This county SFC first-round game didn’t feature a lead of more than two points until the 53rd minute, when Cathal O’Rourke’s third point put the Rosscarbery side 0-16 to 2-7 ahead. Even when Clyda’s Conor O’Sullivan narrowed the gap, Rangers still looked comfortable, holding on to possession as the game moved deeper into injury-time.
Clyda weren’t for lying down though, and Conor Flanagan reduced the gap to a point on 63 minutes. When Conor Crowley and Kenneth Fitzgerald linked two minutes later to create an opening for O’Sullivan, he tied the game to ensure an additional 20 minutes.
The extra period proved to be a tale of two penalties. When Clyda’s target-man Daniel O’Callaghan was fouled as he was about to shoot, they were awarded their second spot-kick of the match. While Cian O’Sullivan netted at the same end in the game’s nascent stages, this time his effort cleared the crossbar.
Soon after that, Ross had a penalty of their own when Tipperary’s Robbie Kiely was felled after John Hayes had set him up for a goal chance. Former Cork star Hayes swept his penalty home to reestablish a lead which wouldn’t be relinquished.
After Fionn O’Shea and the excellent John O’Rourke exchanged points, Clyda sub Declan Roche had a goal chance from Paudie Kissane’s pass but he fired over. At the death, Roche was again unlucky, his point attempt hitting the post and going wide. Ross prevailed, to the delight of manager Ronan McCarthy.
“It was a tremendous championship match,” he said.
“People have queried in the past teams’ desires to win championship matches. You saw today both clubs had an unbelievable desire to win, the beauty of the new system now is that you’re guaranteed two more games.
“We had seen them a few times, we knew we were going to get from them, so we’re delighted to have matched them for battling spirit. Everything that went against us, conceding early goals and fellas going off injured, we responded to every setback and we’re delighted to have come out the right side of it.”
With O’Callaghan an imposing presence at the edge of the square, Clyda got off to a great start as he broke a delivery to Séamus Ronayne, who fired to the net. Though Hayes and O’Rourke would inspire Ross to kick six of the next eight points, Clyda’s second goal – Cian O’Sullivan’s penalty following a foul on Fitzgerald – put them two in front.
Two Brian Shanahan 45s helped Ross to draw level by half-time, 0-9 to 2-3, and they upped things on the resumption, working the ball well against the wind. Cathal O’Rourke continued to impress and both he and the energetic James Fitzpatrick had nice points but a super James Murphy free from the left and Conor O’Sullivan’s first point kept Clyda in it.
Kiely made it 0-13 to 2-5 on 43, but another Murphy free crept in and then Ronayne, from distance, levelled again.
However, a Ross burst with two points from Cathal O’Rourke sandwiching one by his brother John, looked to have secured it. Clyda ensured that it didn’t. Ultimately, Ross would take the win at the second time of asking, and they will play either Dohenys or Douglas in round 2A while Clyda have a bye beyond round 2B and will instead face one of the winners of that round.
“I felt we were running the clock down well [in normal time], we kept the ball very well, but the one danger of that is you have to keep going forward,” McCarthy said.
“I felt we should have tacked on an extra score because they were coming out chasing the game at that stage. They took one or two wrong options, but had the right idea.
“We’d liked to have closed it out in normal time, we were still hanging on a bit at the end of extra time, but we got there in the end.”
J. Hayes (1-4, 1-0 penalty, 2 frees); J. O’Rourke (0-4); C. O’Rourke, B. Shanahan (2 45s) (0-3 each); J. Fitzpatrick, C. O’Donovan, R. Kiely (0-1 each)
C. O’Sullivan (1-1 penalties), S. Ronayne (1-2 each); J. Murphy (3 frees), C. O’Sullivan (0-3 each); F. O’Shea, C. Flanagan, D. Roche (0-1 each)
R. Milner; R. Hegarty, T. O’Rourke, M. O’Donovan; S. Murray, B. Shanahan, J. O’Riordan; M. Mennis, J. Fitzpatrick; A. Jennings, C. O’Rourke C. O’Donovan; J. O’Rourke, J. Hayes, K. Fitzpatrick
R. Kiely for K. Fitzpatrick (40), M. Kelly for Murray (49), S. O’Neill for O’Donovan (55), P. Hodnett for Jennings (58), O’Donovan for O’Neill (76), K. Fitzpatrick for C. O’Rourke (78), S. Murray for O’Riordan (80)
G. O’Shea; S. Ronayne, R. Carey, C. Kenny; S. O’Connell, P. Kissane, C. O’Sullivan; K. Fitzgerald, F. O’Shea; C. Flanagan, C. O’Sullivan, S. Ronayne; J. Murphy, D. O’Callaghan, N. O’Mullane.
C. Crowley for O’Connell (43), D. Roche for Murphy (50, injured)
D. O’Leary (Kiskeam)