ST FINBARR’S and Nemo Rangers earned home Division 1 semi-finals on an exciting final weekend of games in the Cork Credit Unions Leagues. They host Cill na Martra and Eire Og respectively.
Group A provided most of the drama as the ’Barr’s held a slender one-point at the top from three clubs, Eire Og, Castlehaven and Ballincollig.
And it intensified before a ball was kicked in anger on Thursday night following Fermoy handing a walk-over to the Ovens club, who leapfrogged to the summit on 13 points, but still guaranteed nothing.
The ’Barr’s established a commanding 0-12 to 0-3 half-time lead over Gaeltacht champions Ballingeary in Togher before having to withstand a major second-half revival after their visitors landed six points on the spin by the 48th minute.
And the advantage was whittled to the minimum with just a couple of minutes of regulation time remaining before Ben O’Connor calmed nerves by fisting over the closing score in a 0-15 to 0-13 victory.
It clinched a semi-final spot as the scoring efforts of Cillian Myers-Murray, O’Connor, Ethan Twomey, Eoghan McGreevey, Bill O’Connell and Dylan Quinn got their side over the line.
And the plot thickened shortly afterwards, when the Haven joined Eire Og on 13 points following their 3-9 to 0-15 success away to Mallow.
Having been 1-9 to 0-5 in front at the break and 2-9 to 0-6 ahead within five minutes of the resumption, the west Cork came under fierce pressure thereafter.
As in Togher, Mallow went on a six-point scoring spree of their own to cut the margin to three points after 53 minutes and it was down to one in stoppage time before a third Haven goal ended Mallow’s brave resistance, 3-9 to 0-15.
Cathal Maguire, Conor Nolan and Robbie Minihane’s goals proved the difference at the end of a very competitive encounter.
Ballincollig played Kiskeam on Saturday attempting to finish level with Eire Og and the Haven, but the Duhallow club spoiled their plans by winning 0-10 to 0-8.
Eire Og’s 3-15 to 2-14 victory over the Haven at the end of April meant they edged their rivals for second place.
Nemo wrapped up a 100% record with a 3-13 to 1-5 win away to Cill na Martra, who still qualify from Group B despite finishing level with Valley Rovers as Carbery Rangers also missed out.
It was the Trabeg club’s second outing of the week following on from their 2-15 to 0-7 home success against Clyda Rovers.
Luke Connolly continued his impressive goal-scoring form with one in each as Barry O’Driscoll and Ronan Dalton also found the net on Sunday.
The Gaeltacht club and Valleys tied on 12 points, the Innishannon club slipping to a two-point defeat to Carrigdhoun neighbours, Carrigaline, but Cill na Martra’s 2-12 to 1-12 success last May gave them the edge.
Rosscarbery couldn’t capitalise, however, as they lost to west Cork rivals Clonakilty by 0-11 to 1-5.
The final round of games also decided the composition of next season’s divisions 1 and 2 based on the top five in either section making up the top tier and the others in the second division.
Division 1: Nemo Rangers (18 points), St Finbarr’s (14), Eire Og (13), Castlehaven (13), Cill na Martra (12), Valley Rovers (12), Ballincollig (11), Douglas (11), Carbery Rangers (11), Kiskeam (10).
Division 2: St Michael’s (9 pts), Ballingeary (9), Carrigaline (8), O’Donovan Rossa (6), Newcestown (6), Clyda Rovers (6), Clonakilty (4), Fermoy (3), Mallow (2), Ilen Rovers (2).
RESULTS: Cork Credit Unions League: Division 1A: St Finbarr’s 0-15 Ballingeary 0-13; Mallow 0-15 Castlehaven 3-9; Newcestown 0-10 St Michael’s 3-3; Ballincollig 0-8 Kiskeam 0-10; Eire Og walked over Fermoy.
Division 1B: Cill na Martra 1-5 Nemo Rangers 3-13; Clonakilty 0-11 Carbery Rangers 1-5; Carrigaline 0-9 Valley Rovers 0-7; Clyda Rovers 1-10 O’Donovan Rossa 2-11; Ilen Rovers 1-8 Douglas 2-11.
Division 2A: Nemo Rangers 0-8 Macroom 1-10; Ballydesmond 0-10 Bandon 1-9; Glanworth 1-5 Rockchapel 1-10; St Vincent’s 0-11 Newmarket 4-16; Dohenys 1-14 Bantry Blues 3-4.
Division 2B: Na Piarsaigh 1-11 Mitchelstown 0-13; Dromtarriffe 0-6 Bishopstown 1-12; Naomh Aban 0-11 Aghabullogue 0-8; Castletownbere walked over Kanturk; Aghada 2-16 Knocknagree 1-15.
Division 3 quarter-finals: Glanmire 2-14 Glenville 2-7; Millstreet 2-5 Kilshannig 1-8; Iveleary 4-24 Mayfield 2-6; Boherbue 3-7 Adrigole 2-4.