Éire Óg 1-20 Sarsfields 1-20 (aet, Éire Óg won 2-0 on penalties)
ÉIRE Óg created history as they advanced past Sarsfields at Blarney after a penalty shootout to reach the Co-op SuperStores Cork IAHC final.
With 80 minutes of hurling unable to separate the teams, strikes from Lar Considine and Joe Cooper gave the Ovens side victory, with goalkeeper Dylan Desmond saving two of the Sars penalties, the Glanmire side unable to net any of their efforts.
In both normal time and extra time, Éire Óg needed three consecutive points to level, with Kevin Hallissey, Brian Corcoran and Joe Cooper all scoring to necessitate the shootout.
Normal time was a tense affair, with neither side able to find too much fluency as each enjoyed mini-periods of dominance without escaping the other’s clutches.
While Éire Óg recovered from a slow start to lead by 0-3 to 0-2, Sars pushed 0-6 to 0-4 ahead as the water-break water break approached, when Éire Óg struck for the first goal. Colm O’Callaghan was the architect as he won a loose ball despite being outnumbered, and though his run ended with a shot that was saved by Colin Looney, Daniel Goulding was on hand to flick the loose ball to the net.
After the restart, Cormac Duggan put Sars back in front again with another pair of frees and at the other end, Éire Óg’s shooting was letting them down but just before the break, they had the best point of the game up to then as Lar Considine scored after linking brilliantly with O’Callaghan.
Hallissey levelled on the resumption and, though the impressive Conor Inglis and Duggan replied for Sars, four on the trot from Éire Óg looked to be a key spell. Hallissey had two of those as well as setting up one for Considine with a lovely disguised pass while centre-back John Cooper landed another.
In keeping with the flow of the game though, Sars came back, with Inglis pointing before Duggan sent over another free, play called back after goalkeeper Dylan Desmond had saved to deny Eoin O’Sullivan a goal.
Sars went close again as Patrick O’Driscoll’s shot was kept out by Diarmuid O’Herlihy’s goal-line clearance but they didn’t have long to wait for a green flag, though. After Colm O’Callaghan made it 1-11 to 1-13 for Éire Óg, Patrick O’Driscoll levelled and then Duggan found the net, having been found by Killian Murphy’s pass down the left flank before working his way in.
Three minutes of normal time remained but Éire Óg didn’t panic. After goalkeeper Desmond landed a big free, they worked a fine score, finished by Hallissey, and then in the 65th minute Desmond levelled with a replica of his first effort.
However, Sars looked to have done enough as they established a lead again in extra time, with Duggan’s tenth point of the day putting them 1-20 to 1-17 ahead in the 74th minute. Éire Óg saved themselves though and won it on penalties.
Scorers for Éire Óg: K Hallissey 0-10 (0-6 f), D Goulding 1-0, Joe Cooper, L Considine, D Desmond (f) 0-2 each, B Corcoran, John Cooper, E O’Shea (f), C O’Callaghan 0-1 each.
Sarsfields: C Duggan 1-10 (0-10 f), C Inglis, P O’Driscoll 0-3 each, E O’Sullivan 0-2, A Hackett, C McCarthy 0-1 each.
ÉIRE ÓG: D Desmond; J Mullins, D O’Herlihy, C McGoldrick; D Dineen, John Cooper, B Corcoran; E O’Shea, R O’Toole; Joe Cooper, K Hallissey, C O’Callaghan; B Hurley, D Goulding, L Considine.
Subs: D McCarthy for B Hurley (43), J Kelleher for Joe Cooper (59), M Brady for Dineen (63, injured), Joe Cooper for McCarthy (75), F O’Rourke for O’Shea (78).
SARSFIELDS: C Looney; N Fitzpatrick, E Gaffey, K Walsh; K Crowley, G Grey, D Barry; D Kenneally, T Murphy; C McCarthy, K Murphy, S O’Driscoll; E O’Sullivan, C Duggan, P O’Driscoll.
Sub: A Hackett for S O’Driscoll (49).
Referee: I McCarthy (Bandon).