Fermoy 0-11 Bantry Blues 0-7
FERMOY finished strongly to kick-start their Bon Secours Senior A Football Championship bid in atrocious conditions in Ovens on Sunday.
The sides were tied at 0-7 apiece after 51 minutes following another fine point from Bantry’s most productive forward, Arthur Coakley.
But that was the west Cork club’s last score as Fermoy pulled away by claiming the next four points to register their first win in the group.
How appropriate then that Ruairí O’Hagan should be the player to begin the decisive scoring sequence because he was Fermoy’s main go-to-player up front.
His 54th minute effort was quickly followed by Ben Twomey’s third of the game for a 0-9 to 0-7 advantage, the first time Fermoy held a two-point lead all through.
They should have settled the outcome, three minutes from the end of regulation time, when full-back Adam Creed burst up field with a tremendous run before setting up Kieran Morrison, who had only keeper Michael Casey to beat.
But, as he had all afternoon, the Bantry custodian refused to be beaten and managed to get his finger tips to turn the ball around the post for a ’45.
Fortunately for Fermoy, their own keeper Liam Coleman trudged up from his own goalmouth to convert the resulting kick to leave Bantry requiring a goal to salvage something from the tie.
Fermoy, though, claimed the next score, too, their fourth on the bounce, courtesy of Brian O’Sullivan, which was their ninth of the half.
Bantry settled quicker and led by 0-3 to 0-1 after seven minutes with Coakley landing the first and third scores as Stephen Coughlan converted a ’45 in between, moments after Twomey opened Fermoy’s account.
The north Cork side were clearly struggling with their finishing in that opening spell, missing from play and frees as their wide county stretched to six by the interval.
Coakley showed how in the 22nd minute to extend Bantry’s lead to 0-4 to 0-1 seconds after they somehow failed to make the most of a clear-cut goal-scoring opportunity.
First, Seanie O’Leary’s effort was stopped well by keeper Coleman though the rebound fell to Daniel Murray, who thundered a fierce drive off the underside of the crossbar and Fermoy smuggled the ball clear, to their obvious relief.
Casey was called upon for another finger-tip save to deny Padraig de Roiste before Twomey kicked his second point from a free, leaving Bantry 0-4 to 0-2 ahead at the break.
Fermoy’s improvement was evident from early on the resumption as an O’Hagan free and Alan O’Connor from play restored parity at 0-4 apiece by the 35th minute.
O’Connor, though, should have shown greater composure because he had a great chance of netting only to opt for power instead of placement and Bantry breathed a huge sigh of relief.
It took them just another three minutes to reclaim the lead when Murray pointed, but Fermoy carved out another goal chance only for O’Connor to hurry his shot and blast wildly wide.
O’Hagan nailed a difficult free from the left to tie matters up again at 0-5 apiece after 43 minutes before centre-back Greg Lardner showed the forwards the way with the lead score at the water-break, 0-6 to 0-5 to Fermoy.
At this stage, Bantry had Coughlan in the sin-bin, but on his return, the sides were level yet again with Coakley converting a free for 0-6 each after 46 minutes.
It was nip and tuck on the resumption as well with a superb O’Hagan score nudging Fermoy ahead only for Coakley to level at 0-7 apiece before Fermoy finished strongly.