Pyne did eventually end the Glanworth drought, but Corkery’s ninth point, a massive kick after Ryan Dennehy did well, responded before Mark Long got a comparable strike from way out on the left. Seán Finn did give Glanworth some late hope as he cut the gap to three again but they could not glean any joy from deliveries into the goalmouth.
Scorers for Aghabullogue: J Corkery 0-9 (four frees), P Finnegan 0-2, M Long 0-1.
Scorers for Glanworth: M Sheehan 1-0, D Pyne 0-2, S Finn, D Gallagher, G O’Neill, P O’Driscoll (free) 0-1 each.
AGHABULLOGUE: J Buckley; A Hogan, M Dennehy, G Long; D Merrick, D Twomey, M O’Brien; R Dennehy, B Buckley; S O’Sullivan, P Finnegan, M Long; E O’Sullivan, J Kelleher, J Corkery. Subs: A Barry-Murphy for Dennehy (51-59, blood), R O’Keeffe for E O’Sullivan (58).
GLANWORTH: T Fitzgibbon; T Condon, W Blackburn, P Blackburn; D Colfer, S Finn, D Gallagher; D Pyne, R O’Driscoll; M Pierce, G O’Neill, C Quirke; P O’Driscoll, B Gallagher, M Sheehan. Subs: D Healy for B Gallagher (38), S O’Riordan for Pierce (48).
Referee: J Dorgan (Nemo Rangers).