Bandon 2-15 Na Piarsaigh 0-15: Last September, Bandon’s first year back at senior level ended with a quarter-final defeat to Na Piarsaigh, with goals proving decisive for the city side.
In yesterday’s re-match at Brinny, goals again played a pivotal part in determining the outcome, but this time it was the Lilywhites who found the net, with second-half strikes from Mike Cahalane and Mark Sugrue.
Having led by four points at half-time, 0-9 to 0-5, Bandon had seen the lead reduced to two, 0-12 to 0-10, as Pádraig Guest and Evan Sheehan had Piarsaigh points coming up to the three-quarter mark, before Cahalane struck.
Carrying a hamstring injury, he had been well bottled up by county colleague Chris Joyce for much of the game, but when a good Darren Crowley delivery landed near the endline on the right, Cahalane collected possession and turned Joyce before kicking across Alan Keating and into the net.
On a day of low scoring and challenging weather conditions, a five-point lead was huge, though Dayne Lee was close with a Piarsaigh chance in the immediate aftermath and, while the city side had three points in a row, from Kelvin Forde (two) and sub Gordon Joyce, Bandon never panicked.
They were three ahead in injury time when Cahalane found Sugrue, who was able to run at the Piarsaigh defence, before firing home what proved to be the final puck. With just three league games played and football to contend with, Bandon coach Seámus Lawton admitted that the outcome was better than expected.
“I’m surprised, because our preparation was poor,” he admitted. “The football championship was put off for a week and that caught us, we only had two weeks to prepare. Then, with the weather, I know it cost everyone but we couldn’t get matches played.
“We would have been worried coming into it, but they’ve done it in the last few years. They won a great a county two years ago, they’ve won football counties. They’re a good bunch of lads and that was some test. I couldn’t give them enough praise.”
Bandon never trailed and were 0-4 to 0-1 in front inside 10 minutes, despite early wides. Eoghan O’Donovan and Joe Harrington got on top at midfield, with Donough Lucey impressing in the half-back line and, while Daire Connery was effective as a spare man for Piarsaigh, Philip Crowley was soon detailed to follow him.
Ronan Crowley’s second point had Bandon 0-6 to 0-2 in front after 20 minutes, but Na Piarsaigh got a foothold with two Pádraig Guest frees and might have forced a goal chance, but Keith Buckley couldn’t get Shane Forde’s pass under control.
Having been let off, Bandon set about pushing on again, with Pa Barry on target following a nice turn, while Ronan Crowley converted a free he had won himself after it was brought forward for dissent.
Another from Guest was answered by a super Darren Crowley score in injury time and they were five in front when Sugrue got his second within five seconds of the second half starting.
When Shane Forde replied for Piarsaigh, Eoghan O’Donovan might have goaled for Bandon after his tenacity forced a chance, but he opted to take his point.
Connery’s third had brought Na Piarsaigh back to four, 0-11 to 0-7, when both sides were reduced to 14 men, Lucey and Paul Cunningham being dismissed following a melee after a challenge on Ronan Crowley, which Bandon felt had warranted a free.
After order was enforced, Na Piarsaigh had three of the next four — with Sheehan wide with a half-chance of a goal — to cut the gap to two, but Cahalane’s goal for Bandon was a momentum-killer.
Piarsaigh released Chris Joyce to the half-back line and then to the half-forwards, but two points was the closest they came and Sugrue’s goal secured it for Bandon.
They march on to round three, while Na Piarsaigh face Bride Rovers in round two.
Scorers for Bandon:
M Sugrue 1-3, R Crowley 0-4 (three frees), D Crowley (one free) 0-3 each, M Cahalane 1-0, E O’Donovan 0-2, P Barry, A Murphy, J Hickey 0-1 each.
Scorers for Na Piarsaigh:
P Guest 0-5 (frees), D Connery 0-4 (one free), E Sheehan (one free), K Forde 0-2, S Forde, G Joyce 0-1 each.
P Prendergast; P Murphy, J Walsh, J O’Donovan, D Lucey, J Hickey, P Crowley; E O’Donovan, J Harrington; D Crowley, P Barry, R Crowley; M Sugrue, M Cahalane, A Murphy.
C O’Mahony for A Murphy (54).
A Keating; E Gunning, C Joyce, A Dennehy; E Moynihan, P Cunningham, P O’Rourke; J Morrissey, K Forde; D Lee, S Forde, K Buckley; E Sheehan, P Guest, D Connery.
G Joyce for Buckley (41), P Gould for Lee (55).
C McAllister (Aghada).
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