Dylan Walsh struck a dramatic winner from a free out near the sideline three minutes into stoppage time to secure a one-point victory for Sarsfields in the first round of the Cork IHC at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
They looked in a good position at half-time, ahead by double scores, but Mayfield fought back to take the lead only for sharp-shooter Walsh to deny them at the finish.
Walsh, Killian Murphy, and James Sweeney grabbed early points for Sarsfields to lead 0-4 to 0-1, and another scoring burst saw them move five up after 23 minutes. Mayfield were made to pay for being wasteful, yet they pegged back the deficit to three points approaching half-time, Nicky Kelly and Shane Duggan registering points.
Two placed balls from Walsh closed out the first half leaving Sarsfields 0-10 to 0-5 in front. But Mayfield also required a terrific save from Darren Wyse to deny Walsh a goal moments before the break.
Mayfield emerged for the second half re-energised. Duggan (2) and Nicky Kelly pointed while at the other end Kevin Punch got a vital block in on James O’Leary. It was all Mayfield. Sarsfields didn’t open their scoring until the 40th minute courtesy of Danny Allen. Great work by Cormac Duggan gave them a little more breathing space.
Mayfield, 2018 semi-finalists, continued to prosper and came within one following a run of points from Michael John Coffey, Gavin Looney, and a superb effort from David O’Neill, (0-13 to 0-12) with the fourth quarter to play.
The rest of the contest was tit-for-tat. Walsh landed two points — from play and a free — to wrestle back control.
Mayfield responded through Shane Kelly, trimming the margin to two points once again. Allen notched his fourth point but Nicky Kelly was equal to the task.
Sarsfields extended their supremacy to four points and five minutes left on the clock, and it looked like they might prevail. The drama wasn’t over though. O’Neill hit a point and soon after Shane Duggan fired a goal to level matters, 1-15 to 0-18.
Nicky Kelly pushed Mayfield into the lead but in the first minute of stoppage, Walsh tied matters. Walsh then brought his tally to 10 points after a foul on Sweeney. The result was safe.
Scorers for Sarsfields:
D Walsh (0-10, 0-7 frees, 0-2 65s), D Allen (0-4), J O’Leary and C Duggan (0-2 each), K Murphy and J Sweeney (0-1 each).
Scorers for Mayfield:
N Kelly (0-7, 0-5 frees), S Duggan (1-3), S Kelly and D O’Neill (0-2 each), M J Coffey and G Looney (0-1 each).
C Looney; N Fitzpatrick, E Gaffey, S Garvey; C Roche, G Gray, J Leopold; K Murphy, D Roche; J O’Leary, C Darcy, D Allen; D Walsh, J Sweeney, C Duggan.
B Graham for D Allen (64).
D Wyse; G Lehane, K Brosnan, P Condon; K Punch, S O’Donovan, B Punch; D O’Neill, D Hayes; D Malone, N Kelly, M J Coffey; S Keegan, S Kelly, S Duggan.
G Looney for B Punch (half-time).
Ger Ahern (Canovee).