Fergal O’Leary emerged the hero for Inniscarra as he struck a last gasp point to seal their crucial victory in this Cork Premier IHC Round 2 tie in Ballinora on Sunday evening.
The ace forward held his nerve to score a wonderful point which enabled his side to hold off a gallant comeback from the Rockies. Blackrock, who were reduced to 14 men following the dismissal of Eoin Smith in the 45th minute, fought back from a six-point deficit in an enthralling finale. But their hard work was then undone by a piece of O’Leary magic.
Two goals in the opening six minutes of the second half were key factors in helping Inniscarra claim a crucial victory.
Colm Casey and Owen McCarthy netted to move them into a five-point lead after 36 minutes. Inniscarra still require a win in their final group game against Castlelyons to secure their progress into the next round. Defeat was tough on a gallant Blackrock team who now face an uphill battle to proceed in this year’s championship.
Blackrock held a slender two-point lead after the opening quarter thanks chiefly to the dead-ball accuracy of Eoin O’Farrell. Blackrock’s greater physicality was also a major factor in their early dominance while Colin O’Leary was hugely influential at full forward and their combined efforts edged them 0-5 to 0-2 ahead.
Inniscarra however always possessed a threat on the counter. They reduced the arrears to two points after the first quarter following a nice score from Owen McCarthy. Cork senior star Sean O’Donoghue gradually began to get more influential on proceedings at midfield, which helped Inniscarra cut the deficit to one point after 19 minutes. O’Farrell finished the half with another trademark score which pushed his die ahead 0-9 to 0-8.
But the third quarter belonged to their opponents with those two goals from Casey and McCarthy and everything pointed to an easy win for Inniscarra.
The Rockies however refused to surrender and keep chipping away at the deficit with six successive scores in a courageous finish to level proceedings.
But then came O'Leary's winner to end the game, and a thrilling weekend of Co-Op Superstores hurling in Cork.
: O McCarthy (1-2), F O’Leary (0-5), S O’Donoghue (0-3, 2 frees), C Casey (1-0), D O’Keeffe (0-2), E O’Connor, C Bennett (0-1 each).
E O’Farrell (1-12, 1-7 frees, 1 65), C O’Leary, I O’Keeffe, C McCarthy, N Cashman (0-1 each).
J O’Keeffe; L Ryan, S Olden, J Harrington; S Sheehan, C O’Leary, C Lombard; S O’Donoghue, D Hughes; O McCarthy, D O’Keeffe, S O’Mahony; E O’Connor, C Casey, F O’Leary.
L Buckley for C O’Leary (inj, 36), C Bennett for D Hughes (47).
: D O’Mahony; B Ahern, A Hogan, D O’Brien; R Coleman, E Smith, C McCarthy; M O’Farrell, N Cashman; P Leneghan, I O’Keeffe, E O’Farrell; L O’Sullivan, C O’Leary, L Fogarty.
D Cashman for L Fogarty (36), J Leogue for C O’Leary (41).
Joe Larkin (Balliora)