Milford 2-14 Éire Óg 3-10
A POINT from a 30- metre free out on the touchline by Seanie O’Connell five minutes into injury time gave Milford a thrilling victory over Éire Óg in a rousing Evening Echo IHC first round replay at Ballyclough last night.
It was a victory that looked unlikely as the Blues twice found themselves seven points down, but they put in a storming finish to take the honours.
Milford had many heroes but Paddy O’Regan was head and shoulders above all. He finished the game with 1-4 — a significant contribution for a midfielder — but it was his all-round play which impressed most.
There was little to separate the two sides before Éire Óg struck for two goals in the space of three minutes.
The first came after county senior footballer Daniel Goulding won a penalty which the impressive Tim Cronin drilled to the net and the mid-Cork side were back for the second when Goulding was left alone on the edge of the square soon after.
Milford were rocked but after a sustained bout of pressure, Jim Cremin found the net to leave them just 2-6 to 1-6 behind at half time.
Éire Óg’s dominance up front earned them a third goal when Donal Keane showed marvellous vision in picking out the unmarked Tim Cronin with a cross-field pass and Cronin made no mistake from 12 metres.
Seven points in front, it was difficult to see the mid-Cork men letting it slip, but Milford had failed to read the script. With Ronan Geary now at centre-back to great effect, they battened the hatches in defence, confining Éire Óg to a solitary point for the remaining 26 minutes, while up front they pounded the Éire Óg defence in search of scores.
Paddy Regan led the charge and in those hectic minutes they eventually drew level, helped by a goal by O’Regan from a penalty, and two points from frees by Seanie O’Connell.
Extra time was looming large as the tension mounted. Substitute John Dineen looked to have won the game for Éire Óg with a point, but it was to be Milford’s night and after Henry O’Gorman levelled matters for the fifth time, Seanie O’Connell became the hero for the north Cork side when he pointed the winning score.
Scorers — Milford: P O’Regan 1-4 (1-1 free, 0-3 65s); J Cremin 1-2; S O’Connell 0-4 (frees); J O’Brien, A Watson, D O’Brien, H O’Gorman 0-1 each.
Éire Óg: T Cronin 2-6 (1-4 frees, 0-1 65);
D Goulding 1-1; T O’Leary, F Sheehan, J Dineen 0-1 each.
MILFORD: M Cremin; J O’Connor, P O’Brien, S Fitzgibbon; M O’Connell, R Villers, J O’Brien; P O’Regan, A Watson; S O’Connell, R Geary, H O’Gorman; B Sexton, D O’Brien, J Cremin.
Sub: P Kirwan for Sexton.
ÉIRE ÓG: P Ryan; A Keane, B Corkery, S McCarthy; D Corkery, T Dineen; E Murphy. D Herlihy; D Goulding, F Sheehan, T O’Leary; T Cronin, C Sheehan, D Keane.
Subs: J Dineen for F Sheehan; J Malone for Herlihy.
Referee: J Birmingham (Bride Rovers).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved