It was certainly a game of two halves in Mallow last night. St Michael’s doing all the work in the opening 30 minutes of this Cork PIFC semi-final, leading at the interval by five points.
But then a resurgent Kanturk taking over after the break and — despite being a man down for the closing four minutes plus stoppage, they managed to achieve parity with the last kick of the game from a free by Ian Walsh after referee Patrick O’Driscoll moved the ball forward for dissent.
Naturally there were mixed emotions.
“We are very disappointed,” said Damian O’Callaghan of the St Michael’s management team. “We were five up at half time but we didn’t perform in the second half. Kanturk also came out and gave it a good lash and probably they had nothing to lose.
“To get only three points in the second half is really disappointing. But we are still there and we are after putting in a savage 60 minutes. This is championship, semi-final, nobody is going to lie down and die.”
For Kanturk, there is also their involvement with Duhallow who are playing the senior semi-final tomorrow.
“I am not sure what the County Board will do,” said selector John Kerrigan. “It is a big ask for our players now. There are six of them starting with Duhallow on Sunday and that is a massive ask. Hopefully, we won’t be out again next weekend. You would effectively have six players playing three championship games in a week.
But we are delighted to get the draw. At half time it looked like we were dead. And losing the man towards the end, we were still behind at that stage. It was some performance. We knew we hadn’t performed at all in the first half, we had more in the tank.
While Ian Walsh opened the scoring in the first minute, it was St Michael’s who called the tune after that. Dan Lenihan’s fourth-minute goal was a real gem, it came after the ball was recycled outfield to Alan O’Callaghan who fed Daniel Meaney with Lenihan ensuring a superb finish.
St Michael’s had found the rhythm and almost had a second goal from Tadhg Deasy but the ball came off the post, and near the quarter hour mark another effort from Shane O’Keeffe was kept out by the woodwork again.
Nonetheless, St Michael’s remained in front, and were 1-2 to 0-2 up midway through the half. The second quarter belonged to St Michael’s as well, with Deasy kicking over a monster from play and one from a placed ball. Keith Hegarty and Tom Lenihan scored excellent points coming up to half time, for St Michael’s to lead 1-6 to 0-4.
Kanturk came out all guns blazing after the interval. They outscored St Michael’s five points to one. Lorcán McLoughlin and Darren Browne doing a lot of the spade work as Ryan Walsh (2), substitution Kyrle Holland, Ian Walsh, and Browne pointed. St Michael’s came good once more with Deasy and substitute Eoghan Buckley on target to push the lead to three points with four minutes remaining.
It didn’t look good for Kanturk when Ryan Walsh received a second yellow card and they three points in arrears but they plugged away. Ian Walsh sent over a free, there was one from Aidan Walsh and then Ian Walsh to tie the match in stoppage.
Scorers for Kanturk: I Walsh (0-5 frees), R Walsh (0-3), A Walsh (0-2, 0-1 45), K Holland and D Browne (0-1 each).
Scorers for St Michael’s: T Deasy (0-6, 0-4 frees), D Lenihan (1-0), T Lenihan, K Hegarty and E Buckley (0-1 each).
J Fullerton; J McLoughlin, D Browne, D O’Connor; A Sheehy, L O’Neill, L McLoughlin; A Walsh, P Walsh; M Healy, R Walsh, D O’Connell; C Clernon, I Walsh, J Fitzpatrick.
J Carver for D O’Connor (half-time), K Holland for C Clernon (38).
M Burke; D Cormack, R Dineen, O O’Sullivan; T Lenihan, A O’Callaghan, D Meaney; B Cain, A Murphy; D Lenihan, E Hegarty, K Hegarty; T Deasy, S O’Keeffe, D Cremin.
E Buckley for D Cremin (54), L O’Sullivan for D Lenihan (58).
Patrick O’Driscoll (Bride Rovers).