Five minutes of normal time remained when Ronan Walsh’s sixth point for the south-east division tied the game at 0-11 each, but the 2008, ’10 and ’12 county champions managed to seize victory despite a poor overall performance.
Cian McCarthy, who had earlier missed a penalty and some scoreable frees, kept his nerve to send over a fine dead-ball from his own 65 and then Eoin Quigley and Eoin O’Sullivan eased them into their biggest lead of the game.
Carrigdhoun threw everything at their opponents in a bid to find an equalising goal. Tony Murphy’s effort from a tight angle needed a brave save from Alan Kennedy, and from the resulting 65 dropped in by Stephen White, Fintan O’Leary’s doubled effort was deflected wide.
Sars held on for a quarter-final clash with St Finbarr’s and manager Pat Ryan admitted afterwards that there will be no shortage of room for improvement if they are to go further.
“There was a small crowd, it was very dead and we just weren’t up to the pace of it,” he said.
“We were sloppy, we didn’t take the ball out of the tackle enough, we didn’t go forward enough, too many mistakes and wides and missed frees. But look, you’re in the next round.
“You could blame anything but we weren’t up to the intensity of it, we didn’t hurl the way we can, that was the bottom line. Carrigdhoun have some good players and they tried hard.
“This was the first week having the Cork players back and when you’re missing four or five it can be disjointed. That’s not blaming them, but we were a bit sloppy.
“We thought we got the wake-up call against Douglas, we just need to be a bit more clinical.”
From the off, the game struggled to pick up tempo. Carrigdhoun did well to get in Sars’ faces but at the other end there wasn’t enough of a willingness to take on scores – Walsh would be their only player to register more than a point.
That said, they were 0-4 to 0-2 in front at the end of the first quarter as Sars laboured, and McCarthy’s penalty blazed wide in the 19th minute didn’t help. They did eventually find a bit of rhythm as Michael Cussen made a nuisance of himself to set up a couple of scores for Tadhg Óg Murphy but Carrigdhoun were still in touch.
A fine Tony Murphy point levelled at 0-6 each, and while Cussen rounded off a good move involving Daniel Roche and Daniel Kearney, Walsh’s free ensured that the sides went in tied.
McCarthy’s free from halfway opened the second-half scoring but Sars wouldn’t score again until the 47th minute.
In between, their wides tally increased alarmingly as some very scoreable frees were wasted but they also lost Cussen to a broken thumb after he was caught by an Edward Finn pull. Sars at least had the consolation of limiting Carrigdhoun to two scores at the other end, from Shane McCarthy and Walsh.
When the need was greatest, Sars managed to find what they needed, as two McCarthy frees put them 0-10 to 0-9 in front. The teams were level twice more about that but then Sars pulled away and that was one positive Ryan took from proceedings.
“We brought on a few subs, Cormac Duggan and Gavin O’Loughlin did well when they came on,” he said.
“Cian got a few good frees too. He’s a very good player, he was getting frustrated, he wants to be doing it, he’s so eager.
“It wasn’t going well and he got a bit hot and bothered about it, but he got great scores when we needed them.”
Scorers for Sarsfields: C McCarthy (0-7, 5fs, 1 65), T Óg Murphy, E O’Sullivan (0-2 each), E Quigley, G O’Loughlin, M Cussen (0-1 each).
Scorers for Carrigdhoun: R Walsh (0-6, 5fs), S McCarthy, W O’Brien, F O’Leary, T Murphy, K Corrigan (0-1 each).
SARSFIELDS: A Kennedy; W Kearney, C Leahy, C O’Sullivan; D Roche, R Ryan, É Martin; D Kearney, E Quigley; R Murphy, C McCarthy, E O’Sullivan; T Óg Murphy, M Cussen, K Murphy.
Subs: G O’Loughlin for Cussen (38, injured), C Duggan for R Murphy (39).
CARRIGDHOUN: M Coleman (Ballinhassig); M Ó Deasúnaigh (Ballinhassig), E Finn (Ballinhassig), N O’Donovan (Valley Rovers); D O’Donovan (Ballinhassig), D Lynch (Valley Rovers), S White (Ballygarvan); S McCarthy (Ballinhassig), W O’Brien (Carrigaline); F O’Leary (Ballinhassig), M Ahern (Ballinhassig), M O’Riordan (Ballygarvan); R Walsh (Tracton), K Canty (Valley Rovers), T Murphy (Carrigaline).
Subs: C O’Leary (Valley Rovers) for O’Riordan (29), K McIntyre (Carrigaline) for O’Brien (43), K Corrigan (Tracton) for Ahern (48).
Referee: J Larkin (Douglas).