Aghada reignited their Bon Secours PIFC campaign with a thrilling two-point victory over Castletownbere in Dunmanway.
The winners gave themselves a fighting chance of making the knockout stages after a see-saw battle with Castletownbere that wasn’t decided until deep into injury-time.
As for the Beara side, progression from the group hinges on a positive outcome from their upcoming clash with Newmarket.
Aghada began at a blistering pace with Danny Creedon firing over a free inside the first minute. Worse was to follow for a lethargic Castletownbere when Pearse O’Neill and Kevin O’Hanlon combined for Shane Bennett to palm into the net.
An additional Danny Creedon point made it 1-2 to 0-0 after five minutes but, amazingly, that would be Aghada’s last score of the half.
Despite repeatedly turning over possession, Castletownbere trailed by two points at the quarter-hour thanks to Tomás Murphy, Gary Murphy (free) and Andrew O’Sullivan scores.
The Beara team dominated the remainder of the half with a terrific O’Sullivan point and mark sandwiching a pair of Tomás Murphy frees. Timmy Hartnett wasted a goal-scoring opportunity as a misfiring Aghada changed ends 0-7 to 1-2 behind.
Fintan Finner extended the leaders' advantage shortly after the resumption but a straight red card for Castletownbere’s Joseph O’Neill turned a hard-hitting game on its head.
Danny Creedon’s converted free was Aghada’s first score in 36 minutes but kick-started a dominant spell in which Creedon, Diarmuid Phelan and substitute Cian Fleming scores made it 1-8 to 0-9.
Admirably, 14-man Castletownbere tore into their opponents during the closing stages with Gary Murphy, Tomás Murphy (free) and Trevor Collins efforts making for a frantic finale.
Late Danny Creedon and Cian Fleming (two) points cemented Aghada’s victory however, and set up a cracking round of final Group C games.
D Creedon (0-6, 0-4f); C Fleming (0-3); S Bennett (1-0); A Berry and D Phelan (0-1 each).
T Murphy (0-4, 0-3f); G Murphy (0-3, 0-1f); A O’Sullivan (0-3, 0-1m); F Finner and T Collins (0-1 each).
C O’Shea; D Collins, J McDonnell (captain), K O’Shea; J O’Donoghue, M Russell, J Tynan; P O’Neill, D Rice; D Phelan, T Hartnett, D Creedon; K O’Hanlon, S Bennett, D Byrne.
A Berry for J O’Donoghue (28); C Fleming for D Rice (ht); D Leahy for M Russell (37, inj); N Cunningham for K O’Hanlon (43); R Power for D Byrne (51).
C O’Donoghue; O Byrne, L Harrington, J Harrington-Royales; J O’Neill, S McCarthy, D Hanley; A O’Sullivan, F Fenner; C Murphy, J Walsh, B Murphy; G Murphy, T Murphy, D Dunne.
T Collins for B Murphy (39); L Kelly for C Murphy 43, inj).
A Whelton (Clonakilty).