Fermoy 1-23 Courcey Rovers 1-22
(after extra time)
IT took 80 minutes of top-class hurling before a resolution could be found to this opening round tie in the Cork County Premier intermediate championship at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
In the end, it was Fermoy who got the verdict by the narrowest of margins over the beaten team in last season’s county final.
And the North Cork club just about deserved it because they shaded the exchanges for longer periods.
However, Courcey Rovers exhibited their abundant character as well and whilst they may have come off second best here, the expectation is that they will be a team to reckon with when the business end of the campaign is arrived at.
One of the main contributory factors in Fermoy’s victory was the display of Liam Coleman whose haul of 14 points over the 80 minutes told its own story. From the placed ball and from open play he dissected the sticks with some sublime scores.
Martin Brennan and Shane Aherne nabbed some fine points too with Tomás Clancy supplying his team’s all-important goal.
Brian O’Sullivan was always assertive in defence for the North Cork side who have now recorded two significant opening round victories in both codes.
Tadgh O’Sullivan was the leading scorer for Courcey Rovers with Sean Twomey and Olan Crowley contributing handsomely as well.
Fermoy were the dominant side in the opening half and led by four points at the interval, 0-11 to 0-7.
That lead was constructed as a result of five unanswered points in the final eight minutes of the half. In that period, Coleman had eight points attached to his name with Killian Moloney and Jerry O’Neill among the Courcey Rovers scorers.
The Ballinspittle unit converted a brace of points when the teams resumed and they were right back in the chase in the 42nd minute when Sean Twomey got through for a goal after being set up by O’Neill.
The sides were deadlocked now and it was all hands to the pump from that moment onwards until the end of regulation time.
Fermoy’s response to that goal was to fire over the next four points from David Lardiner, John Ring and another brace from that man Coleman.
But Courcey Rovers responded positively again with O’Sullivan and John McCarthy narrowing the gap to just a point again.
The sides were level again on the 60-minute mark after John McCarthy had nailed another point for the Rovers.
Then O’Sullivan put Courcey Rovers into the lead with a point only for Coleman to cancel that out at the other end. The Ballinspittle team had a last-gasp 65 to win it but O’Sullivan’s effort tailed off and into extra-time we went.
At the end of the first period the Rovers led by a point, 1-19 to 0-21 and it was clearly obvious this was going right to the wire.
Courcey Rovers had a two-point lead following another point from Twomey but Fermoy’s riposte was of huge significance. Tomás Clancy got in for a very good goal and his side were a point clear again.
But there was more drama to come with O’Sullivan levelling it again with another pointed free for Courcey Rovers.
It looked odds on a replay now but Fermoy had the last say with a Shane Aherne point to claim the victory after a superb ball game. Another wonderful advertisement for this grade of hurling.
Scorers for Fermoy: L Coleman (0-14, 0-10 f); M Brennan (0-3); T Clancy (1-0); S Aherne (0-2); K Morrison, J Molloy, J Ring, D Lardner (0-1 each).
Courcey Rovers: T O’Sullivan (0-9, 0-7 f, 0-1 65); S Twomey (1-2); O Crowley (0-3); S Nyhan (0-2 f), J McCarthy (0-2 each); K Moloney, R Sweetnam, J O’Neill, M O’Donovan (0-1 each).
FERMOY: C Quinn; P Clancy, R O’Callaghan, E Clancy; B O’Sullivan, D O’Carroll, A Creed; M Brennan, T Clancy; J Hutchings, L Coleman, S Aherne; K Morrisson, P De Róiste, P Shanahan.
Subs: D Lardner for Hutchings (17 mins, inj); J Ring for Shanahan (26); J Molloy for Morrison (61); K Morrison for Ring (72); J Scannell for O’Carroll (72).
COURCEY ROVERS: S Nyhan; D Collins, B Collins, K Collins; D Lordan, D Duggan, F Lordan; K Moloney, B Mulcahy; R Sweetnam, J O’Neill, M O’Donovan; S Twomey, O Crowley, T O’Sullivan.
Subs: M Collins for Mulcahy (38); J McCarthy for Sweetnam (50); A O’Donovan for O’Neill (51) Referee: M Maher (St Finbarr’s)