Lough Rovers 1-14
(Lough Rovers win 3-2 on penalties)
A touch of the Euros descended on a glorious Glantane with a penalty shoot-out required to separate Lough Rovers from Lismire in a thrilling Cork County Junior C Football Championship semi final.
An enthralling contest saw the sides failed to be separated at the end of a marathon 80 minutes.
Adding to the intrigue, Lough Rovers lost regular ‘keeper Dean Ring to injury and in stepped midfielder Jordan O’Connor to produce three super saves with Dane Holland, Gavin Coughlan and Alan Greaney bagging crunch scores from the spot kicks.
The City side dominated much of the opening half, driven on by Cillian Aherne, Jordan O’Connor and Paul Cumming with a Shane Long goal boosting their cause to lead 1-5 to 0-3 at the break.
Indeed, Rovers might well had added a further goal only for Dane Holland to be denied by the crossbar.
However, their hopes received a jolt on a red card picked up by attacker Nathan Holland as Lismire improved through the efforts of Michael McSweeney, Eamon Hayes and Darren O’Sullivan.
A series of raids yielded points from O’Sullivan and Damien Finn to leave three between the sides entering injury time. And in a last throw of the dice, Lismire yielded a goal from Hayes for parity at 1-7 apiece.
Not too much separated the sides in extra time, O’Sullivan, Darragh Kearney and Daniel Richard Guiney posting Lismire points.
However Lough Rovers hung in and a Coughlan pointed free squared up the game with each side settling for a 1-14 tally.
With a winner required, the tension reached a new level in the penalty shoot out with great strikes and terrific saves particularly by stand in Rovers custodian O’Connor.
Victory sets up the Lough on a return to a county final and a meeting against Freemount.
If the drama surrounding this tussle is an indicator of what’s expected over the coming months, it promises to be a summer to remember on the Cork green swards.
Scorers for Lough Rovers: S Long 1-3 (0-1f), D Kiely 0-4 (0-3f), G Coughlan 0-2, J O’Connor, P Cumming, D Holland, D Cullinane, B Lynch 0-1 each.
Lismire: D O’Sullivan 0-7 (0-5f), Damien Finn 0-3f, E Hayes 1-0, Denis Finn, M McSweeney, D Kearney, D R Guiney 0-1 each.
LOUGH ROVERS: D Ring; K O’Connell, C O’Brien, J Kelly; D O’Keeffe, K Aherne, N O’Sullivan; J O’Connor, B Lynch; A Greaney, D Holland, S Long; P Cumming, D Kiely, N Holland.
Subs. S Murphy for J Kelly; D Cullinane for B Lynch, G Coughlan for P Cumming, D Cummins for A Greaney.
LISMIRE: C Field; T Stritch, J Moynihan, T Sheehan; P Buckley, S McSweeney, M Field; E Hayes, M McSweeney; S Jones, D R Guiney, Damien Finn; D Kearney, D O’Sullivan, Denis Finn.
Referee: M Sheehan (Liscarroll).