Na Piarsaigh 0-21 Carrigtwohill 0-16
A MAJOR second-half recovery from Na Piarsaigh ensured they avoided a relegation battle in the Co-Op Superstores PSHC following a hard-earned win over Carrigtwohill at Cobh.
Instead, it's Carrigtwohill versus Charleville to avoid the drop.
Na Piarsaigh were reduced to 14 men following a straight card to Christopher Joyce eight minutes from the interval but they rose their game another level before getting to grips with the early Carrigtwohill avalanche.
Carrigtwohill got off to a great start and with Sean Walsh showing sheer artistry he helped Carrigtwohill take a two-point lead with consecutive points.
In the opening exchanges Na Piarsaigh were lethargic and with Walsh posing them major problems the east Cork side surged into a four-point lead in the eighth minute.
The city side responded and should have raised s green flag in the 11th minute when Adam Dennehy caught a high ball before playing in Craig Hannifin whose shot wide of the left post with a goal at his mercy.
Up to the water break Carrigtwohill commanded a two-point lead, 0-6 to 0-4, and they extended it on their first possession following a Liam Gosnell free.
The game changed on its head in the 22nd minute when Christopher Joyce received a straight red card for alleged striking.
To be fair from the press vantage point it looked a tame flick but the umpire who witnessed it had other ideas and Joyce was duly punished.
Credit to Na Piarsaigh they showed sheer grit and resilience and three consecutive points ensured they reduced the deficit to two points at the break 0-10 to 0-8.
On the restart, Daire Connery struck over a 65 for Na Piarsaigh and although Gosnell was on target with consecutive points in the 38th minute it was the city side who took total control.
Suddenly Na Piarsaigh began winning the majority of dirty ball and with Connery leading the half-line they steamrolled Carrigtwohill in a 10-minute period.
Carrig used the extra man as a sweeper but it gave them little advantage as Na Piarsaigh forwards fought for possession as if their lives depended on it.
Full-forward Padraig Guest was magnificent and when he struck over a classy point in the 46th minute his team led for the first time but in doing so they had turned the game around with 0-9 to 0-2 tally from the closing minutes of the first half.
After the water break, the never-say-die attitude that’s been missing all season for Na Piarsaigh continued as they won possession after possession.
Connery struck over a point from 80 yards and suddenly Carrigtwohill looked deflated.
Gosnell ended a 12-minute drought with 10 minutes remaining but the biggest problem for Carrigtwohill was they lacked the necessary intensity when the game hung in the balance.
Evan Sheehan was another player who found his form at the right time for the Farranree club and his three points tally was down to sheer determination.
Sean Walsh who gave a masterclass for Carrigtwohill in the opening 25 minutes drifted out of the game and from his five points tally in the first half all he could muster up was one in the second.
In the closing minutes, Carrigtwohill got few opportunities to get back in the game as they simply couldn’t win possession.
The sound of the final whistle brought sheer relief for Na Piarsaigh but they will know they need huge improvement to get back challenging for honours at this level.