Castlehaven 2-19 Éire Óg 2-16
COUNTY finalists Castlehaven are in pole position to qualify for the knockout stages of the Bon Secours Cork Premier SFC, this latest victory achieved after a tremendous battle with Éire Óg in Enniskeane.
It follows their opening Group A win over Newcestown.
Castlehaven enjoyed different stages of supremacy, but there was nothing guaranteed until the final whistle.
Huge credit to Éire Óg, who already have two points on the board following their win over Carbery Rangers, they came close and the SAFC champions will be encouraged by their display.
Conor Cahalane missed out for Castlehaven due to a straight red card received in the Newcestown game. David Whelton replaced him, starting at wing-back with Roland Whelton moving further up the field.
After a very entertaining opening half, the sides could not be separated, 2-6 to 1-9. It was very much a half of two quarters - Castlehaven on top in the first 15, Éire Óg coming into their own after the water-break.
Michael Hurley scored a point from the throw-in but there was a chance for a goal. They were two points to one up when Éire Óg wing-back Diarmuid Dineen tore down the field to fire an unstoppable shot high to the net for the mid Cork side to lead.
Brothers Michael and Brian Hurley were causing all sorts of problems and Castlehaven scored a goal of their own in the 10th minute after Michael combined with Brian. A second goal for the west Cork men arrived from Brian Hurley, this time Jack Cahalane provided the pass for them to lead 2-5 to 1-1.
Éire Óg went to the water-break five points behind, grateful to two late points from Daniel Goulding - one a 45m following a shot from Eire Óg’s Brian Hurley which was diverted out over the end line.
Scorers dried up during the second quarter, more especially for Castlehaven. In spite of losing attacker Joe Cooper to injury, Éire Óg were more productive. Jack Murphy and Colm O’Callaghan (marked by Damien Cahalane) closed the gap to three points.
Brian Hurley quickly pushed the advantage to four.
John Cooper switched from centre-back to full-back to try and limit the Hurley combination, as Éire Óg finished out the half with points on the trot from Goulding (2), Kevin Hallissey and O’Callaghan.
Castlehaven started the second-half like the first, outscoring their opponents six points to one. Over the hour, they had lots of goal chances but were content to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Sub Rian O’Flynn cut the lead to three points on the 40th minute. Castlehaven were always able to reply and at the second water-break, they were 2-15 to 1-13 to the good.
Dylan Foley’s goal then made for a dramatic finish and when O’Flynn narrowed the gap further, it was down to one entering stoppage time.
Castlehaven saw this one out, fisting over a flurry of late points to lead by five. Éire Óg never gave up and reduced the deficit to three deep in injury time.