St Catherine’s survived a strong finish from Castlemartyr in the third round of the Cork IHC at Lisgoold this evening. Eleven points ahead with five minutes remaining, Castlemartyr struck an unanswered 2-2, but the county junior champions of 2017 held out in this all east Cork tie. Castlemartyr didn’t help themselves either with too many wides over the hour.
Shane O’Brien and Michael Kelly shared early frees before Joe Stack gave Castlemartyr the lead when he pounced for the opening goal. The celebrations were short-lived as immediately Conor Kearney replied for St Catherine’s after a surging run through the middle from Brian Mulcahy.
Castlemartyr — who had to start without Brian (suspended) and Barry Lawton (injured) — did their best to stay in the hunt. By the halfway stage they were 1-5 to 1-9 in arrears.
St Catherine’s increased their advantage after the restart when Daniel Mangan set up Ben O’Brien and he netted from close range. Castlemartyr’s reply was a brace of points from Joe Stack. The gap at the end of the third quarter, 2-10 to 1-7.
Castlemartyr stayed in touch, but when substitute Niall O’Regan who was just on the field, fetched, and delivered their third goal, they appeared to be home and hosed. Points from Rory Galvin, Mangan, and accurate free-taker O’Brien left them 3-14 to 1-9 to the good.
Castlemartyr refused to give in, leading to a dramatic finish. A fifth placed ball from Michael Kelly started the fight back. Substitute Barry Lawton then fired a brilliant goal from a free. And a couple of minutes later full forward Stack went high to field after Darragh Moran sent in a lengthy free and blasted to the net.
A four-point match in injury time and Castlemartyr denied a fourth goal by the woodwork. Kelly’s seventh point was the last score. St Catherine’s relieved to hear the full-time whistle.
S O’Brien (0-6 frees), B O’Brien, C Kearney and N O’Regan (1-0 each), S Cotter (0-3), D Mangan (0-2), R Galvin, B Mulcahy and P Roche (0-1 each).
J Stack (2-2), M Kelly (0-7, 0-6 frees), B Lawton (1-0 free), D Moran (free) and M Cosgrave (0-1 each).
E Davis; J Neville, L O’Connor, K Neville; C Hegarty (Capt), E Wallace, D Lonergan; S O’Brien, S Cotter; R Galvin, B Mulcahy, D Mangan; C Kearney, P Roche, B O’Brien.
N O’Regan for C Kearney (bs 16-19), N O’Regan for P Roche (50), W Walsh for C Kearney (56), S O’Regan for N O’Regan (61 inj).
J Smiddy; Barra Ó Tuama, E Ronayne, C Martin; J Lawton, D Moran, M Cosgrave; B Smiddy, N O’Donovan; A Bowens (Capt), M Kelly, J McGann; E Martin, Joe Stack, L Martin.
S Hennessy for J McGann (38), Briain Ó Tuama for M Cosgrave (40), B Lawton for E Martin (45), Jamie Stack for L Martin (48), O Smiddy for A Bowens (55).
Niall O’Neill (Midleton).