With the clock reading 59 minutes on a very wet night and the scoreboard showing the teams level at 1-13 to 0-16, Erin’s Own found themselves in a spot of bother last Saturday. From a position of dominance at half-time – they led 0-11 to 0-7 – their advantage had been chipped away at during the second-half, the rate of erosion quickened by a Tomás O’Connor goal entering the final quarter which was part of an unanswered 1-4 from the students.
Erin’s Own, even allowing for the absence of the injured Stephen Cronin and the loss of corner-back pair Cian O’Connor and Killian Murphy either side of half-time to injury, were expected to see this fixture out, and with a bit to spare. But with the clock approaching injury-time, a shock result was now a very real possibility.
Good work in the Erin’s Own half-back line put paid to a CIT attack and their hunt for the lead score. Centre-back Shane Murphy delivered a clearance downfield, the greasy surface carrying the ball through to corner- forward Cian O’Callaghan. Under pressure from two CIT defenders, O’Callaghan did extremely well to get his shot away and, indeed, angle it past the onrushing Patrick Collins.
O’Callaghan’s 59th minute goal, which gave Erin’s Own much-needed encouragement, also served to deflate the CIT challenge and even though Erin’s Own were reduced to 14 men in second-half stoppages – Mark Collins was sent to the line on a second yellow card – the best the students could offer in reply was a Ray Barry free.
“We are just delighted to get over it in the end because number one, we didn’t know what we were playing and number two, we had a lot of injuries,” said manager Martin Bowen.
“In fairness to CIT, they put it up to us and we couldn’t get away from them. The goal was critical. The conditions weren’t great, it was a tough night for hurling. “We’ll want a huge improvement for the next round. That performance won’t take us anywhere.”
Bowen was fulsome in his praise of Eoghan Murphy, the corner-forward finishing the hour with 0-10 to his name.
Murphy struck two crucial points around the 52nd minute mark to haul the winners back in front after CIT had taken the lead for the first time in proceedings.
“Eoghan is a fantastic player. I am saying that going back to 2005. He is as good a forward as in the county. Sure, we saw what he did. He was superb.” Murphy contributed 0-6 of Erin’s Own first-half tally of 0-11, midfielder James O’Carroll also impressing with three points from play. CIT, who could call on just six of the team which started their Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final defeat to UL back in February, were extremely slow out of the blocks and didn’t register a shot at goal until the eighth minute. Points from Mikey Kearney, John Cashman and two from the hardworking John Cronin had them level at 0-4 apiece by the end of the first quarter. Thereafter, Erin’s Own twice pushed three points in front before stretching the gap out to four come the interval break. O’Carroll’s fourth minor and two Murphy frees, sandwiching as they did a John Cashman effort, shoved Erin’s Own 0-14 to 0-8 clear early in the second period to put them well down the road to victory.
Points from Ray Barry (free) and Kevin Kavanagh lit the fuse on a CIT revival and it was game back on when O’Connor batted Mikey Kearney’s delivery to the net on 45 minutes. Andrew Coffey and Kearney (free) brought their purple-patch pickings to 1-4; CIT now ahead by 1-12 to 0-14. Credit here to Erin’s Own, they showed a composed hand to weather the CIT storm and eventually take the spoils.
E Murphy (0-10, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ’65); J O’Carroll (0-4); C O’Callaghan (1-1); S Horgan, A Power (0-1 each).
M Kearney (0-4, 0-2 frees); T O’Connor (1-0); J Cashman (0-3); R Barry (0-2 frees), J Cronin (0-2 each); P Collins (0-1 free), A Coffey, K Kavanagh (0-1 each).
S Bowen; C O’Connor, C Dooley, Killian Murphy; J Sheehan, S Murphy, C O’Mahony; S Kelly, J O’Carroll; M Collins, S Horgan, Kieran Murphy; E Murphy, M O’Carroll, C O’Callaghan.
D Twomey for Killian Murphy (29 mins, inj); J O’Flynn for Kieran Murphy (40 mins); A Power for Kelly (51), C Coakley for Horgan (51); P Fitzgerald for O’Connor (55, inj).
P Collins (Ballinhassig); C Hammersley (Clonoulty Rossmore), C Prunty (Abbeyside), D Hartnett (Mountmellick); R Barry (Lismore), S O’Donovan (Mayfield), A Coffey (Nenagh); J Cronin (Lisgoold), R Heffernan (Clonoulty Rossmore); D Buckley (Dromina), P Morris (Nenagh), J O’Neill (Courcey Rovers); N McNamara (Kilworth), J Cashman (Lisgoold), M Kearney (Ballyduff Upper).
D Brosnan (Brian Dillons) for Hartnett (HT), K Kavanagh for Buckley (HT); T O’Connor (Inniscarra) for McNamara (40 mins).
J Larkin (Douglas).