That finally came about on Saturday night in Ballygarvan, but they ensured that they played the game and not the occasion, having eight points to spare against St Nicholas. Former Cork star Nicholas Murphy gained possession from the throw-in and fed David Drake, with 12 seconds on the clock as he made a bit of club history with the opening score.
It was a lead which would never be relinquished, a 0-7 to 0-3 half-time advantage giving them a cushion which was fluffed in the second half, Drake and Cork U21 player Brian Coakley each finishing with four points.
Manager Michael Meaney was happy that the primary priority of getting the win and advancing to Round 2A was achieved.
“We spoke it about it coming up along for the last couple of weeks,” he said.
“We’ve a lot of work to do still, but the first day out at senior level, it’s a historic day for the club, the win is the win and that’s the main thing.” Neither side had won a league game coming into this — Carrigaline with four losses in Division 2 and St Nick’s five in Division 3 — but Meaney made the point that this was his side’s first opportunity to play at close to full strength. The scoring power of Drake and Coakley gave them an outlet which Nick’s didn’t have. While David Busteed did answer Drake’s opener in the second minute, it proved to be Nick’s only score from play as Carrigaline took control: Barry O’Keeffe was also on target while Cian Barry worked hard at midfield and the defence repelled most of the city side’s attacks.
“That’s the way we’ve been in the championship for the last three years,” Meaney said. “
“We get up there and once we hit the ground and make our mark, that’s the main thing. If we had let Nick’s in, they might have dictated the game. Instead, we took the game to them and that’s the important thing for us.”
Coakley’s third point, following a nice one-two with Barry and then a dummy made it 0-7 to 0-2 in the 27th minute, though Robert McCarthy Coade’s second free for Nick’s made the half-time deficit that bit more manageable for the city outfit.
Nick’s effected a half-time re-jig, but within three minutes it could have been curtains as it took a good Kieran McEnery save to keep out Barry’s low shot after sub Matthew O’Reilly and Kevin Kavanagh had set him up. Even so, O’Reilly — introduced after Evan Ryle’s first-half black card — made it 0-8 to 0-3 and then Nick’s lost McCarthy Coade to a red on 40 after an altercation with defender Killian Forbes.
Drake’s fourth point and O’Keeffe’s second saw Carrigaline make the numerical advantage count as they moved seven clear. A Nick’s point by Robert Brosnan, who took over free-taking from McCarthy Coade, reduced that gap but the Kavanagh brothers, Kevin and Eoin, set Coakley up for his fourth point on 54.
Nick’s had another Brosnan free but Carrigaline goalkeeper Seán Mellett remained untested. Kevin Kavanagh and O’Keeffe added points to leave eight in it at the end, allowing the focus to turn to the Premier IHC clash with Mallow.
Next up for Carrigaline in Round 2A of the football is against the winners of the meeting of Valley Rovers and either Ilen Rovers or Avondhu. Nick’s face Clonakilty or Castlehaven.
B. Coakley, D. Drake (1 free) 0-4 each; B. O’Keeffe 0-3; K. Kavanagh, M. O’Reilly 0-1 each.
R. McCarthy Coade, R. Brosnan 0-2 (frees) each; D. Busteed 0-1.
S. Mellett; K. Forbes, P. Ronayne, E. O’Connor; N. Quirke, P. Murphy, K. Kavanagh; N. Murphy, C. Barry; E. Ryle, B. O’Keeffe, E. Kavanagh; B. Coakley, D. Drake. B. Ryan.
M. O’Reilly for Ryle (20, black card), C. McIntyre for Ryan (45).
K. McEnery; D. Dunlea, K. Spain, D. Óg O’Donovan; A. Lynch, N. Horgan, T. Spain; P. O’Brien, J. Morrissey; G. Callanan, R. Brosnan, R. McCarthy Coade; D. Barry, D. Busteed, L. Coughlan.
B. O’Donovan for Barry (42).
M. Collins (Clonakilty).