Duhallow 0-10 UCC 0-8
DUHALLOW maintained their record of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the county senior football championship since 2015 with a narrow win over UCC at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday night.
They suffered a blow just before the start, when former Cork star, Donncha O’Connor, who was named at right half-forward, cried off and was replaced by Newmarket’s Mikey Browne.
It still didn’t prevent them from leading by 0-3 to 0-1 at the first water-break, when both teams took a while to settle.
A Conor O’Callaghan free after 90 seconds edged the divisional side in front before Michael O’Gara levelled for the students in the fourth minute.
O’Callaghan pounced from play a couple of minutes later before scores dried for 11 minutes until the impressive Mark Ellis nailed a fine score.
Duhallow continued where they left off before the brief intermission with O’Callaghan’s second free following a foul on Ellis by Bill Curtin, who picked up a yellow card for his trouble.
And when Kevin Crowley swept up field from wing-back to plant a superb score Duhallow jumped 0-5 to 0-1 in front after 17 minutes to reflect their dominance early on.
College, though, came a stronger scoring force with back-to-back points from the Geaneys, Dylan and Conor, though keeper Gavin Creedon had to be alert to deny O’Callaghan in between.
The closing score of the half came a minute from the short whistle, when Duhallow carved out an opportunity for Seamus Hickey, who found the range to leave his side 0-6 to 0-3 ahead at the interval.
College made two changes at the break, introducing Damien Burke to defence and James McEntee to midfield, but it was their opponents who bagged the opening score of the second-half, courtesy of an O’Callaghan free, his fourth score of the night.
And the students were grateful for McEntee’s intervention moments later, when he got back in the nick of time to dispossess Danny Linehan, who was about to pull the trigger in a promising position close to goal.
Still, his midfield partner Paul Walsh increased the lead to 0-8 to 0-3 with a superb score from distance and the game looked like slipping away from College.
But, a couple of quick-fire points from Daire Clear and substitute Conor Hayes breathed new life into their challenge approaching the second water break though Duhallow still held a three-point advantage.
Crowley kicked his second point on the resumption but Hayes’s introduction had the desired impact because the Kerins O’Rahillys forward scored a couple of impressive points to narrow the gap.
And when Conor Geaney nailed a beauty in the 54th minute, College outscored their opponents 0-4 to 0-1 to make it a one-point game at 0-9 to 0-8.
Ellis’s fisted attempt was denied by the crossbar in his efforts for a point as College sensed there was something in it for them with the clock running down.
They got their chance on the hour with a 45m free from Geaney, but his kick fell short entering three minutes’ added-on time.
Duhallow’s position eased with another O’Callaghan point before College were reduced to 14 men following the red carding of O’Gara near the end.