A dramatic late goal from Arlen Aherne propelled Fermoy into the final four of the Bons Secours SAFC in Glanmire on Sunday evening.
The game was deep into injury-time as a result of a leg injury to Fermoy’s Cork star, Tom Clancy, and the Avondhu side trailed by 2-11 to 1-13 when Aherne crashed the ball home after being set-up by fellow substitute, David Lardner.
Fermoy looked to be out of the championship before Aherne’s intervention, as Clyda Rovers' draw with Dohenys left them a point behind their rivals from Avondhu in Group C. Aherne’s dramatic goal changed things completely, however, and instead secured Fermoy the second seed.
The result wasn’t cataclysmic for Bandon either, as they had done enough in their previous encounters to take second spot and earn a shot of Mallow in the quarter-final.
Bandon played their best football in the first-half with full-forward Barry Collins causing endless problems for the Fermoy rear-guard. He kicked three points in the opening quarter and further points from Mark Sugrue and Mark Cahalane meant the west Cork side led by 0-5 to 0-3 as the teams broke for water, Ruairi O’Hagan and Brian O’Sullivan with the Fermoy points.
Collins cracked home two goals in the ten minutes that followed the break and also missed a penalty while another free from Sugrue meant Bandon led by 2-6 to 0-6 as the first-half edged towards its conclusion.
Fermoy then countered with a goal from a penalty from Brian O’Sullivan and a point from Pádraig de Róiste to leave just two between them at the break, 2-6 to 1-7.
They carried that momentum into the second-half as they reeled off four-in-a-row to take a two point lead, Kieran Morrison with two points, O’Hagan and de Róiste with the others.
It was then O’Sullivan’s turn to miss a penalty, and when Clancy went down, leading to an eleven minute break in play, Fermoy lost their momentum. Bandon kicked five of the next seven with Philip Crowley, Collins, Sugrue and Cahalane all splitting the posts.
De Róiste and O’Hagan were the Fermoy scorers but they trailed by two and they then lost Brian O’Sullivan to a black card to leave their season in the balance.
It was then time for the hero of the hour, Aherne, to work his magic and his goal turned agony into ecstasy. Bandon haven’t gone away, however, and should they overcome Mallow in their quarter-final, these two sides will lock horns again for a place in the final.
Scorers for Fermoy: R O’Hagan (0-6, 5 frees), B O’Sulliavn (1-1, 1-0 penalty), A Aherne (1-0), P de Róiste (0-3), K Morrison (0-2), M Brennan (0-1).
Scorers for Bandon: B Collins (2-4), M Sugrue (0-4, all frees), M Cahalane (0-2), P Crowley (0-1).
FERMOY: L Coleman; S Shanahan, A Creed, R Mossison; A Baragry, D O’Carroll, P Murphy; D Dawson, T Clancy; B O’Sullivan, P de Róiste, G Lardner; R O’Hagan, M Brennan, K Morrison. Subs: R O’Callaghan for Clancy (inj, 40 mins), E Clancy for Creed (63 min), A Aherne for G Lardner (63 mins), D Lardner for Brennan (64 mins).
BANDON: P Prendergast; J O’Mahony, J O’Donovan, B Crowley; R O’Driscoll, P Murphy, D O’Donovan; R Long, C O’Mahony; R Crowley, J Mulcahy, D Crowley; M Cahalane, B Collins, M Sugrue. Subs: J Walsh for Mulcahy (h/t), P Crowley for D O’Donovan (40 mins), D Crowley for O’Driscoll (58 mins), E Mac Suibhne for R Crowley (64 mins).
Referee: James Bermingham (Bride Rovers).