While there were nine points between the sides at the end, Avondhu had to work hard to see off Duhallow in the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC preliminary divisional final at Glantane on Tuesday evening.
Over the course of normal time, the sides were level on 11 occasions and it wasn’t until Colin O’Brien put Avondhu 0-25 to 0-22 ahead with four minutes of extra time remaining that either side had had a lead of greater than two points. However, the North Cork division pushed on from there, with Stephen Condon finishing with six points in extra time and 14 overall while Jack Twomey’s goal ensured that there would be no way back for Duhallow.
It means that Avondhu will move forward to contest the divisions and colleges section semi-finals along with Imokilly, MTU Cork and UCC and this win, coupled with victories over Carbery and Muskerry, should stand to them.
The first half of normal time saw 16 points evenly shared, though both sides were guilty of cheap wides – Avondhu, with the wind behind them, had ten by half-time with Duhallow firing eight. The closest either team came to a goal was when Murphy set up Barry O’Connor for a Duhallow opportunity but Kieran Walsh saved well from him.
Jeremy Saich’s second point of the night gave Avondhu – missing Mark Keane but with O’Brien available again – the lead 16 seconds into the second half and they never trailed between then and the 60th minute but couldn’t pull more than two points clear – sub Chris Buckley might have had a goal soon after the restart but he was denied by a full-length Ben Newman save.
At the other end, it was Duhallow’s turn to experience the wind as a false friend, with their wides tally rising more steadily while the strong Avondhu full-back line of Eoghan Burke, Eoin McGrath and Fionn Herlihy was giving little away. Even when the defence was breached, Duhallow couldn’t get past Kieran Walsh, who made a brave save to push Barry O’Connor’s shot over on 49.
That left it 0-14 to 0-13 and Avondhu stayed in front down the stretch. Stephen Condon’s eighth, from a sideline cut by O’Brien – who made moved from centre-back to the attack in the second half – put them 0-17 to 0-15 in front, with Duhallow’s Shane Crowley replying with his fourth. While he put a long-range free wide, they had another chance as Crowley and sub Stephen O’Reilly set up Seán Howard to level.
Evan Murphy could have won it for Duhallow only to shoot wide but Tomás Howard and Shane Crowley had points that saw them lead twice in the first period of extra time. The inspiration Condon ensured that Avondhu were 0-22 to 0-21 in front by the turnover, though, and while Crowley levelled on the resumption, it was the last time Duhallow scored.