It took a cracking Stephen Horgan goal two minutes from time to put daylight between the sides — the substitute having just come on the field. It came at a juncture when first-time finalists Ballymartle had come to within a couple of points, and despite a late Ruairi Dwyer goal, Erin’s Own, who were reduced to 14 men for the last 20 minutes, held out for a narrow win.
It also marked the end of a three-year term for winning manager PJ Murphy.
“There is a bunch of us there looking after the team for the last three years and we haven’t really done it in the championship, so this is a nice bit of compensation. It is good encouragement for the players for next year,” he said.
“That is the end of the year for me now. I am hanging up my boots,” he added. “I have been at it a long time, it is time for younger people to do it. I have done three years and have had several other terms.”
The game, which was switched from Saturday due to the inclement weather, never really caught fire. It will matter little to Erin’s Own, as the victory will go some way towards making up for the defeat to St Finbarr’s in the championship.
Both teams played deep. First to capitalise was Brian Corry who bagged Ballymartle’s opening goal in the 10th minute. However, they found scores hard to come by thereafter. At the other end, they had their hands full with Eoghan Murphy who would finish with 10 points. Cian O’Callaghan was another to catch the eye at corner forward — his neat point giving Erin’s Own a 0-4 to 1-0 advantage after the first quarter.
The East Cork outfit upped the ante and when Maurice O’Carroll finished a move involving O’Callaghan and Colm Coakley, they went 1-6 to 1-1 clear. Points from Brian Corry, Darren McCarthy and Barry Dwyer helped the south-east side bridge the gap and by half-time, they were 1-4 to 1-6 behind.
Eoghan Murphy helped himself to a brace of quick-fire points on the restart but McCarthy responded with a free.
Sean Kelly then saw red for Erin’s Own on 38 minutes as Ballymartle piled on the pressure. Erin’s Own goalkeeper Kieran Murphy made a fine save from McCarthy but McCarthy and Barry Dwyer points made it a 1-8 to 1-10 match. The margin was still two points with as many minutes remaining.
O’Callaghan then set up Horgan for a crucial goal though Ballymartle’s response was instant, through Ruairi Dwyer, 2-11 to 2-9.
Erin’s Own weathered the storm though with solid defending especially from Shane Murphy, Cian O’Connor and Daire Dennehy. Eoghan Murphy tapped over an injury- time free after a foul on Killian Murphy as they emerged with three points to spare.
Scorers for Erin’s Own: E Murphy (0-10, 6fs, one 65m), M O’Carroll and S Horgan (1-0 each), Killian Murphy and C O’Callaghan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Ballymartle: D McCarthy (0-4, 3fs, one 65m), B Corry and R Dwyer (1-1 each), B Dwyer (0-2), R Cahalane (0-1).
ERIN’S OWN: Kieran Murphy; C O’Connor, S Murphy, D Dennehy; J O’Flynn, P Kelly, S Cronin; S Kelly, Killian Murphy; C O’Mahony, E Murphy, M Collins; C Coakley, M O’Carroll, C O’Callaghan.
Subs: S Horgan for M O’Carroll (58).
BALLYMARTLE: Declan McCarthy; D Dwyer, C Coleman, D Edmunds; J Kelly, P Dwyer, S Corry; S O’Mahony, E Healy; B Dwyer, R Cahalane, Darren McCarthy; K Fitzpatrick, B Corry, K McCarthy.
Subs: R Dwyer for K Fitzpatrick (half-time), D Kelly for D Dwyer (35), J Wallace for K McCarthy (45).
Referee: C Lyons (Nemo Rangers).