St Finbarr’s made it out of Bandon yesterday with their defence of the Cork SFC still intact, but not without a stern test from Carbery Rangers.
Not until the first minute of injury time at the end of extra-time did the Togher side have a lead that was in any way substantial, when sub Olan Murphy palmed home Eoghan Finn’s pass to put them four points ahead. Even then, there was time for more drama as Carbery Rangers won the kickout and launched the ball goalwards, with a penalty awarded for a challenge on Pádraig Hodnett.
However, John Hayes’s kick went over rather than under the crossbar and, while the Rosscarbery men did have another opportunity for a delivery towards the goal from a 45, the Barr’s held out.
Having not been in action since their first-round win over Clyda Rovers, the Barr’s had been in cold storage while their opponents had overcome Castlehaven the previous week, also after extra-time. Naturally, Barr’s manager Paul O’Keeffe was relieved to be in the quarter-final draw.
“I hated it, start to finish!” he laughed.
“It’s a great game to have under you belt, it puts us back in it in terms of what championship is all about, but that was daylight robbery.
“I thought Carbery were outstanding and we struggled. They really put it up to us and maybe that’s the advantage of having played championship last week.
“We struggled for long periods of that game and never really got going. We were just glad to get there in the end.”
Ross were sharper for much of the first half, yet they went in trailing. With Brian Shanahan’s long-range free having levelled Stephen Sherlock’s opener, the West Cork outfit hit the front. After a sustained period of possession, Tom O’Rourke sent in a searching ball towards John Hayes, who did well to win possession and create space before calming curling a shot past Patrick O’Neill.
After John O’Rourke’s point on 20, they were four ahead, 1-4 to 0-3, but in the final 10 minutes the Barr’s began to dominate the breaks from contested kickouts, allowing Ian Maguire to get on the ball more, and they rounded off the half with four unanswered points.
Colm Barrett rounded off a good move, Eoghan Finn was on target after a one-two with Maguire and Michael Shields profited from Colm Keane forcing a turnover before Sherlock sent over his fifth point deep in injury-time.
In addition, Sherlock forced a good save from Paul Shanahan.
However, Carbery Rangers responded with renewed vigour at the outset of the second half as they reasserted their earlier control. John O’Rourke was heavily involved as they reeled off five points on the trot, scoring one and assisting in two others with John Hayes (two), Darragh Hayes, and first-half sub Séamus Hayes also on target.
After Sherlock opened the Barr’s second-half account, they almost tied the game as they won a Ross kickout and Eoghan Finn placed Eoghan McGreevey for a goal chance but he fired just wide.
However, with the next play, the Barr’s again claimed possession and Maguire drove towards goal, his progress halted illegally by Mark Hodnett in the large square, a penalty and a black card the outcome.
Sherlock stuck his spot-kick beyond Shanahan and though Ross regained the lead through sub Kevin MacMahon, the Barr’s almost had another goal on 48. Michael Shields did well to intercept deep in Ross territory and he fed Maguire, who in turn played in Colm Barrett but Paul Shanahan was quick off his line to smother, with sub Olan Murphy hitting the side-netting.
While corner-back James O’Riordan put Ross two ahead, the Barr’s wouldn’t yield and two Sherlock points levelled before sub Robert O’Mahony put them in front in the 59th minute.
However, there was time for Ross to reply and, when John O’Rourke was fouled, Hayes levelled with his fourth point and extra-time was required.
The first period saw four points evenly shared but Hayes’s seventh point on 73 minutes proved to be the last time Ross led. Sherlock levelled with his 11th point, a lovely score, before Maguire fisted over and then Sherlock started the move that ended with Murphy’s goal.
For the third year in a row, they had outlasted Ross.
“It was very tough to take,” Rangers manager Haulie O’Sullivan said.
“We could have won it in normal time but, like with Castlehaven last week, we knew that it’d be who’d last out and who’d get the break.”
S Sherlock 1-11 (1-0 penalty, 0-5 frees, 0-1 45), O Murphy 1-0, I Maguire, E Finn, C Keane, C Barrett, R O’Mahony, M Shields 0-1 each.
J Hayes 1-8 (0-5 frees, 0-1 penalty), J O’Rourke 0-3, Darragh Hayes, B Shanahan (0-1 free) 0-2 each, S Hayes, James O’Riordan, K MacMahon 0-1 each.
P O’Neill; C Scully, J Burns, A O’Connor; C Dennehy, G O’Connor, C Lyons; I Maguire, C Keane; D O’Brien, S Sherlock, C Barrett; E McGreevey, M Shields, E Finn.
O Murphy for Lyons (45), R O’Mahony for Shields (51), B Hayes for Keane (57), J Linehan for O’Brien (68), I O’Callaghan for Barrett (half-time in extra time), P Kennedy for A O’Connor (79).
P Shanahan; R Hegarty, J O’Riordan, M O’Donovan; J O’Riordan, T O’Rourke, P Hodnett; J Fitzpatrick, B Hodnett; B Shanahan, J O’Rourke, A Jennings; J Hayes, M Hodnett, D Hayes.
S Hayes for O’Donovan (17, injured), K MacMahon for M Hodnett (44, black card), P Hurley for D Hayes (51), M Mennis for Shanahan (black card, 60), Declan Hayes for S Hayes (half-time in extra time), C Hennessy for T O’Rourke (77, black card).
D Murnane (Macroom).