A battling performance from Avondhu ensured their place in the final of the Co-Op Superstores Cork Premier SHC Division/Colleges section next Sunday evening in Páirc Uí Rinn (6pm) against Imokilly, after an intensely contested semi-final in Mourne Abbey last night.
At the end of a quality hour’s hurling, Joe O’Brien’s charges managed to keep their noses in front, a position they held from as early as the eighth minute. Having gained confidence from their three group game victories (Carbery, Muskerry and Duhallow), every player contributed handsomely to the win.
UCC came to within a point, 2-17 to 1-19, with three minutes of regulation remaining but with at least six minutes of additional time, Jack Twomey produced a magnificent contribution of four late points to help his side over the line. There was one also from sub Liam Cronin.
There were big moments too from key players Mark Keane, Colin O’Brien and Stephen Condon. It was Condon’s 22nd minute goal that put his side 1-11 to 0-10 up at the break.
The opening 15 minutes were played at a hectic pace, resulting in 12 scores, after which Avondhu were 0-7 to 0-5 to the fore. Condon’s green flag was finished brilliantly, it came after good work from Keane and Twomey for the north Cork men to move 1-9 to 0-5 in front.
UCC worked their way back, Piaras O’Halloran, Eoin Carey, Niall O’Leary and Diarmuid Kearney reduced the gap to four points.
But Avondhu got a dream start to the second-half.
Ian Butler was forced to save from Twomey, but he couldn’t deny Chris Buckley - with Twomey involved - as he bagged Avondhu’s second goal on his home turf (2-12 to 0-11) — he injured himself in the process and had to be substituted.
Showing immense resolve, UCC charged back and midway through the second-half, the deficit was three, 2-15 to 1-15.
It remained a three-point match in the 50th minute as UCC refused to throw in the towel and O’Halloran’s second point left just the one point between them.
But Avondhu powered over the finish line, Twomey’s points inspirational at the death.
S Condon (1-6, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65), C O’Brien (0-6, 0-2 frees), J Twomey (0-5), C Buckley (1-1), B Buckley (0-2), M Keane and L Cronin (0-1 each).
D Kearney (0-7, 0-6 frees), P Hynes (1-0), N O’Leary, E Cullinane and E Carey (0-3 each), E Power and P O’Halloran (0-2 each), E Desmond (0-1).
K Walsh (Kilworth); E Burke (Kilshannig), E McGrath (Kilworth), F Herlihy (Ballygiblin); B Buckley (Dromina), M Keane (Ballygiblin, Capt), D O’Reilly (Ballyhooly); J O’Sullivan (Ballygiblin), D Linehan (Ballyhooly); B O’Reilly (Shanballymore), C O’Brien (Liscarroll/Churchtown Gaels), J Twomey (Kilshannig); J Magner (Killavullen), C Buckley (Clyda Rovers), S Condon (Harbour Rovers).
L Cronin (Killavullen) for D Linehan (18 inj), M Lenahan (Buttevant) for C Buckley (36 inj), D O’Brien (Harbour Rovers) for J Magner (48), D Buckley (Dromina) for B Buckley (66 inj), B Murphy (Milford) for B O’Reilly (68).
I Butler (Kildorrery); P Cummins (Russell Rovers), D O’Leary (Watergrasshill), D Hogan (Burgess, Tipperary); N O’Leary (Castlelyons), C Barry (Ahane, Limerick), M Callanan (Whitechurch); P O’Halloran (Ballygarvan), P Hynes (Shamrocks, Waterford); E Desmond (Carrigaline Capt), E Carey (Kilworth), E Power (Ballina, Tipperary); C Grainger (Ballinhassig), E Cullinane (Ballinhassig), D Kearney (Cobh).
E Murnane (Golden Kilfeacle, Tipperary) for C Grainger (37), C O’Mahony (Ballygunner, Waterford) for E Desmond (50).
Niall O’Neill (Midleton).