Ilen hold out against Fermoy to secure their place in football's top flight

Ilen hold out against Fermoy to secure their place in football's top flight
Kevin O'Sullivan, Ilen Rovers, gets away from a tackle by Brian O'Sullivan, Fermoy. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Ilen Rovers 1-10 Fermoy 1-9

WHILE they conceded the final four points of the game, Ilen Rovers held on to defeat Fermoy in Saturday’s SFC third-round tie in Brinny.

Victory assures the Baltimore/Church Cross side a place in the quarter-finals as well as one of the 12 premier senior berths in 2020. Having fallen behind to Ronan O’Callaghan’s early goal for Fermoy, Ilen didn’t panic and, having gone in level at half-time, moved ahead before Seán O’Donovan’s goal put them in a strong position, 1-10 to 1-5 ahead with seven minutes of normal time left.

However, Fermoy refused to wilt and two quick points from Pádraig de Róiste had them within a score again as they dominated from each subsequent Ilen kick-out. Brian O’Sullivan reduced the gap to two points in the final minute of normal and then, after Ilen sub Kevin O’Sullivan was just unable to reach a Stephen Leonard pass for a clinching goal, Fermoy’s Dale Dawson scored his second point after a driving run.

While they again won the restart after that, the scoring attempt that followed was off-target and ultimately the 2018 PIFC champions will reflect on poor shooting – in the second half they had six wides and four attempts which fell short.

Having fallen behind to Dan Mac Eoin’s opening point for Ilen, Fermoy responded brilliantly as Peter Murphy and de Róiste combined to help O’Callaghan to find the net. While O’Donovan opened his account – he would finish with 1-6 – de Róiste replied with two quick points, as he would also do later.

Tim O'Regan. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Tim O'Regan. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Using short kick-outs more often than not, Fermoy were able to work their way up the field but couldn’t take full advantage in front of the posts while Paddy Minihane was putting in a fine shift in the Ilen full-back line.

Frees from O’Donovan and Mac Eoin kept Ilen in touch and when O’Sullivan marked his arrival with a 27th-minute point, the West Cork side were level.

Fermoy could have had a goal immediately after that as O’Callaghan and Brian O’Sullivan set up de Róiste but Damien O’Sullivan did well to save with his legs, while in injury time Shane Aherne flashed an effort across goal.

It was 1-4 to 0-7 at the break and while Ilen fashioned an early goal chance in the second half but pressure from Seán Shanahan stopped Mac Eoin getting enough on an O’Sullivan pass. Then, Stephen Leonard, just on as a sub, nearly got on the end of an O’Donovan delivery but was penalised for a push on the back.

Even so, Ilen managed to get on top with points from O’Donovan (two) and Mac Eoin, with Fermoy’s case weakened by black cards for Tomás Clancy and Jeffrey Daly. While O’Callaghan ended 20 scoreless minutes for them, Ilen’s goal – scored by O’Donovan from Leonard’s pass – looked to have settled things.

In the end, it was enough for them to progress, but not without a nervy finish.

Scorers for Ilen Rovers: S O’Donovan 1-6 (0-4 f), D Mac Eoin 0-3 (0-2 f, 0-1 45), K O’Sullivan 0-1.

Fermoy: P de Róiste 0-4, R O’Callaghan 1-1 (0-1 f), D Dawson 0-2, T Clancy, B O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

ILEN ROVERS: D O’Sullivan; P Minihane, S Minihane, J Collins; B Leonard, D O’Donovan, T Bushe; C O’Driscoll, Peadar O’Driscoll; D Hegarty, T O’Regan, Peter O’Driscoll; D Mac Eoin, A O’Sullivan, S O’Donovan.

Subs: K O’Sullivan for A O’Sullivan (24, injured), S Leonard for Bushe (37), J Hickey for Hegarty (54), C Harrington for Mac Eoin, D O’Driscoll for B Leonard (60).

FERMOY: L Coleman; P Clancy, J Daly, S Shanahan; A Baragry, D O’Carroll, P Murphy; T Clancy, S Aherne; D O’Flynn, P de Róiste, B O’Sullivan; K Morrison, R O’Callaghan, M Brennan.

Subs: D Dawson for O’Flynn (20, injured), R O’Hagan for Brennan (43), R Morrison for Daly (43, black card), J Hutchings for T Clancy (46, black card), D Lardner for Morrison (54).

Referee: C Dineen (Douglas).

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