Carrigtwohill 3-12 Castlelyons 3-9
NIALL McCARTHY has produced some sterling performances for Carrigtwohill over the years, but none more crucial than the one he gave at Ballynoe last night where his side saw off the challenge of Castlelyons in an exciting county SHC relegation final.
Heavily strapped around the shoulder following an injury sustained in the semi-final a month ago, McCarthy finished this game with two goals and four points as Carrig maintained their senior status for 2010.
While the county senior did most of the scoring, the contribution of Jason Barrett to Carrig’s victory cannot be overstated.
Barrett, who along with McCarthy, won All-Ireland minor medals with Cork in 1998, was majestic at midfield and his contribution of five points was central to his side’s victory.
This was Castlelyons third relegation final and having survived twice, their luck finally ran out, but not before they put up a tremendous battle which saw them lead with 10 minutes to go.
They now drop down to the Premier Intermediate grade for the coming season, but on the evidence of their second half display, could well bounce back up again. They had outstanding players in Kieran McGann, Barry O’Connell and Timmy McCarthy.
Both defences were on top with Kieran McGann prominent at centre back for Castlelyons and John Paul O’Riordan dominant at wing back for Carrig, scores were scarce in the opening 10 minutes at the end of which they shared four points.
Carrig enjoyed more of the play despite playing into the wind and got the tonic of a goal in the 14th minute when the busy Brian Lordan’s long delivery was broken down by Seanie O’Farrell to Tomas Hogan who made no mistake from close range.
That score settled Carrig who finally began to play and a succession of points had them 1-5 to 0-2 in front after 20 minutes. Castlelyons were in danger of being overwhelmed and they went 13 minutes without a score before Leo Sexton had a point — their first from play, in the 27th minute.
Only the excellence of Kieran McGann and Peter Murphy prevented Castlelyons from falling further behind. Up front they failed to make any impression on a teak tough but very disciplined Carrig defence and with Niall McCarthy dominant at midfield, Carrigtwohill finished the half strongly to lead 1-7 to 0-3 at the short whistle and turning to play with the rising wind.
Castlelyons brought Timmy McCarthy to midfield for the second but more importantly they introduced Darren Tobin as a sub and he made an immediate impact.
With his first touch he scored a point, before he threw the issue wide open with a goal in the 32nd minute. A shot by Sean Cotter was parried by Carrig ‘keeper Wm McCarthy and Tobin first-timed the rebound to the net.
Timmy McCarthy revelled in the open space at midfield and after he tied the game for the third time with a point, another sub, Aidan O’Sullivan, finished McCarthy’s great run to the Carrig net to give his side he lead for the first time.
However Carrig refused to be ruffled and Niall McCarthy, now at full forward in a swap with Seanie O’Farrell who also benefited from the move, found the Castlelyons net before corner back Barry O’Connell struck a glorious point from a side line ball to level the tie for the fourth time.
The majestic Jason Barrett landed two points in a row for Carrig as the tension mounted, but Timmy McCarthy drilled a 20 metre free to the Carrig net to give his side the lead again and a shock looked on the cards.
Carrig held their nerve however and with Barrett playing the proverbial blinder at midfield, they finished strongly helped by a second goal from Niall McCarthy and stayed in front to the finish,
Scorers for Carrigtwohill: N McCarthy 2-4 (0-1 free); J Barrett 0-5; S Dineen 0-3; T Hogan 1-0.
Castlelyons: T McCarthy 1-5 (1-4 frees, 0-1 65); D Tobin 1-1; A O’Sullivan 1-0; L Sexton, E Fitzgerald, B O’Connell (line ball) 0-1 each.
CARRIGTWOHILL: W McCarthy; P O’Sullivan, S Flannery, S Forbes; JP O’Riordan, N Furlong, L O’Sullivan; N McCarthy, B Lordan; S Dineen, R White, J Barrett; K McCarthy, S O’Farrell, T Hogan.
Subs: M Foley for O’Riordan (45); S Healy for K McCarthy (55).
CASTLELYONS: B Sheehan; M F Dorgan, B Fitzgerald, S Kenny; B O’Connell, C McGann, P Murphy; D Sexton, F Waters; T McCarthy, D Wallace, L Sexton; S Cotter, E Fitzgerald, M O’Leary.
Subs: D Tobin for O’Leary (half time); A O’Sullivan for Cotter (40).
Referee: C McAlister (Aghada).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved