Ballymartle 4-19 St. Finbarr’s 1-20 (aet)
Ballymartle had to dig deep to overcome St. Finbarr’s in a keenly contested Cork senior hurling championship third round tie which required extra-time at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening.
The result keeps Ballymartle’s title hopes alive while it consigns the Barrs into a relegation battle with Ballinhassig.
The losers have no one to blame but themselves. Hurling well in most sectors of the field, they held a five point lead at the threequarter stage, but this pacy Ballymartle side put in a storming finish and it took a last minute Ian Lordan point for St Finbarr’s to send the game into extra-time. The added period belonged almost entirely to the Riverstick men, however, and two goals, after great passing movements, booked their place in the fourth round.
Wind-assisted Barrs needed to build a sizeable lead in their bid for victory, but some appalling finishing, which saw them hit nine wides in an 11 minute spell, was to cost them dearly.
Eventually Ian Lordan found the target with a point before Damien Cahalane added another and the city side were hurling well enough to suggest they would emerge victorious.
However, they were rocked by a Ballymartle goal in the seventh minute when Dan Dwyer fired a powerful shot to the corner of the net after a defensive error.
A shower of rain before throw in meant underfoot conditions were greasy but two evenly matched sides were level three times in the opening half before the Blues edged two points clear.
It should have been more, but, after he weaved his way past a couple of defenders, Cahalane’s powerful shot from 20 metres came back off an upright before being cleared. The dominance of Eoin Keane at centre-back and Cahalane at midfield, kept the pressure on an overworked Ballymartle defence and points by Ian Lordan and Eoghan Finn helped the Togher side to an interval lead of 0-8 to 1-3 as they turned to face the wind.
The Barrs continued to dictate the play on the change over, with substitute Colm Keane playing a pivotal role. He grabbed 1-1 to push his side five points clear by the end of the third quarter and the looked set to coast to the end.
However, the Riverstick side weren’t ready to roll over and it took a magnificent interception by Barrs keeper David O’Gorman to deny Brian Corry a certain goal as Ballymartle began to apply huge pressure.
Barry Dwyer was unerring from frees and he landed three in-a-row before Darren McCarthy billowed the net after a great passing movement. Dwyer tied the game for the fourth time with a point and the sides were level on two further occasions before extra-time was called for.
In the first period there was no separating the teams as they were level on two more occasions before Ruairi Dwyer finished another great passing movement to the net to give Ballymartle a 3-16 to 1-18 half-time lead.
Barrs left huge gaps in defence as they chased the game in the second period of extra-time and the eager Ballymartle forwards took full advantage, with Jamie Dwyer finding the net for their fourth goal to seal the win.
Scorers for Ballymartle: B. Dwyer (0-11, 5f, 2, 65s); R. Dwyer, Darren McCarthy (0-1 free) (1-2 each); Dan Dwyer (1-1); J. Dwyer (1-0); S. Corry, B. Corry, S. O’Mahony (0-1 each).
Scorers for St. Finbarr’s: I. Lordan (0-9, 7f); C. Keane (1-2); G. O’Connor (0-3); E. Finn (0-2); D. Cahalane, E. Maher, E. Keane, J. Neville (0-1 each).
BALLYMARTLE: D. McCarthy; Declan Dwyer, M. Tobin, J., Kelly; S. Corry, P. Dwyer, C. Coleman; S. O’Mahony, R. Cahalane; Darren McCarthy, B. Corry, B. Dwyer; Dan Dwyer, J. Dwyer.
Subs: D. Edmunds for J. Dwyer (50); TJ Murphy for P. Dwyer (70); C.
McCarthy for Declan Dwyer (75); J. Dwyer for B. Dwyer (75).
ST. FINBARR’S: D. O’Gorman; J. Neville, J., Burns, R. McCarthy; I., Maguire, E. Keane, H. Goggin; D. Cahalane, E. Finn; S. Callinan, E. Maher, G., O’Connor; N. Cooke, R., O’Mahony, I. Lordan .
Subs: C. Keane for N. Cooke (half time); C. McCarthy for S. Callinan (48); P. O’Brien for R. McCarthy (55); J. Crowley for R. O’Mahony (70).
Referee: D. Kirwan (Éire Óg).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved