Charleville 2-20 Erin's Own 1-23
HONOURS even in this pulsating PSHC game at Ballyclough, with Erin’s Own and Charleville sharing the points on Sunday afternoon.
The north Cork side might have snatched victory with a late Darragh Fitzgibbon free from long range, but it drifted wide, a rare blot on a superb display from the Cork star.
The draw sees Erin’s Own through to the quarter-finals of the county championship, where they will play Midleton, which pleased team manager Martin Bowen, understandably.
“They dug in today again, in fairness, but we were under huge pressure all day. Fair play to Charleville, if you don’t play well you must give credit to the opposition and they were very good.
“They were fighting for their lives and they got a point they fully deserved.”
In the Charleville corner manager Mark Foley acknowledged the quality of the fare even if the draw left him slightly disappointed.
“It was a great game, very entertaining, not much in it for the whole match, it was probably very entertaining for the neutral — but we’re just disappointed we didn’t see it out.”
Neither side took the initiative early on but Erin’s Own jumped out to an early 0-4 to 0-2 lead thanks to the frees of Eoghan Murphy.
However, Cork star Darragh Fitzgibbon then powered into the game for Charleville.
In an eight-minute spell, he hit four of his side’s seven points as they pushed clear, with Murphy frees keeping Erin’s Own in touch. At the water break, Charleville led 0-7 to 0-5 and had the upper hand.
James O’Brien blazed over the bar for Charleville when a goal was on and a Fitzgibbon brace made it 0-11 to 0-8 late in the half.
Murphy had yet another free but Jack Doyle had the last word for Charleville, 0-12 to 0-9 at half-time.
The second half saw momentum swing this way and that: Erin’s Own levelled the game within minutes of the resumption but Andrew Cagney’s goal made it 1-12 to 1-12 for Charleville. Fitzgibbon helped them maintain that advantage until the second water break approached when Erin’s Own took over.
Sub Cian O’Callaghan scrambled a goal, Maurice O’Carroll began to dominate midfield, and a Murphy free put Erin’s Own 1-18 to 1-6 up on 48 minutes.
Cue Charleville taking over in turn, hitting 1-3 without reply, the goal coming from a long-range Fitzgibbon free that ran all the way to the net: they led 2-19 to 1-18 with six minutes left.
Credit Erin’s Own, they never panicked, chipping away with points until James O’Carroll equalised on 59 minutes.
There was time for another Fitzgibbon free (his score) before Eoghan Murphy, fittingly, scooped over the leveller.
“The heart and fight in this group is incredible,” said Martin Bowen.
“They were four points down with a few minutes to go, the majority of teams would be dead and buried but they never gave in.
“We didn’t need to tell them what to do, the likes of Eoghan (Murphy) knew with his frees late on there’d be time enough to pull them back, and he was right.
“The history of this team from their days at underage is they’ll go to the well every time, they’ll get just enough done to win every time.
"You’d want to have a strong heart to be dealing with them!”
In the red and white corner Mark Foley was left to rue what might have been for Charleville, though Darragh Fitzgibbon’s display was an inarguable highlight.
“He gave an exhibition today and hit some great scores, from a Cork point of view it’s great to see him get back to himself.
“The year isn’t finished for us, we’re in a relegation final now so our thoughts will turn to that straight away. It’s disappointing because we had the chances to win today, and the chances the last day to beat Blackrock and we didn’t take those.
“We didn’t show up the first day against St Finbarr’s but I think we deserved a bit more than what’s suggested by our points. We just have to get on with it now, though.”