St Finbarr’s 2-11 Dripsey 0-16: Michael Ryan’s injury time goal proved to be the difference in this opening round Cork IHC, giving St Finbarr’s a narrow victory at Ballincollig last night.
In a tight contest, Dripsey had just put their noses in front but in a dramatic finish, Barrs cornerforward Robert O’Mahony intercepted a quick Dripsey puckout. His pinpoint pass to Ryan was brilliantly drilled to the net for the winner.
Dripsey, who contested the county final last year, did have a few opportunities to force extra-time but on the night all three shots tailed wide.
They were also without the services of the suspended John Carey.
However, full credit to 14-man St Finbarr’s who had to play the final 20 minutes plus five minutes of stoppage time without full-back Patrick Buckley who was red-carded for a foul on Diarmuid O’Riordan early in the second-half.
St Finbarr’s opened well when O’Mahony kicked a goal inside three minutes after collecting from a Philip O’Brien free.
Due mainly to the influential O’Brien at centre-back, the mid-Cork outfit found scores harder to come by.
At the end of the first quarter, they trailed 1-3 to 0-3. However, courtesy of some fine stick work from Mark O’Sullivan who fired five first-half points, Dripsey slowly worked their way back.
The Blues lifted their game once more on the approach to half-time with Ryan, sub Eoin Hill and O’Mahony finding the range to give them an interval lead of 1-8 to 0-9 — a pair of Michael O’Riordan frees from distance keeping Dripsey right in the hunt.
It was all Dripsey after the resumption with most of their best work coming in the third quarter.
Finding space, they were soon level through two David O’Sullivan white flags. They edged in front following a Diarmuid O’Riordan free. And went two clear when Gary Murphy finished a superb three-man move.
Back came St Finbarr’s and with 10 minutes to play, Ciarán Greene and O’Mahony tied the match, 1-10 to 0-13. A productive four-minute spell yielding points from Mark O’Sullivan, Diarmuid O’Riordan and David O’Sullivan saw Dripsey move three points clear.
With the time counting down, O’Brien composed himself to clip over a free — the gap now down to two and the clock ticking into injury time. Dripsey looked to be hanging in there, but then came Ryan’s goal.
St Finbarr’s now march on to a second round place against the winners of tonight’s tie between Glen Rovers and Midleton.
Dripsey, meanwhile, will play the losers of Kilbrittain v Ballymartle/Grenagh in round 2B.
Scorers for St Finbarr’s:
R O’Mahony (1-5, four frees), M Ryan (1-2), P O’Brien (0-2, one 65m, one free), C Greene and E Hill (0-1 each).
Scorers for Dripsey:
M O’Sullivan (0-6), D O’Riordan (0-4, three frees), David O’Sullivan (0-3), M O’Riordan (0-2 frees), G Murphy (0-1).
P Kenneally; C Nagle, P Buckley, O Fetherstonhaugh; R Kelly, P O’Brien, N Hallahan; P Kennedy, C Greene; Cian Buckley, M Ryan, D O’Connor; Corey Buckley, D Dignan, R O’Mahony.
E Hill for Cian Buckley (6 inj), J Goulding for D Dignan (40), B Ramsey for D O’Connor (47).
A Buckley; B Kelleher, L Murphy, D Buckley; C Hayes, J O’Riordan, A Murray; P O’Riordan, S Murray; G Murphy, D O’Riordan, M O’Riordan; David O’Sullivan, M O’Sullivan, Dean O’Sullivan.
S Burke for P O’Riordan (51 inj), M O’Sullivan for M O’Riordan (55 inj), K Kelleher for Dean O’Sullivan (59).
Simon Stokes (Tullylease)
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