Spirited Courceys defy Mungret comeback for extra-time triumph

Cork champs Courcey Rovers delivered a determined last 10 minutes to finally shake off the challenge of Mungret St. Paul's 
Spirited Courceys defy Mungret comeback for extra-time triumph

Sean Twomey, Courcey Rovers controlling the sliotar against Ronan Kirby, Mungret St Pauls in the All Ireland Munster Hurling Semi Final in TUS Gaelic Grounds

Munster Club IHC semi-final: Courcey Rovers 1-18 Mungret St Paul’s 1-17 (AET) 

Four unanswered points in the second period of extra-time booked Courcey Rovers a place in the Munster club IHC final.

Courceys, with the elements behind them, delivered a determined and spirited last 10 minutes to finally shake off the challenge of Mungret St. Paul's in this entertaining Munster semi-final.

Their heroes were men who had come off the bench during the second half of regulation time, subs Aidan O’Donovan and John McCarthy both grabbing a pair of points during extra-time.

Level at 1-14 to 0-17 at half-time in extra-time, Courceys' four-in-a-row took them four clear on 81 minutes. Mungret sub Chams Jagana did pounce for an 82nd-minute goal, but no equaliser could they find in the ensuing and final passage of play.

Courceys will now meet Kilmoyley of Kerry or Waterford’s Dunhill in the Munster final.

Extra-time was required after Mungret's Paul O’Brien converted a pressure-soaked 66th minute free from between the 65s on the Mackey Stand side. O’Brien’s placed-ball effort, his sixth of the game, brought Mungret level for the first time in proceedings.

Backed by the elements in the second period, the Limerick champions struck six of the half’s last seven points to wipe out Courceys' five-point lead.

This comeback effort included four-in-a-row between the 46th and 57th minute, Paul O’Brien throwing over a pair of frees, with Brian Barry and Rory Duff also on target.

Sean Twomey’s 58th-minute point for Courceys was their first in 18 minutes and served to shove their lead back out to two, 1-13 to 0-14.

But Mungret were relentless by this juncture, driving forward at every opportunity. The directness to their hurling stood in stark contrast to the short-passing approach adopted in the opening half that did them absolutely no favours at all.

Full-forward Niall Mulcahy pared the margin back to the minimum shortly after Twomey’s white flag, but there followed a series of wides at either end.

With the four minutes of allotted second-half stoppages elapsed, referee Joe Mullins awarded a dubious free to Mungret for a challenge on Darragh O’Hagan which O’Brien converted.

Courceys had led 1-9 to 0-7 at the break and wouldn’t have needed telling that their interval advantage should have been greater than five as three opportunities to double their green flag count went abegging.

Their goal was the game’s opening score, Twomey blasting to the net within 90 seconds of the throw-in. Twomey was a real thorn in the side of the Mungret St. Paul’s defence throughout the opening period, finishing the half with 1-1 and also winning a free that Richard Sweetnam converted.

Twomey could have had a second goal on seven minutes, but his shot was superbly blocked by Mungret ‘keeper Conor O’Brien, with the rebound from Ronan Nyhan also repelled by O’Brien.

Twomey was hooked later in the half as he again took aim for goal, Olan Crowley got onto the subsequent breaking ball and managed to get his shot away but the effort was kept out by a sliding Mungret defender.

The Cork champions, with the wind behind them, led 1-6 to 0-4 at the first water break, goalkeeper Stephen Nyhan among their early scorers with a long-range free. Also contributing for Courceys in the opening quarter was Tadhg O’Sullivan, Richard Sweetnam, and Ronan Nyhan.

Mungret, whose main first-half provider was Paul O’Brien (0-3, one sideline and one free), were time and again let down by their short-passing game. Case in point was Courceys ninth and final point of the half, Ronan Nyhan splitting the posts after Mungret had been pickpocketed when attempting to short-pass their way out of defence.

Mungret grew into proceedings upon the change of ends, but their failure to put sufficient scores on the board when again having the wind in their favour during the first period of extra-time ultimately proved their downfall.

Scorers for Courcey Rovers: S Twomey (1-2); R Sweetnam (0-5, 0-3 frees); S Nyhan (0-2 frees), R Nyhan, A O’Donovan, J McCarthy, J O’Neill (0-2 each); T O’Sullivan (0-1 each).

Scorers for Mungret St. Paul’s: P O’Brien (0-7, 0-5 frees, 0-1 sc); B Barry, N Mulcahy (0-3 each); C Jagana (1-0); R Duff (0-2 each); C O’Brien, C Hellewell (0-1 each).

COURCEY ROVERS: S Nyhan; K Collins, B Collins, B Mulcahy; C Roche, F Lordan, S McCarthy; L Collins, M Collins; J O’Neill, T O’Sullivan, S Twomey; R Nyhan, R Sweetnam, O Crowley.

Subs: A O’Donovan for R Nyhan (39); J McCarthy for Crowley (48); M O’Donovan for O’Neill (54); DJ Twomey for L Collins (62); B Ryan for O’Sullivan (80).

MUNGRET ST. PAUL’S: C O’Brien; R Kirby, L Harrington, C Hellewell; M O’Sullivan, P Begley, E O’Doherty; B Duff, R Duff; B O’Meara, C O’Brien, B Barry; P O’Brien, N Mulcahy, C Lenihan.

Subs: C Flahive for M O’Sullivan (14 mins, inj); M Mullins for Lenihan (HT); D O’Hagan for Flahive (45); M O’Sullivan for Kirby (53); C Jagana for C O’Brien (73).

Referee: J Mullins (Clare).

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