It was no more than the city side deserved, as they looked to be in for a drubbing early in the game when they fell four points behind in the opening 10 minutes. Displaying commendable heart and commitment, Nick’s hung in there, and indeed were shaping as likely winners when substitute Liam Coughlan gave them the lead for the first time with nine minutes to go.
In the final analysis, both sides were glad to settle for the draw. Dohenys selector Cathal Crowley felt it was the right result, but felt his side had won it after they went a point clear in injury- time.
“We could be out of the championship just as easy but we lived to fight another day and that has to be pleasing. We’ll get another go at them and for that we have the lads to thank, for the manner in which they never gave up the chase. We are a very young side and the experience gained will surely stand them in good stead in the replay.”
Nick’s manager Michael Brosnan said his charges came to Bandon expecting a tough battle. “There has never been much between the clubs over the years and tonight’s contest could have gone either way. We looked in trouble from the start but credit to the lads, they never panicked and in typical Nick’s fashion, thundered into the game and could have won in the finish. I’ll settle for the draw and bring on the replay.”
Nick’s struggled to get out of their own half in the opening 10 minutes as the dominance of Denis Healy at midfield meant the Dunmanway side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in that vital area and it was reflected on the scoreboard as Dohenys scorched into an 0-4 to nil lead.
In typical St Nick’s style, the Blackpool side weathered the storm and it took a goal-line save by Dohenys full-back Tom Collins to deny Evan Kearney a goal in their first attack. Kearney was very troublesome for the Dohenys defence and he set up Barry O’Donovan for a 15th minute goal to help tie the game for the first of five occasions.
Dohenys had an equally good forward in Mark Quinn. He showed excellent skill both from play and frees and along with the impressive Denis Healy, they shared four points which helped their side to an interval lead of 0-8 to 1-2.
Nick’s upped the tempo of their challenge on the changeover but after Dohenys keeper denied David Busteed a goal, Barry O’Donovan had a second goal disallowed for a square infringement as Dohenys were forced back. The Nick’s pressure finally told when Kearney goaled from an excellent pass from Adam Lynch to tie the game for the second time. Dohenys were hanging on at this point as Nick’s poured forward and when Liam Coughlan pointed to give the city side the lead for the first time in the game, it looked as if the Dunmanway men were on their way out of the championship.
The closing eight minutes were played in a welter of excitement as the sides swapped points. A Patrick McCarthy point tied the game for the fourth time before a superb effort by centre-back Donal Rice looked to have given Dohenys the win. Nick’s were not to be denied and deep in injury-time Evan Kearney was their hero with an equalising point.
D. O’Donovan (1 free), E. Kearney (1-2 each); Dean Brosnan (0-3); K. McEnery (45) L. Coughlan (0-1 each).
D. Healy (0-4); M. Quinn (2 frees), M. Buckley (0-3 each); D. Collins, J. Carroll, J. McCarthy, P. McCarthy, D. Rice (0-1 each).
K., McEnery; K. Spain, D. Óg O’Donovan, T. Spain; A. Lynch, N., Horgan, K. McCarthy-Coade; P. O’Brien, G. Callanan; David Brosnan, Dean Brosnan, R. McCarthy-Coade; E. Kearney, B. O’Donovan, D. Busteed.
L. Coughlan for R. McCarthy-Coade (B/C 35); D. Cunningham for N. Horgan (50).
D. Kelly; B. O’Donovan, T., Collins, S., Daly; D. Collins, D. Rice, J. Carroll; D. Healy, E. Lavers; D. O’Dwyer, P. McCarthy, B. McCarthy; J. McCarthy, J. Kelly, M. Quinn.
M. Buckley for S. Daly (42); D. O’Donovan for E. Lavers (B/C 50); K. Crowley for P. McCarthy (B/C 58).
J. Bermingham (Bride Rovers).