The spirit of the Glen shone through in spades as Ian Lynam’s charges overcame the 23rd minute sending off of Patrick Horgan to book their place in the last four of the Cork hurling championship.
Imokilly’s numerical advantage and the four unanswered points they struck either side of half-time to open up a 1-10 to 1-8 advantage suggested a clear shift in momentum towards the divisional outfit in this thrilling Cork PSHC quarter-final, but their battling and defiant 14-man opponents refused at any point in the second-half to allow the gap stretch beyond two.
Indeed, two points was the difference when Imokilly were also reduced to 14 men on 50 minutes, John Cronin picking up a questionable second yellow card. Questionable too was the red shown half an hour earlier to Patrick Horgan for an off-the-ball incident involving the now dismissed Cronin.
Brian Moylan’s third free of the second-half on 51 minutes left the minimum between the sides, with Glen sub Conor Dorris levelling proceedings for the fourth time on 55 minutes.
The outstanding Simon Kennefick propelled the Glen back in front four minutes from time, Imokilly subsequently shooting three incredibly poor wides.
A Shane O’Regan free entering second-half stoppages pointed towards extra-time, but yet another superb Kennefick effort on 63 minutes recorded a most famous Glen Rovers victory.
Glen Rovers had led 1-8 to 1-7 at the break, but the only talking point on everyone’s lips at the end of the first 30 was the 23rd-minute red card shown to Patrick Horgan for an off the ball incident involving the Cork full-forward and Imokilly’s John Cronin.
Referee Simon Stokes did not see the incident, the altercation brought to his attention by an umpire at the City End. Horgan’s reaction to the red card was one of complete shock, the Glen forward disbelieving at the colour of the card being held in front of him.
The 33-year-old had contributed 1-2 in the 23 minutes before his sending-off, his third-minute goal a work of art in the way he plucked possession from the sky, held off three Imokilly shirts before dispatching to the net.
To the Glen’s immense credit, they responded valiantly to losing their talisman. Ian Lynam’s charges sniped a pair of points in the three minutes following Horgan’s red card to move 1-8 to 1-6 in front.
Indeed, they were most unlucky not to double that two-point lead to four as a Simon Kennefick point was ruled out when the Glen corner-forward was adjudged to have carried the sliotar over the sideline before splitting the posts. Shortly after, a Glen free in front of the Imokilly posts was reduced to a throw ball after Stokes deemed that David Noonan had illegally challenged Michael Russell following the awarding of the free.
Harnedy brought Imokilly back within the minimum at the break, but, all told, it was a poor first-half showing from the divisional outfit who found themselves 1-3 to 0-1 behind inside five minutes.
A point from Brian Lawton, allied to Liam O’Shea’s accuracy, saw Imokilly close the gap to three - 1-5 to 0-5 - at the first water break and the men from the East were level on 19 minutes when Shane O’Regan fetched a Liam O’Shea delivery and rattled Cathal Hickey’s net.
Imokilly will be most disappointed at their inability to open up a meaningful lead during the 27 minutes they had an extra man.
For the Glen, their priority ahead of the semi-final has to be getting Horgan’s red card rescinded.
P Horgan (1-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 ‘65); B Moylan (0-3 frees), S Kennefick (0-3 each); D Brosnan, D Noonan (0-2 each); L Horgan, M Dooley, C Dorris (0-1 each).
S O’Regan (1-3, 0-1 free); L O’Shea (0-4, 0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘65); B Lawton (0-3) S Harnedy (0-2); M Kelly, M McCarthy (0-1 each).
C Hickey; D Dooling, S McDonnell, A Lynch; B Moylan, R Downey, E Downey; A O’Donovan, D Noonan; D Brosnan, L Horgan, M Dooley; L Coughlan, P Horgan, S Kennefick.
D Cronin for Dooley (HT, inj); C Dorris for L Horgan (50, inj); C Healy for D Noonan (temporary, 50-53); C Healy for A Lynch (58), E Murphy for L Coughlan (61).
J Barry (Castlelyons); K Histon (Cobh), C Barry (Castlelyons), N Motherway (Dungourney); C O’Brien (St Ita’s), M Russell (Aghada), J Cronin (Lisgoold); S Hegarty (Dungourney), M McCarthy (Aghada); Brian Lawton (Castlemartyr), L O’Shea (Lisgoold), S Harnedy (St Ita’s); S O’Regan (Watergrasshill), Barry Lawton (Castlemartyr), A Spillane (Castlelyons).
M Kelly (Castlemartyr) for Barry Lawton (HT); S Desmond (Watergrasshill) for Spillane (44); A Fenton (Castlemartyr) for McCarthy (55); J Stack (Castlemartyr) for O’Shea (58).