A HIGH-SCORING thriller, this Cork County senior hurling quarter-final replay at sun-splashed Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday, as Glen Rovers edged out a young but immensely promising Midleton side.
“It was a good game of hurling,” summarised Glen manager Ian Lynam, “Nip-and-tuck all the way through, no side ever getting a big lead at any stage – if they did it was pegged back very fast.”
Spot-on, Ian; five points was as much a margin as either team ever managed, Midleton in the 27th minute of the first half, their second goal of the half giving them a 2-4 to 0-5 lead, then the Glen reversing the process in the first minute of injury-time of the second period, substitute Conor Dorris’s goal followed immediately by a Richard Whitty point putting them 3-15 to 3-10 ahead and apparently sealing the win. But on both occasions the opposition immediately goaled.
In the first half it was wing-forward Dean Brosnan with the Glen goal, probably their most vital score of the match, coming as it did at a time when it looked like this precocious Midleton side (a dozen U21s) might be set for a famous victory; in the second, it was one of those Midleton youngsters, the giant Stephen Moore (a Cork minor this year), with a real belter of a goal, a rocket from 30 yards, setting up a nail-biting climax as the famous northside club battled to hold on to their two-point lead. They’ve been through the fires a few times this year already, however, this Glen side; a heavy loss to neighbours and fierce rivals Na Piarsaigh in the first round, a torrid extra-time win over Bride Rovers in the round two, following which both clubs were thrown out of the championship before being reinstated on appeal, then two games to get past another old rival, St. Finbarr’s. After all that, said Ian, there was never any question but that they’d have the nerve to stay the course in this one.
“They never panic. This is their sixth game in this year’s championship, they’ve been behind before, they’ve been ahead, so they don’t do panic. We’re very happy now to be in the semi-final, thrilled.”
Yes, hold on they did, and now they await the winners of this evening’s clash between CIT and Douglas.
It was a cracking match right from the throw-in. Having learned from the burning they got from Cork star Patrick Horgan in the drawn match (the full-forward scored 2-8 of the Glen’s 2-13 total, including 2-2 from play), Midleton introduced late call-up Killian Burke to act as ‘sweeper’, right in front of Horgan, and it was a tactic that soon paid dividends, the Glen forced to shift their star man away from the red-zone, out to centre-forward.
They did, and Patrick was still effective, winning frees, distributing good ball, but with the flying Midleton attack building up a fine score, it meant the scoring burden would now have to be shared across the Glen attack a lot more equitably.
In fairness to them, that attack answered the call, four of the other starting forwards scoring from play, substitute Dorris also getting in on the act, as did midfielders Denis O’Callaghan and Donal Cronin.
It was fast-starting Midleton in the lead in the 27th minute by five points, their goals having come from poor defending – a poor pass by keeper Cathal Hickey intercepted by Kieran Mulcahy, who passed to Luke O’Farrell, for the first Midleton goal, an angled 20m free by Seán Hennessey that should have been saved, for the second major. Then came Brosnan’s goal for the Glen, however, which left them only two points in arrears at the break (2-5 to 1-6).
The second half was a far more even affair, level three times, first one side on top, then the other. The Glen’s second goal came in the 37th minute, Denis O’Callaghan pouncing on the break of a huge Brian Moylan clearance (tremendous hour), and it put them 2-8 to 2-6 ahead, but that lead was short-lived, the magnificent Conor Lehane (still a minor, but what a future!) taking advantage of a Hickey error to score Midleton’s third goal.
Tit-for-tat from there to the end, but with the Glen attack all contributing, and with all those games under their belts, the city side had just that little extra in the tank.
Scorers for Glen Rovers: P Horgan 0-7 (0-6 frees, 0-1 65); D Brosnan 1-1; C Dorris 1-1; D O’Callaghan 1-0; D Goggin 0-2; R Whitty 0-2; D Cunningham, D Cronin, 0-1 each.
Scorers for Midleton: C Lehane 1-7 (0-2 frees); S Hennessey 1-2 (all frees); S Moore 1-1; L O’Farrell 1-0.
GLEN ROVERS: C Hickey; S Kennefick, S McDonald, G Moylan; B Moylan, P O’Brien, G Callanan; D O’Callaghan, D Cronin; D Goggin, D Cunningham (c), D Brosnan; P Virgo, P Horgan, R Whitty.
Subs: D Busteed for Cronin (30); C Dorris for Virgo (43).
MIDLETON: B Behan; S Murphy, D Ryan, A Kearney; J Nagle, A Ryan (c), P O’Shea; S O’Farrell, P Haughney; K Mulcahy, C Lehane, S Moore; K Burke, L O’Farrell, S Hennessey. Subs: J Keane for Hennessey (46); P O’Keeffe for O’Shea (50); T Wallis for Mulcahy (55).
Referee: J Sexton (Ballyhea).
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