High drama in Nowlan Park today as Midleton CBS progressed to the semi-finals of the Masita All-Ireland Colleges Senior ‘A’ Hurling Championship after accounting for Coláiste Eoin with a dramatic late, late goal.
The Harty Cup winners had enjoyed a four-point lead entering injury-time but a Séamus Ó Fiachna goal turned the tie on its head as Midleton found themselves a point down with five minutes of added time played.
However, there was to be one final twist as Jason Hankard flicked home a Ryan McCarthy sideline ball to give his side a thrilling and ultimately deserved victory.
Despite the heavy underfoot conditions, the contest opened in a free-flowing manner with Hankard setting the tone for Midleton with an excellent score inside the opening minute.
Despite enjoying a fair degree of possession, it took Coláiste Eoin five minutes to restore parity as Pádraig Puirséil popped over from a tight angle.
That trend continued as Midleton regained their narrow lead through scores from Sam Quirke and Ross O’Regan only for the Dublin Gaelscoil to strike back with scores from Dónal Mac Duinnsléibhe and Séamus O Fiachna.
Ó Fiachna edged Coláiste Eoin in front for the first time when converting a free in the 12th minute but a sublime sideline cut from McCarthy levelled at the end of the first quarter.
O’Regan added his second point in the 16th minute and while Pádhraic Ó Luineacháin restored parity in an instant after a driving run from deep, the momentum was beginning to fall Midleton’s way.
McCarthy added two points in quick succession, including another eye-catching sideline in the 27th minute that edged the Cork outfit 0-8 to 0-6 to the good by half-time.
Coláiste Eoin halved their deficit within a minute of the restart through Darach Mac Giolla Bhríde but the influential McCarthy landed a brace of difficult frees to ensure Midleton held the initiative.
The contest was almost put to bed in the 46th minute as Arthur Nganoe was terribly unfortunate to see his rasping drive cannon to safety off Ben Ó hEidhin’s crossbar.
Coláiste Eoin took advantage of that let-off as they reeled off three points in succession and after Ó Fiachna’s goal and Ó Luanacháin’s point had edged them into the lead in injury-time, their comeback seemed complete.
However, Midleton showed the necessary composure to seal the win in the most dramatic of fashions.
Scorers for Midleton CBS: R McCarthy (0-10, 6 frees, 2 sidelines, 1 65); J Hankard (1-1); R O’Regan (0-2); S Quirke (0-1)
Scorers for Coláiste Eoin: S Ó Fiachna (1-3, 2 frees); P Ó Luanacháin (0-4, 2 65s); D Mac Duinnsléibhe (0-2); D Mac Giolla Bhríde, P Puirséil, O Mac Gearailt (0-1 each)
MIDLETON CBS: J McGann; C O’Brien, D Hogan, D Healy; P Hassett, C Joyce, D Moran; R McCarthy, S Quirke; C Hickey, R O’Regan, G Carroll; K Farmer, A Nganoe, J Hankard.
Subs: O Broderick for Carroll (40), S Walsh for Hickey (55)
COLÁISTE EOIN: B ó hEidhin; B Mac Síthigh, F Ó Murchú, E Ó Ceallacháin; T Stakelum, S Ó Cinseallaigh, C Ó Cathasaigh; I Ó hEithir, C Ó Tuathail; S Ó Fiachna, D Mac Duinnsléibhe, P Ó Luineacháin; P Puirséil, D Mac Giolla Bhríde, T Ó hEachtigheirn.
Subs: O Mac Gearailt for Ó Tuathail (half-time), R Ó Maoileoin for Mac Giolla Bhríde (42), S Ó Cuanaigh for Stakelum (53),
REF: David Hughes (Carlow)