Russell Rovers 1-18 Carrigtwohill 3-16
A dramatic last gasp score for Carrigtwohill, deep into injury time, forced this East Cork Oil Junior A Hurling Championship second round tie into extra time, much to the frustration of Rovers players and supporters. While the first period of extra time was a dour tense affair with only a point each scored, a goal from Kieran Walsh a minute into the second period put Rovers briefly back in the driving seat. However, Carrig weren’t long responding and a goal from a long range free somehow managed to go all the way to the net as the Rovers defence were caught out by the blinding sun. Four points, two from play, sealed the victory for them in a disappointing result for Rovers.
It could have been so different! Rovers opened with a determination and flair that saw them go into a five point lead, with scores from Kevin O’Brien, Kevin Tattan ( 2), Brian Whelehan and an Ian Smiddy free, before Carrig got out of the starting blocks with a free in the 7th minute. Jack McGrath sent over a lovely point from 50 metres out on the left wing when he was fed a good pass by O’Brien who had been caught in possession in the corner. The leadership of Derek Crowley at centre-forward, the sharpness of the forwards generally and their ability to find one another gave great hope. Our midfield were well on top, with John Paul Ivers a master in the air and being well supported by Kieran Walsh while the half-back line of John Ahern, Paul Lane and Matt Fitzgerald were also in control. Inside, full-back Kevin Ivers was managing well and with good support from Anthony Archer and Barry Fitzgerald providing the necessary cover for the keeper. Carrig did come into the game shortly afterwards and Rovers got a let off when an attempt at goal rolled just wide as keeper Joseph Walsh had come off his line. They did follow with three points without reply before Ian Smiddy pointed from a free on the quarter hour. Carrig were dangerous in attack and replied with a point almost immediately while it took all of keeper Joseph Walsh’s abilities to prevent a goal a minute later. A Rovers free struck the post and went wide in the 18th minute but a sweet score was to follow in the 20th when Walsh sent a short puck-out to Matt Fitzgerald who fired it up field to find Kevin Tattan who made no mistake from the right wing. Further points from the two Kevins (O’Brien and Tattan) as well as a Smiddy free on the stroke of half time put us a deserved six points ahead, 0-11 to 0-5.
As the defences tightened up, scores were harder to come by in the second half. Carrig got two pointed frees in a row. Indeed, the game had reached the three-quarter stage before Kieran Walsh struck over our first free of the half which was cancelled out a minute later. Smiddy had one from play in the 19th and then with 10 minutes to go Carrig were thrown a lifeline of a goal. Rovers introduced some fresh legs into both defence and attack with Eoin McGrath, Daniel Moynihan and Daniel O’Brien coming on. A Carrig free in the 22nd minute saw just two points between the sides before Jack McGrath restored our 3 point advantage. By the 27th minute this had been pared back to the bare minimum but when Kieran Walsh landed over frees in the 28th and 29th minutes it looked as if victory was in sight. Carrig had other ideas however, and as the game edged into the 4th minute of stoppage time they made a final burst up-field to get the goal that brought the match into extra time and heartbreak for Rovers.
So once more we exit the championship at the initial stages but we do so with our heads held high. This team’s season is by no means over and while it will be difficult to raise the spirits after such a cruel defeat there’s no doubt that this squad and management team can and will do so.
The game was well handled by referee Aidan Barry, Sarsfields and his officials assisted by linesmen James Hennessy and Pa Beausang. Our thanks to Aghada GAA club for the fine condition of the pitch and match arrangements on the night.
Team: Joseph Walsh; Anthony Archer, Kevin Ivers, Barry Fitzgerald; John Ahern, Matthew Fitzgerald, Paul Lane; John Paul Ivers (Captain), Kieran Walsh; Ian Smiddy, Derek Crowley, Jack McGrath; Brian Whelehan, Kevin Tattan, Kevin O’Brien. Substitutes used: Eoin McGrath, Daniel Moynihan, Daniel O’Brien, James Kennefick. Other Subs: Christopher Scanlon, James Ahern, Aidan Beausang, Shane Casey, Seamus Kearney, Brian Crowley, Daire Healy, Kevin Moynihan, James Moynihan, Ricky Walsh, David Whelehan.