For long stages in this compelling Cork SHC third round in Mallow on Saturday, it looked like championship newcomers Charleville might prevail.
Last year’s Premier intermediate winners fought all the way, but battling Glen Rovers, who didn’t take the lead until extra time, used all of their experience to do what they needed to do.
Yes, they were put to the pin of their collar, but their refusal to die got them over the line, even if they left it late. They found an extra gear which also involved the positive role of their bench, including a brace from substitutes David Busteed and Donal Cronin.
Dean Brosnan’s kicked goal in the sixth minute of extra time, either side of a couple of Glen points, was the first time they saw daylight. Charleville didn’t give in. Darragh Fitzgibbon’s delivery reached Andrew Cagney, goal for Charleville, followed by a Cagney point, 1-20 to 1-17.
In the second period of extra time, the gap oscillated between one and two points, Cathal Hickey required to make a breathtaking save from another free from Fitzgibbon that landed in the square. It was only when Busteed sent over his second point that the title holders of 2015 and 2016 were two to the good. Despite Fitzgibbon firing his 16th point, Charleville still came up short.
“We would have taken half a point victory to get out of here,” said Glen Rovers manager Richie Kelleher.
You would feel sorry for Charleville. That is not being pity on them. They were outstanding. They are on a roll for 12 months or more. We had our players warned. It is very hard playing teams out the county, they love it and the crowd get behind them.
"They had us in right trouble. They probably didn’t have the panel we had, if they had, they would have beaten us. That game will stand to us.”
As expected, Fitzgibbon was the vanguard, similar to Patrick Horgan (0-12) for the Glen. They are two fantastic strikers of the ball, and while they miscued a few frees, they remained the biggest scoring threats for their respective teams.
Fitzgibbon was the star of the first half. Of their 0-11 to 0-6 interval lead, he shot eight points. They were three points to nil before Dale Tynan opened the Glen scoring. Simon Kennefick levelled matters but with the wind to their backs, there was no let-up from Charleville. The Glen were wasteful and by the end of the half, there was a five-point swing.
Both teams were off target after the break. The expected fightback from the city team was not materialising, prompting the introduction of Cronin and Glenn Kennefick together at the midway stage, and Busteed 10 minutes later.
It wasn’t until Horgan grabbed a trademark placed ball in the 50th minute there was deadlock, 0-13 each. When Fitzgibbon picked out Mark Kavanagh at full time, they were two up.
It was in stoppage when Simon Kennefick and Cronin grabbed the scores to tie the contest (0-16 apiece). Horgan had an opportunity from a free but it was not an easy one and tailed wide.
Extra time followed, the Glen restarting better. They went on a run of scores including two Horgan frees, Brosnan’s goal and points from Cronin and corner-back Daniel Morris.
Another team might have wilted – not Charleville. Cagney’s goal and point sparked a comeback, leaving the score 1-20 to 1-17 at half-time in extra- time. The north Cork outfit brought the lead down to a single point twice. There was ferocious work-rate going on all over the pitch but Glen Rovers eventually weathered the storm.
The win came in a week when club stalwart Liam Ó Tuama was laid to rest. He was fondly remembered by Kelleher.
“I shouldered his coffin yesterday and it was an honour. His wife is my wife’s aunt. He was a very honest, blunt man. He would tell you if you were right or if you were wrong, a great man. Maybe he helped us tonight, I know he would have enjoyed that victory.”
P Horgan (0-12, 0-11 frees), D Brosnan (1-2), S Kennefick, D Cronin and D Busteed (0-2 each), D Morris and D Tynan (0-1 each).
D Fitzgibbon (0-16, 0-11 frees, 0-2 65s), A Cagney (1-1), D Casey (0-2), J Doyle and M Kavanagh (0-1 each).
C Hickey; D Morris, D Dooling, C Healy; R Downey, B Moylan, D Noonan; S McDonnell, A O’Donovan; D Brosnan, P Horgan, D Tynan; C Dorris, S Kennefick, L Coughlan.
G Kennefick for L Coughlan, D Cronin for S McDonnell (both 46), D Busteed for D Tynan (55), D Cunningham for C Dorris (70), A Lynch for D Dooling (75), S McDonnell for C Healy (76).
C Collins; D Butler, F Cagney, M O’Flynn; A Dennehy, J Buckley, C Carroll; J Callaghan, D Fitzgibbon; J Doyle, K O’Connor, D Casey; C Buckley, M Kavanagh, A Cagney.
T Hawe for C Buckley (29), C Fitzgerald for D Casey (68), G Kelleher for M Kavanagh (73).
Cathal McAllister (Aghada).