After opening up a three point gap five minutes into the second half, Castletownbere came to within a point on three occasions up to the closing stages but wasted chances from both play and frees cost them the chance of extra time at the very minimum. The combination of persistent rain and a slippery surface tested the players to the limit and it was noteworthy that the winners led by just a point at half-time after playing with the wind.
“Certainly we should have been up more, but we were very nervous,” commented manager Michael Meaney. “It’s our first time since we came up premier doing back-to-back winning first rounds and that’s a big thing.
“All we wanted to do was concentrate on the first round and we are back on the right road again.”
Former Cork selector Terry O’Neill, part of the Castletownbere management, accepted that ‘in the percentage of efforts,’ they had a lot of misses (13 wides in total). “In a tight game and in poor conditions you are not going to score the whole time, but we had enough chances to win the game,” he said. “In fairness they didn’t do too badly; Carrigaline are one of the teams fancied to win the championship.”
With Nicholas Murphy forced off after three minutes with a thigh muscle injury, Carrigaline took a while to establish a platform at midfield, with Andrew O’Sullivan quick to make an impression for Castletown and ably supported by David Fenton. But, over the hour Eoin Kavanagh, Murphy’s replacement Evan Ryle, Cian Barry and Barry O’Keeffe all shone there.
Ryle got their opening score in the 6th minute after Castletown’s good start yielded points from a Dean Murphy free and Fenton and the sides were level in the 20th and 25th minutes. However, Carrigaline were denied a goal with goalkeeper James Power bringing off a good save from O’Keeffe. And, while ex-minor Brian Coakley was threatening at full-forward, the net effect of Castletown’s blanket defence meant that scores were at a premium. And this was reflected in their half-time total, 0-4 to 0-3.
In terms of the intensity with which the last ten minutes were contested (by which time Carrigaline had lost Barry O’Keeffe after a second yellow card), the two points scored by Killian McIntyre immediately after the resumption and Coakley from a penalty he had won himself in the 35th, were to prove highly influential.
So too was the impressive display of Declan Drake on the left flank.
Castletown were boosted by the first of two points from Andrew O’Sullivan ‘45’s in the 37th minute and the second, in the 59th gave them renewed hope of saving the game when the margin was down to a point.
But, inaccuracy cost them dearly and with time running out, Carrigaline made sure of advancing when Drake pointed after a foul by the goalkeeper which saw him receive the third black card of the game.
D. Drake 0-4 (0-3 frees); B. Coakley 0-2 frees; E. Ryle, Kevin Kavanagh and K. McIntyre 0-1 each.
A. O’Sullivan (0-2 ‘45’s), G. Murphy (0-1 free) and D. Murphy (0-1 free) 0-2 each; D. Fenton 0-1.
J. O’Reilly; S. Griffin, P. Ronayne, Kieran Kavanagh; C. McSweeney, C. Barry, E. O’Connor; N. Murphy, E. Kavanagh; Kevin Kavanagh, B. O’Keeffe, D. Drake; K. McIntyre, B. Coakley, S. O’Brien. Subs: E. Ryle for Murphy (inj.3); P. Murphy for Kevin Kavanagh (black card, 48); S. Maguire for E. Kavanagh (55).
J. Power; D. Torres, C. Murphy, L. Harrington; T. Collins, D. Wiseman, S. McCarthy; A. O’Sullivan, D. Fenton; L. Hanley, D.B. O’Sullivan, D. Dunne; G. Murphy, J. Walsh, D. Murphy. Subs: A. Harrington for L. Harrington (black card 15); J. Harrington for D.B. O’Sullivan and R. Murphy for McCarthy (58); D. Hegarty for Power (black card, 61).
Pat O’Leary (Kilmurry).