Courty hold off late charge

Ballinacourty 2-07 Dromcollogher-Broadford 0-11
In a fragmented contest high on endeavour, Ballinacourty withstood severe second-half pressure from Drom-Broadford to squirm through to the final four of the Munster race.

Two first-half sniffer goals from Jason O’Brien and Mark Ferncombe left them five in front but the visitors patiently chiselled away and closed to within a single point entering the final five minutes.

Courty went 19 minutes without a score in the second period but won primary ball when Broadford turned up the temperature. They claimed two consecutive kickouts which resulted in Gary Hurney and Michael O’Halloran nailing the clinching points.

“It was a tough day, Broadford are a good team and there was heavy ground,” defender Richie Foley observed. “It was a typical Munster championship game and that was a game where we dug deep and we are very happy.”

He highlighted their hunger at the finish to stem the tide.

“Patrick and Gary Hurney stood up at the end and caught two absolutely vital balls when there was only a point in it. To win those balls on such a bad day, they are so crucial to win those dirty balls. We done it when it mattered at the end.”

Referee Conor Lane whistled for 44 frees in a stop-start game where players worked themselves to a standstill.

The first half was a slow burner. Derry McCarthy and Shane Briggs exchanged early points before Ray Lynch nabbed the lead on eight minutes after a delicate flick from Michael Reidy sent him away.

Courty shot five first half wides with Broadford narrowly trailing on four.

A feast arrived after the famine. Michael O’Halloran sent over a 45 to end the drought on 21 minutes and he followed up immediately with a close-range free. Derry McCarthy then equalised with a quality curling effort.

On 25 minutes, Shane Briggs floated a pass across to Mark Ferncombe and even though his point attempt fell short, Jason O’Brien pounced to find the net. Danger man Derry McCarthy fired a fantastic third from the right flank and this prompted Courty to move Richie Foley across to watch him.

Courty snuck a second goal two minutes before the break when Patrick Hurney’s delivery was punched home by the lurking Mark Ferncombe. Killian Phair got one back for Broadford to leave Courty with a 2-3 to 0-5 half-time cushion.

Captain Mark Fives recovered Courty’s five-point lead inside 20 seconds of the restart. They started conceding frees at an alarming rate, however, and Broadford reeled off three-in-a-row through Reidy, McCarthy and a fisted Phair effort.

Shane Briggs burst forward for a rallying point to ease the Waterford winners three to the good (2-5 to 0-8) after 40 minutes. Ballinacourty made life difficult for themselves as the free count swelled (16 conceded in the second half) and they kicked three wides.

Bizarrely, Broadford withdrew Derry McCarthy, much to the disbelief of the player in question. Phair now became the focal point of their attack and he whittled the lead down to two.

The other corner man, Ray Lynch, left the slenderest of margins between them (2-5 to 0-10) on 54 minutes.

Courty steadied. Richie Foley, Patrick Hurney and Gary Hurney grabbed a hold of the middle and they poured forward. Michael O’Halloran missed a sitter of a free but they completed the job.

With one minute left, Gary Hurney calmly slotted their first white flag in 19 minutes and almost immediately, O’Halloran also obliged.

Phair’s injury-time free couldn’t stall Courty’ s progress to a meeting with the Clare champions in a fortnight.

Scorers for Ballinacourty: M Ferncombe, J O’Brien 1-0 each; M O’Halloran 0-3 (1f, 1 45’); S Briggs 0-2; M Fives, G Hurney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Dromcollogher-Broadford: D McCarthy, K Phair (1f) 0-4 each; R Lynch 0-2; M Reidy 0-1.

BALLINACOURTY: S Enright; B Looby, S Briggs, D Collins; R Foley, S O’Hare, C Moloney; J O’Mahoney, G Hurney; M Ferncombe, M Fives, M Gorman; M O’Halloran, J O’Brien, P Hurney.

Subs: J Power for Gorman (48); S Donovan for O’Brien (48); G Breen for Collins (56).

DROMCOLLOGHER-BROADFORD: K Noonan; E Barry, D O’Leary, C Fahy; G Noonan, B Noonan, G Egan; S Buckley, M O’Sullivan; M Brosnan, P Donnelly, D McCarthy; R Lynch, M Reidy, K Phair.

Subs: J Stokes for O’Sullivan (h-t); S Brosnan for M Brosnan (h-t); G Greaney for K Noonan (41); P Madigan for McCarthy (48); M Boyce for G Noonan (54).

Referee: C Lane (Cork).


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