Bride Rovers 1-9 Ballymartle 0-11
A GAME that took two and a quarter hours to complete finished with Bride Rovers squeezing past Ballymartle to register their second win in the Co-Op Superstores Senior A Hurling Championship at Riverstown on Saturday.
There was a 45-minute delay following an injury to Bride Rovers full-back Jason Pratt five minutes into the second-half after a goal-mouth scramble.
Rovers should have dealt with Sean O'Mahony's right-wing free but couldn't control the sliotar resulting in a frantic tussle for possession which ended with Pratt's unfortunate injury.
He was attended to by personnel from both clubs while waiting on an ambulance and to compound matters the rains arrived, requiring the use of Rovers' gazebo to provide shelter.
Such was the gloom that enveloped the ground that the floodlights were switched on.
It looked at one stage that the game would be abandoned, but a call to a board official led to its resumption with Ballymartle, who were playing with 14 men, leading by 0-8 to 0-7 following a fine Brian Corry point a couple of minutes before the interruption.
A fiercely contested championship encounter duly took off once more and while there were only six more scores, shared equally, in demanding conditions, one of those was the only goal.
It arrived in the 48th minute as wasteful Rovers, who registered 15 wides, finally got through via Brian Roche soloing in from the right.
A penalty looked likely, but referee Mark Maher played an advantage and the influential full-forward duly found the net for a 1-8 to 0-10 lead.
It lasted seconds, though, because Darren McCarthy grabbed his sixth point from a free to restore parity for the fifth time only for Roche to give his side a slender lead at the second water-break.
Amazingly, neither team could find another score in the remaining 12 minutes with Ballymartle handed a long-range free in the closing act to snatch a draw.
McCarthy's effort, however, dropped short and keeper Cian Hogan handled confidently to bring a compelling game to a close.
A low-scoring first-half had the sides level at 0-7 apiece at half-time though Ballymartle were reduced to 14 players in added on time, when defender Colm Coleman was sent for a second yellow card offence for a heavy challenge on Cian O'Connor.
Conor Barry converted the subsequent free to tie matters for the fourth time after his side had opened up a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the eighth minute.
McCarthy levelled quickly enough to trigger Ballymartle's most productive spell, when they outscored their opponents by 0-5 to 0-1 in a 15-minute burst.
Midfielder Simon Dorney edged them in front 0-5 to 0-4 at the first water break after Shane O'Connor nailed a beauty from distance to nudge Bride ahead again only for a McCarthy free to equalise before Dorney struck.
In general, defences were on top with O'Flynn, Eoin Roche, Tadhg O'Sullivan and substitute Shane Walsh impressing for the winners though the experienced Corry and McCarthy always looked dangerous.
Some of Ballymartle's defending, particularly in the first half, bordered on the heroic with full-back Eoin Healy leading the charge in a rousing joust with Roche.
Their ploy of withdrawing McCarthy from the corner to the middle third worked well but as the weather deteriorated and Ballymartle laboured under their numerical disadvantage, Ryan Prendergast, Cian O'Connor and Daniel Dooley helped Bride over the line.