Kanturk 1-8 Aghada 1-7
KANTURK recorded the most unlikely of victories in Mourneabbey on Saturday afternoon with a last gasp victory of Aghada securing their place in the PIFC final.
The Duhallow men looked for all the world a beaten docket before bagging a brace of points in injury time to see off Aghada by the minimum after a fantastic 60 + minutes of championship football.
After 12 of the same players secured the club a spot in the SAHC final a week previous fatigue was always likely to be a factor for a club batting at the business end of both codes but winners win and on this day Kanturk’s battle-hardened stars yet again defied the odds to win.
Lorcán McLoughlin at wing-back, Aidan Walsh at midfield and Ian Walsh up front may well have been the standout names on the team sheet and while on the day all delivered, the standout player for Kanturk had to be Lorcan O’Neill who gave everything for the cause from his berth on the opposite side to McLoughlin in the half-back line.
Others to make their mark on the day were reserve keeper/forward Kyrle Holland and Cian Clernon, who both came on to change this game in the closing stages.
For the opposition, Kyle O’Shea was magnificent with Aaron Berry another that would have a big say on the day.
Former Cork great Pearse O’Neill was also influential until going off injured with Cian Fleming and Diarmuid Phelan also doing well – Phelan’s battle with Aidan Walsh was terrific to watch.
From the first whistle, Aghada looked up for this one as they pushed on at every opportunity, holding the majority of the ball in the opening exchanges.
O’Shea rampaged forward at every available opportunity from his post as corner-back causing plenty of problems for what was initially a tired-looking Kanturk defensive collective.
Aghada were first to trouble the scoreboard with a pointed free from Creedon on five minutes – a score that seemed to kick Kanturk into life.
Quick retorts from the men in green had Kanturk in front on seven minutes after some fine scores from O’Neill and Ian Walsh but that would be the only time Kanturk would lead in normal time as Aghada moved their dominance on the field over to the scoreboard.
Kanturk looked to be in real trouble losing Ryan Walsh to a second yellow on 28 minutes and trailing by 0-7 to 0-3 heading to the dressing room.
Kanturk fought back to parity soon after the resumption with a goal from Clernon and a point from Man of the Match O’Neill but credit to Aghada they responded immediately with a brilliant individual goal from Aaron Berry.
This game was really firing now as both sides continued to forage forward in a real end-to-end tussle.
Black cards for O’Neill and Paul Walsh looked like sinking the Kanturk challenge late on but Berry also fell afoul of the ref, as he too was sin-binned.
Kanturk again made some inroads into the gap but looked to be running out of time as the clock ticked into the red but the drama was far from over as first Holland hit his second point after coming on after 55 minutes to level things up before Clernon palmed over on 63 minutes to send this one the way of the North Cork men.
Huge result for a club that continue to impress in both codes – harsh on Aghada after giving it their all for the duration.