Youghal 0-12 Killeagh 0-11: Drama in Ballynoe on Saturday evening, with Youghal edging this Cork SHC second round clash by the narrowest of margins, teenage sub Darragh O’Connell hitting the late, late point which defeated Killeagh in this absorbing local derby.
The men in green and white almost rescued a draw - they won an injury-time free on their own ‘65’ which goalkeeper Bernard Rochford dropped into the opposition goalmouth, but Killeagh couldn’t work a scoring chance from the delivery, and Youghal celebrated in the late evening sunshine.
As a derby encounter this didn’t quite deliver the blood and thunder one would have expected - the game was quite tactical, with strategies heavily influenced by a strong breeze blowing away from the dressing-room end.
Killeagh enjoyed the wind in the first half but neither side could claim to have exploited it to the full, as evidenced by the tightness of the proceedings.
Against the wind, Youghal pulled corner-forward Brett Moloney back to the middle, and that meant they often had an extra pair of hands to help out in defence.
Though Killeagh had the first point, through Daniel Walsh, Youghal were more impressive in the first quarter, with Bill Cooper showing well at midfield. They seemed stronger physically and worked the ball down the wings well into the wind, while in Brendan Ring and James O’Mahony they had tireless workers who harried Killeagh defenders and forced them into hurried clearances time and again.
By the tenth minute, Youghal led 0-3 to 0-1 thanks to Alan Frahill-O’Connor and Cooper points as well as a Brendan Ring free. Killeagh pushed former Cork All-Ireland winner Joe Deane into midfield themselves, and the veteran improved matters for them.
As the half wore on he hit a good point from play and two frees, and Killeagh seemed to be getting the upper hand without ever enjoying a period of complete dominance.
However, before the half-time whistle sounded Ciaran O’Mahony got Youghal back on the scoreboard with their first point in eighteen minutes - four points apiece at the break.
Killeagh hit six wides in that first half to Youghal’s two, which didn’t augur well for their chances, but as so often happens when a team faces the wind, they worked harder without the advantage.
They also had one of the game’s two goal chances seconds after the half-time break - a ball broke kindly for Sean Long, their full-forward, but his snap shot flew over rather than under the bar, putting Killeagh in front.
Youghal rallied - the impressive Brendan Ring had two points to re-take the lead, but then Killeagh took over, and in this game’s equivalent of a purple patch, they hit four points on the trot. Centre-forward David Cahill hit two, Deane had another free, and impressive substitute Eoghan Keniry chipped in.
That made it 0-9 to 0-6, but Youghal stayed alive - Cooper hit a fine point and then came the other sight of goal; a long delivery broke through to Brendan Ring, one-on-one with Killeagh ‘keeper Bernard Rochford. Ring delayed calmly before pulling the trigger, but the experienced Rochford saved well and Killeagh cleared.
Keniry, who was making inroads with every possession, hit two more points for Killeagh, but Ring kept Youghal within touching distance with two more frees.
Then the seasiders lost their way, hitting what appeared to be a fatal four wides in a row as the game rolled into its final ten minutes.
It took substitute Nigel Roche’s long-range effort to nudge them one point closer to their opponents and then another substitute, Conor O’Sullivan, equalised.
With a draw and extra-time looming, Killeagh had a wide, and then Ring had a difficult long-range free which went awry as well.
It looked as though another twenty minutes would be necessary, but then came O’Connell’s dramatic intervention, and despite Rochford’s brave free, Youghal went home with the spoils.
Scorers for Youghal:
B. Ring (0-5, frees); B. Cooper (0-2); A. Frahill-O’Connor, C. O’Mahony, C. O’Sullivan, N. Roche, D. O’Connell (0-1 each).
Scorers for Killeagh:
J. Deane (0-4, 3 frees); E. Keniry (0-3); D. Cahill (0-2); S. Long, D. Walsh (0-1 each).
R. Cunningham, B. O’Sullivan, J. Grace, Barry Ring, K. Walsh, C. Spillane, O. Dempsey, A. Joyce, A. Frahill-O’Connor, C. O’Mahony, B. Cooper, D. Ring, B. Moloney, Brendan Ring, J. O’Mahony.
N. Roche for O’Mahony (33); C. O’Sullivan for Joyce (51); D. O’Connell for Moloney (57).
B. Rochford, A. Keniry, C. Fogarty, P. O’Brien, K. Lane, B. Barry, B. Collins, A. Walsh, P. O’Neill, S. Smiddy, J. Budds, S. Long, J. Deane.
E. Keniry for O’Neill (35).
J. Larkin (Douglas).
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