The conditions were terrible for hurling at a windy and wet Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening, but in the end Erin’s Own did just enough to see off Ballymartle in the preliminary round of the Cork SHC .
It was a peculiar game, insofar as all five goals came in the opening 30 minutes. Ballymartle won the toss and opted to play into the strong wind. They made the better start, striking two goals in the first quarte, but Once Erin’s Own got up-and-running, they wiped out that advantage, and their third goal before half-time placed them two ahead at the break.
It wasn’t a big lead, and twice Ballymartle pulled the deficit back to one point. While this was a wide-open affair that went all the way to the wire, Erin’s Own — without the injured Robbie O’Flynn — managed to hold on for a meeting with Charleville in round one next Saturday.
The seven-day turnaround will be a short recovery time, but that is where they want to be: “It is always good to get games, that is what it is all about,” said Erin’s Own manager Barry O’Neill.
Like a lot of teams, we haven’t played a huge amount of games up to now. The positive from tonight is that we got a good championship game under our belt.
“I am delighted with our fellas from the point of view of the hard work they put in.
Ballymartle played very well against the wind, it put us under immense pressure. For the first 20 minutes we were struggling. We worked hard and got back into the game. It was a tough game.”
Goals from Jack Dwyer and Paul Geary had Ballymartle2-2 to 1-1 up after 15 minutes.
Dwyer smashed home five minutes in after collecting from a Geary pass following good work by Jack Ryan. Rickard Cahalane and Sean O’Mahony were involved in the second goal which was finished by Geary in the 14th minute.
Erin’s Own hit back. Eoghan Murphy, who had notched his side’s opening goal, set up Stephen Horgan four minutes from the interval. They got the next score as well, another goal, this time Mark Collins after he was put through by James O’Flynn. A free by Sean O’Mahonyreduced the gap to one at half-time, 3-3 to 2-4.
If Ballymartle, who must go to round two, were to get a positive result they needed to shoot more than one point from play with the wind at their backs. Their other three points were excellent long-range frees from wing-back O’Mahony, but they will rue not making better use of the elements.
Erin’s Own, meanwhile, had attacker Andrew Power playing a deeper role. They fluctuated between a one and two-point advantage, and with scores at a premium, they really had to show their mettle.
Collins got them off the mark, pointing soon after the restart, and there was one from Horgan in the 39th minute. The bare minimum separated the sides at the three-quarter stage, 3-5 to 2-7.
Deteriorating weather conditions made life difficult for the two teams.
The remaining three scores came from frees — Murphy twice for Erin’s Own, while there was one from O’Mahony sandwiched in between.
The Caherlag men survived the test and can look forward to a first-round tie with 2018 Premier intermediate champions Charleville.
They won’t know if county player O’Flynn will be fit to play until nearer the time.
Robbie is still carrying an injury. He has been in rehab for the last two weeks. We have to wait and see how he is during the week” said O’Neill.
E Murphy (1-2, 0-2 frees), M Collins and S Horgan (1-1 each), M O’Carroll, S Kelly and A Power (0-1 each).
S O’Mahony (0-4 frees), P Geary and J Dwyer (1-0 each), D O’Leary (0-1 free) and J Ryan (0-2 each).
K Murphy; P Fitzgerald, C Dooley (Capt), J Sheehan; C O’Mahony, S Murphy, S Cronin; S Horgan, J O’Carroll; M Collins, M O’Carroll, S Kelly; A Power, J O’Flynn, E Murphy.
G. O’Mahony for Kelly (inj) C O’Connor for A Power (inj) (62).
P Allen; E O’Leary, C Coleman, D Dwyer; S O’Mahony, S Corry (Capt), D McCarthy; C Allen, R Cahalane; J Ryan, B Corry, S Cummins; P Geary, J Dwyer, D O’Leary.
J Butler for S Cummins (38), E Healy for D Dwyer (40), L Corry for E O’Leary (47), D Edmonds for D McCarthy (55.
Joe Larkin (Ballinora).