Having had genuine penalty claims waved away by referee Nathan Wall in each half, Carrigtwohill’s frustration with the Carrigaline official reached boiling point when Niall MacCarthy received a straight red card on 35 minutes for kicking out at Erin’s Own full-back Shane Murphy.
Kidney, to be fair, had no quibbles over the outcome, but there was no holding back when his opinion was sought on the decision to dismiss former Cork hurler McCarthy.
“We had a man sent off which I thought was a very, very soft incident,” he said. “We were never going to come back from that.
“I am not happy with the refereeing decisions there at all. It was absolutely atrocious. I just couldn’t explain it.
“If you go down to any other county, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Clare, any of these serious teams that are going well, look at their referees. Is it a wonder Cork hurling is kinda so soft at the moment because the way referees are refereeing?
“That referee was just not up to scratch to senior hurling. He was not up to senior hurling standard. We were probably still going to be beaten despite the refereefairly.
“You go up to Kilkenny, Tipperary and Clare, and we played challenges against clubs from these counties a lot this year, it is a lot harder, a lot tougher because [the referee] is leaving a lot more go.”
Level five times in the opening half, McCarthy’s sending-off arrived at a critical juncture early in the second period. Ahead by 0-8 to 0-5, Erin’s Own gradually tightened the noose thereafter — sub Robbie O’Flynn (0-2), Killian Murphy, and Alan Bowen splitting the posts approaching the final quarter.
Jay Horgan set up Darren O’Driscoll on 50 minutes for Carrigtwohill’s first point in 24 minutes of action. It provided but momentary respite.
With Alan Bowen and Sean Kelly dominant around the middle, and Shane Murphy sweeping effectively further back, Martin Bowen’s side had long since entered cruise control.
The lively Eoghan Murphy (0-2), Kieran Murphy, and Mark Collins swelled their tally to round out a second comfortable championship win over their East Cork neighbours, Carrigtwohill’s several late raids on Shay Bowen’s goal proving fruitless.
“It was a battle,” said Martin Bowen. “In fairness to the players, they dug in and we are happy to win.
“Carrigtwohill had nothing to lose coming in off the last day, whereas we had an awful lot to lose. It is difficult when you beat a team by such a big margin, especially when they have been going well since and brought in new management.
“We felt that if we kept it tight early on and didn’t concede goals, we would come out on top.”
And never did their well-organised rearguard look like being breached. Identifying Niall McCarthy, Robert White, and Darren O’Driscoll as the danger men, Erin’s Own’s Shane Murphy, Cian O’Connor and Cormac Dooley led the charge in nullifying their impact.
Not that Carrigtwohill did themselves any favours by the manner in which they set up. Opting to deploy Jason Barrett as a sweeper, Kidney’s charges struggled to impose themselves in the final third of the field.
Their distribution out of defence bordered on atrocious, with loose man Shane Murphy mopping up an amount of ball. Indeed, if the sliotar wasn’t rained aimlessly in his direction, it was launched down on the double-marked Darren O’Driscoll on the edge of the square.
And while the winners didn’t score from play until Kieran Murphy’s 16th minute strike — Eoghan Murphy swatting three frees inside the opening quarter — they were far more economical in attack.
Mark Collins clipped over a fine effort on the right wing and though Tomas Hogan tied proceedings for the fifth time, Kieran Murphy and Alan Bowen raised a pair of white flags before the call for half-time to send Erin’s Own on the road to victory.
E Murphy (0-5, 0-4 frees); Kieran Murphy, A Bowen (0-3 each); M Collins, R O’Flynn (0-2 each), Killian Murphy (0-1).
T Hogan (0-2 frees), R White (0-2 each); N Furlong, N McCarthy, S Rohan, D O’Driscoll (0-1 each).
S Bowen; C O’Connor, S Murphy, C Dooley; S Cronin, Killian Murphy, C O’Mahony; A Bowen, S Kelly; Kieran Murphy, J Sheehan, M Collins; M O’Carroll, E Murphy, C O’Callaghan.
R O’Flynn for Sheehan (HT), S Morgan for O’Callaghan (51).
S Devlin; P Hogan, A Garde, P O’Sullivan; C O’Connell, N Furlong, M O’Riordan; J Horgan, L O’Sullivan; S Dempsey, J Barrett, T Hogan; R White, N McCarthy, D O’Driscoll. Subs: M Fitzgerald for S Dempsey (36), S Rohan for T Hogan (52), S Roche for O’Sullivan (58).
N Wall (Carrigaline).