Apart from the opening point by Colm Keane of the Barr’s, Newcestown led for almost all 60 minutes of normal time as they looked set to mark their championship debut in the grade with a win.
While their biggest lead was four points and there was little between the sides through the low-scoring second half, last year’s Premier IHC champions Newcestown stayed in front, even though they experienced a scoring drought after Ian Lordan’s sending-off saw the Togher side reduced to 14 men.
Having had three wides in the closing stages, Newcestown’s Eoin Kelly looked to have made the game safe when he pointed as the clock moved into injury time, making it 1-14 to 1-11. There was time for more, though, as Bill Beckett managed to flick James Goggin’s delivery to the Newcestown net to level.
Even then, Micheál McSweeney was wide with a Newcestown point attempt while it took a good James Desmond interception to deny Eoin Maher a second Barr’s goal.
Having given themselves a second chance, the Barr’s made sure of the job in extra time, to the delight of manager Tim Finn: “It was extremely difficult, as we expected,” he said. “Newcestown are a tough outfit and we expected no less. We made hard work of it but we came out of it in the end.
“You want to win your championship games, you want to win every game. Every game you lose is a bit of a knock and you’re asking questions but it’s great to win a first game and move on to round 2A.”
Newcestown, who were missing the injured Luke Meade, will be disappointed that they couldn’t see out what was an extremely impressive senior debut, with ten of their 14 wides coming in the last 35 minutes of the 80. They can take a lot of positives though, especially from the first half.
Trevor Horgan’s goal, following a great win from McSweeney’s delivery, put them 1-1 to 0-2 in front and it was an advantage they retained. Tadhg Twomey was a ball of energy at midfield while Fionn Keane was prominent at wing-back. Points from the latter and Horgan had the Carbery outfit 1-6 to 0-5 to the good by the 25th minute, when midfielder Glenn O’Connor struck for a Barr’s goal, pouncing after Eoin Maher had kept Dennehy’s wayward point effort alive.
Frees from Beckett, answered by Keane and Kelly, meant that there was just the minimum, 1-8 to 1-7, at half-time.
After Daniel Twomey opened the second-half scoring for Newcestown, they looked to have been handed another boost when Lordan was red-carded after he was deemed to have struck Mark Courtney under a dropping ball.
“That was a silly incident and you can’t afford to be giving away a man but it was a team effort, as has been our mantra all year – hard work as a team,” Tim Finn said.
“Damien Cahalane battled hard in three positions and influenced the game, which is what you’d expect of a Cork player.
Bill Beckett was effective, but it’s a team effort, it isn’t about any start players or individuals, it’s about the collective.”
With first Greg Murphy and then Desmond as the spare man, Newcestown stayed in front as the Barr’s gave up some bad wides, but their play was more ragged, even allowing for Carthach Keane and Kelly leaving it 1-13 to 1-9 by the 47th minute.
Cahalane, moved into the attack, came to the fore for the Barr’s, Beckett also made his presence felt at full-forward, with Dennehy’s super point bringing them back to within two before the late drama which saw the match tied.
In the additional 20 minutes, though, it was almost all Barr’s, Enda Dennehy and Beckett pushing them clear before Stephen Sherlock and Eoin Finn added to the advantage in the second period.
Daniel Twomey’s ‘65’ left Newcestown needing a goal but it never looked like coming and they will face into a Round 2B clash with the losers of Duhallow-Carrigdhoun, while the Barr’s meet the winners of Erin’s Own v CIT in Round 2A.
“We’ve no complaints,” said Newcestown selector Eamonn Sheehy. “We know we can compete at senior but there were some poor wides, we didn’t push on.”
B. Beckett (1-5, 3 frees); G. O’Connor (1-1); D. Cahalane, E. Finn, E. Dennehy (0-2), S Sherlock, E. Maher, C. Keane (0-1 each).
T. Horgan (1-2); E. Kelly (0-4, 2 frees), D. Twomey (0-3, 1 free, 1 ‘65’); F. Keane (0-2); O. Keane, T. Twomey, M. McSweeney, C. Keane (0-1 each).
D. O’Gorman; J. Neville, J. Burns, C. Walsh; D. Cahalane, J. Goggin, O. Murphy; R. McCarthy, E. Finn; G. O’Connor, B. Beckett, C. Keane; E. Dennehy, I. Lordan, E. Maher.
D. Quinn for Neville (41); J. Power for C. Keane (51); S. Sherlock (15th player for extra time).
K. Kelly; M. Courtney, J. Crowley, G. Murphy; O. Keane, J. Desmond, F. Keane; T. Twomey, M. McSweeney; E. Kelly, D. Twomey, S. O’Donovan; C. Dineen, C. Keane, T. Horgan.
J. Meade for Dineen (38); N. Murray for Murphy (45, inj); C. Twomey for O’Donovan (52)
D. Kirwan (Éire Óg)