Mark McCarthy’s late point was the winner as Imokilly edged past UCC in Tuesday night’s Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC (Divisions/Colleges) clash at Páirc Uí Rinn.
The East Cork divisional side, champions of 2017, 2018 and 2019, will face Seandún on Sunday evening for a place in the quarter-finals of the championship proper after a frantic finish.
While UCC led by 1-19 to 1-17 after Conor Bowe’s seventh point in the 53rd minute, Imokilly didn’t wilt and were level thanks to Séamus Harnedy and Barry Lawton before Ciarán Joyce put them ahead with a booming effort. Though Shane Conway got his seventh to level, Imokilly found a winner just as one minute of injury time was being announced, with McCarthy getting his third of the evening.
The game took a while to get going, both sides running up their wides tallies quicker than their scoring columns in the first quarter, though Imokilly’s Shane O’Regan did go close to an early goal after forcing a turnover, with Dylan Heffernan forced into a good save from him.
A nice point from McCarthy left it 0-4 each at the first-half water break, with Colm Barry strong in defence for Imokilly, and they carried that momentum with them after the resumption. O’Regan fired over with another goal opportunity while Liam O’Shea converted a free after good work from Joe Stack and, though, Shane Conway replied for UCC, the lead was extended to four points in the 21st minute.
Séamus Harnedy was the provider for Anthony Spillane and showed a quick burst to create an opening for himself, firing across Heffernan and into the net.
That sparked the game into life, with Conway, Mark Kehoe and Eoin Carey landing impressive UCC points as they came back into the game and it was 1-10 to 0-11 at half-time.
After UCC’s Eoghan Power and O’Shea exchanged points, Power struck for a goal to put UCC back in the lead. The chance was created by neat interplay from Conway and the excellent Bowe and, as the ball came his way, the midfielder doubled it beyond Jack Barry.
O’Regan levelled immediately, but UCC had found a groove and they were two in front, 1-16 to 1-14, by the water break, Bowe adding two more fine points to his tally.
The ever-dangerous O’Regan levelled before McCarthy’s second, but UCC looked to have an extra gear in the closing stages, with Bowe and Conway giving them that two-point lead. It wasn’t enough though, and Imokilly’s strong finish saw them progress.
Scorers for Imokilly: L O’Shea 0-5f, A Spillane 1-2, S O’Regan 0-4, M McCarthy 0-3, Barry Lawton (0-1f), Brian Lawton, S Harnedy 0-2 each, C Joyce 0-1.
Scorers for UCC: C Bowe, S Conway (0-3f) 0-7 each, E Power 1-1, M Kehoe 0-2, E Carey, P Cadell, N Montgomery 0-1 each.
IMOKILLY: J Barry (Castlelyons); N Motherway (Dungourney), C Barry (Castlelyons), K Histon (Cobh); C O’Brien (St Ita’s), C Joyce (Castlemartyr), J Cronin (Lisgoold); S Hegarty (Dungourney), M McCarthy (Aghada); Brian Lawton (Castlemartyr), S Harnedy (St Ita’s), L O’Shea (Lisgoold); A Spillane (Castlelyons), J Stack (Castlemartyr), S O’Regan (Watergrasshill).
Subs: Barry Lawton (Castlemartyr) for Stack (43), S Desmond (Watergrasshill) for O’Shea (46), A Fenton (Castlelyons) for O’Regan (58).
UCC (Cork clubs unless stated): D Heffernan (Blackrock, Limerick); C McGoldrick (Éire Óg), N O'Leary (Castlelyons), D Moran (Castlemartyr); E Carey (Kilworth), P Cadell (JK Brackens, Tipperary), J Keating (Kildorrery); K Walsh (Ballincollig), E Power (Ballina, Tipperary); C Bowe (Moyne-Templetuohy, Tipperary), S Conway (Lixnaw, Kerry), N Montgomery (Abbeyside, Waterford); B Kelleher (Carrigaline), M Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Tipperary), O McCarthy (Inniscarra).
Subs: J Ryan (Doon, Limerick) for Walsh, F O’Leary (Inniscarra) for Kelleher (both 37), K O’Leary (Castlelyons) for McCarthy (48), K O’Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary) for Power (56, injured).
Referee: D Kirwan (Éire Óg).