A pulsating final 10 minutes in this Co-Op Superstores Cork Premier SHC clash, which produced the best hurling, ended with Shane Forde grabbing a last gasp equaliser six minutes into injury time for Na Piarsaigh.
Before this, the contest had been rather mundane though the biggest cheer was for the introduction of Carrigtwohill stalwart Niall McCarthy with 20 minutes remaining. And he didn't disappoint, scoring two fine points, his second looking like a winner deep in injury time until Forde’s leveller.
For Carrig coach Mick Da Fitzgerald it was a bit of a disappointment. “We were close, but it is all about the win. We blooded in a few youngsters today but it is always a tough ask against a team like Na Piarsaigh. At least we didn’t lose, we will take heart from the point and go again against the Glen next week and see where we are.”
Na Piarsaigh boss Colin O’ Sullivan was also disappointed. “We only hurled for about seven or eight minutes in each half and that’s just not good enough. The one plus is we got some great late scores which brought us back into the game. We’ll knuckle down now in training on Tuesday and prepare for the Barrs, but we’ll be looking for a far better performance.”
Certainly Carrigtwohill had the bit between their teeth in the opening quarter with young Sean Walsh giving Piarsaigh full back Eddie Gunning plenty to think about. Points from Liam Gosnell and Tomás Hogan gave them a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes. Indeed they should have been well clear but for some poor shooting.
Instead, it was Na Piarsaigh who led after the opening quarter 0-4 to 0-3 thanks to points from Padraig Guest, Kevin Moynihan, and Evan Sheehan rather against the run of play.
The water break did not bring much improvement as neither side were able to pull away. Na Piarsaigh wing back Daire Connery hit a superb 23rd minute pointed free from inside his own 65 and into the wind but it was no surprise when the sides went in at the break on level terms at 0-8 apiece with Gosnell hitting four of Carrig’s points.
Gosnell continued to tack on the points for Carrig from frees in the second half despite playing against the breeze and with wing back David Rooney having a fine match last year's beaten semi-finalists were up for it. Tomás Hogan hurled a lot of ball around midfield and then came a Carrig goal in the 43rd minute when Na Piarsaigh keeper Liam Donovan parried another Gosnell free down against the crossbar and big Liam O’Sullivan was in like a shot to fire the ball home.
Leading 1-11 to 0-9 Carrig we’re looking good. Then we saw the arrival of Niall McCarthy and the former Cork star did not disappoint as his side led 1-12 to 0-10 entering the final water break. In at full-forward McCarthy stretched that lead to six points but then came a terrific Na Piarsaigh fight back with four points in a row from Connery, Eagan Sheehan, Christopher Joyce, who had a quiet match, and Shane Forde.
And for good measure, Forde was in for a goal in the 57th minute and Na Piarsaigh were ahead. In fairness, Carrigtwohill never wilted in six hectic minutes of injury time and thought they had it won with McCarthy’s late late point. But up stepped Shane Forde for the equaliser they just about deserved.
E. Sheehan (0-7, 4 frees): S. Forde (1-2); D. Connery (0-3, 1 free): K. Moynihan (0-2): P. Guest, K. Forde, C. Joyce (0-1 each).
L. Gosnell (0-8, 7 frees): J. Mulcahy (0-3); L. O’Sullivan (1-0); N. McCarthy (0-2); T. Hogan, D. Rooney, S. Walsh, P. Hogan (0-1 each).
L. Donovan; A. Dennehy, E,. Gunning, A. Dennehy; G. Joyce, C. Joyce, D. Connery; C. Buckley, K. Buckley; S. Forde, E. Sheehan, K. Moynihan; E. Sheehan, K. Forde, P. Guest.
C. Hannifin for C. Buckley (40m), G. Healy for K. Buckley (55m), K. Power for K. Forde (56m).
S. Devlin; B. Twomey, P. O’Sullivan, J. Horgan; D. Rooney, R. Power, A. Walsh Barry; P. Hogan, T. Hogan; S. Roche, L. O’Sullivan, J. McCarthy; J. Mulcahy, L. Gosnell, S.Walsh.
C. O’Connell for Roche (40m); N. McCarthy for J. McCarthy (42m); S. O’Hanlon for T. Hogan (49m); D. Crotty for Mulcahy (61m).
S. Stokes (Tullylease).