Éire Óg 0-8 Ballincollig 0-8
A BOOMING point from midfielder Darragh McCarthy deep into injury time secured a draw for Éire Óg against neighbours Ballincollig on Saturday evening.
This Cork Credit Unions Division 1A league encounter at Ovens was far from a classic but the finale was certainly memorable. Two points down in the 60th minute a Daniel Goulding free from a defensive mix-up and then McCarthy's gem in the 65th minute denied the Collig.
They were aggrieved at the additional time played by experience referee John Ryan, with Liam Jennings shown a red card at full-time and Noel Galvin a second yellow, but will know themselves they should have minded the ball better and ran down the clock.
It was the first competitive football meeting of the club's top adult teams in the modern era, Éire Óg pushing up through the ranks with confidence since their junior county of 2008.
Ballincollig were in an extremely strong position when Darren Murphy arrowed over a lovely point to push them 0-7 to 0-2 ahead in the third quarter just after Ronan O'Toole had been dismissed for a second yellow card.
Éire Óg upped their game considerably from there, boosted by the introduction of Cork U20 Hugh Murphy to the middle third, whose aggression and pace gave them a considerable lift. Jerome Kelleher, Dermot O'Herlihy and Diarmuid Dineen mopped up any loose passes across the half-back line, something Ballincollig were guilty of as they failed to make the extra man count, while Harry O'Reilly and his selectors swapped former Kerry senior Mark Griffin from defence to midfield.
The hosts landed the next four points, three Goulding frees and a majestic curler from play after a turnover.
Still, when a well-worked team move ended with Dara Dorgan nailing a quality score to make it 0-8 to 0-6 and normal time virtually up, you would have expected them to hold on for the win.
Ballincollig are still in a decent position to finish in the top two in Division 1A and make the league semi-finals, with Nemo leading the way in the other section.
Both teams were well short of key players on this occasion, such is the nature of the league. Cork panellists Cian Kiely and Luke Fahy (Ballincollig) and Dylan Foley, John Cooper and Colm O'Callaghan (Éire Óg) weren't permitted to line out. Éire Óg were also down Jack Murphy and Conor McGoldrick; Ballincollig shorn keeper Jack Gibbons, Seán Kiely and Cork U20 Liam O'Connell, among many others.
Interestingly, Chris Kelly lined out in goal for the home side. Kelly is officially the second choice keeper in the Cork squad but wasn't on the bench for the Munster semi-final due to an injury.
When Mícheál Aodh Martin was forced off before half-time against Kerry another Éire Óg club man, Dylan Foley was brought on. Foley has always been a forward with Éire Óg but impressed in goal for UCC in the Sigerson.
Kelly's kick-outs was spot on here and he'll wear the number one geansaí in the qualifiers in June if Martin doesn't recover.
The first half started brightly on Saturday evening, Cian Dorgan and Goulding exchanging frees before a neat score courtesy of Darragh O'Mahony and another Goulding placed ball.
The game then tightened up, Éire Óg wayward from play but the hard running of Dara Dorgan, Harry Aherne and Darren Murphy earned frees that Dorgan converted for a 0-5 to 0-2 advantage at the break.
Jordan O'Connor split the posts superbly on the restart for Podsie O'Mahony's side with Murphy scoring again soon after for a five-point lead, which in tandem with O'Toole's red card suggested Ballincollig were in command.
Éire Óg had other ideas and if nothing else the closing stages gave both teams plenty to ponder as we head into the last three games of the regular league programme.
D Goulding 0-7 (0-6 f), D McCarthy 0-1.
D Dorgan 0-4 (0-3 f), C Dorgan (f), D O'Mahony, J O'Connor, D Murphy 0-1 each.
C Kelly: J Mullins, M Griffin, M Corkery; J Kelleher, D O'Herlihy, D Dineen; D McCarthy, R O'Toole; J Cooper, R O'Flynn, K Hallissey; E O'Shea, D Goulding, B Hurley.
H Murphy, D Kirwan, D Murphy, D Kelly, M Brady.
C Walsh; S O'Neill, N Galvin, S Murphy; J O'Connor, L Jennings, D Ebili; P O'Neill, S Dore; D Dorgan, D Murphy, C Dorgan; H Aherne, D O'Mahony, R Ó Corrain.
P Kelly, C McKeever, P Harrington.
John Ryan (Macroom).