Demonstrating all that is good about the game, this first round Premier IHC derby battle had it all. Amid 34 scores and seven goals, Fermoy dug deepest to come from five points down to win by two with as many minutes remaining.
Two goals and a point they nailed in those hectic moments — a penalty by excellent sharp-shooter Liam Coleman for a foul on Jack Hutchings, a green flag from Tomás Clancy and a point in stoppage time from full- forward Hutchings. But, it wasn’t the first time they had fallen behind — they trailed in the opening half, and found themselves six points behind at the three-quarter stage.
No wonder manager Denis Ring hailed the attitude of his players. “We are delighted because Fermoy wouldn’t be associated with comebacks. But, we are beginning to do it. Three times we looked dead and buried but with these lads you always have belief, and that goes into the memory bank.
“Kilworth would always have been superior to Fermoy, so we are delighted to be competing with them. They are a great club and you would have nothing but admiration for them. They will have a big say in this championship yet.”
On the back of a poor 2015, this was a heartening display from Kilworth, full of endeavour. After coming so close they were left devastated, and will have to pick up the pieces ahead of a round 2B clash with Kanturk.
Noel McNamara scored a hat-trick of goals for them. His first on 19 minutes put Kilworth a point ahead. However, by half-time, Fermoy — mainly through the accuracy of Coleman — had drawn level, 1-7 to 0-10. McNamara registered again five minutes into the second-half to push the red and white two points clear. And when Adrian Mannix floated in a high ball, McNamara did well to scramble goal number three. With a quarter of an hour to play, Kilworth led 3-9 to 0-12.
However, there was drama aplenty to come. Kieran Walsh was busy between the Kilworth posts, but he couldn’t deny Hutchings his 51st minute major. This was brilliantly worked by Padraig de Róiste and Shane Aherne. It was preceded by a trio of points. All square again.
Now, it was Kilworth’s turn, responding with 1-2. James McCarthy bagged his team’s fourth goal and a marvellous point from Cormac Donnellan made it 4-11 to 1-15 – a five-point game. But, back came Fermoy and when all seemed lost that frenetic finish edged them through to a 2A meeting with Cloyne. While McNamara was off target with two frees near the end, there should be no blame as his superb tally of 3-5 was already quite the haul.
L Coleman (1-9, 1-0 pen, 0-6 frees, 0-1 65m), J Hutchings (1-3), T Clancy (1-0), P de Róiste (0-2), E Clancy and K Morrisson (0-1 each).
N McNamara (3-5, 0-3 frees, 0-1 65m), J McCarthy (1-1), A Mannix (0-2), B Sheehan, C Donnellan and J Saich (0-1 each).
C Quinn; R O’Callaghan, J Daly, A Baragry; E Clancy, B O’Sullivan, D O’Carroll; K Morrisson, M Brennan; P Shanahan, T Clancy, L Coleman; S Aherne, J Hutchings, P de Róiste.
P Murphy for P Shanahan, M Flynn for D O’Carroll (inj) (both 38).
K Walsh; M McNamara, A O’Hara, D Twomey; E McGrath, K Lane, M O’Connor; B Sheehan, J Saich; P Moakley, J McCarthy, W Condon; A Condon, A Mannix, N McNamara.
T Twomey for E McGrath (bs 14-15), C Donnellan for A Condon (51), L Whelan for B Sheehan (54).
C Lane (Banteer).