Premier SHC: Jack Doyle's late leveller means Charleville draw with St Finbarr's

Trailing by four in the final quarter, North Cork side earn a point against city side
Premier SHC: Jack Doyle's late leveller means Charleville draw with St Finbarr's

Charleville's Andrew Cagney races away from St Finbarr's Eoin Keane, during their Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC clash at Mallow.

St Finbarr’s 2-19 Charleville 0-25 

JACK Doyle grabbed the injury-time equaliser as Charleville fought back well to earn a point in their Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC opener against St Finbarr’s in Mallow.

Having stayed up last year following a penalty shootout relegation play-off win over Carrigtwohill, the North Cork side were staring at an opening defeat when they trailed by four points with 16 minutes left after Brian Hayes scored the Barrs’ second goal. However, having battled back twice before that, they refused to bow down and were rewarded with a point.

While the Barrs were without Damien and Conor Cahalane, injured playing football for Castlehaven last week, they will look at the match as a missed opportunity. Given that the clubs share a group with Blackrock and Sarsfields, who meet in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night, a draw may not ultimately be of benefit to either, even if both sides can take encouragement from various stages.

Playing against the wind, Charleville had a great start as Darragh Fitzgibbon pointed inside the first half-minute and that was followed by a Jack Doyle free. However, while Doyle made it 0-3 to 0-1 in the sixth minute after Ben Cunningham got the Barrs’ first point - he would finish with 1-10 - the next ten minutes would see blue dominance.

 St Finbarr's Cian Walsh tackles Charleville's Oran O'Connell. Picture: David Keane.
St Finbarr's Cian Walsh tackles Charleville's Oran O'Connell. Picture: David Keane.

Five unanswered points put them in a commanding position, with Cunningham deadly from placed balls while Charleville failed to capitalise on a couple of similar opportunities. There might even have been a goal on 13 but Cian Collins stood up well to Jack Cahalane’s shot.

Scores from Mark Kavanagh and then Oran O’Connell reduced Charleville’s liability somewhat and they were back level, 0-8 each, when Doyle landed a good free on 22, but the Barrs finished the half strongly.

Cahalane had a super score from a diagonal ball by William Buckley before Pádraig Buggy went close to a goal, Collins saving superbly when the attacker doubled on Brian Hayes’s inviting pass from the left.

Cunningham converted the resultant 65 for his seventh point and an 0-11 to 0-9 half-time lead. That was extended to a three-point advantage when Glen O’Connor sent over a long-range point on the resumption, but Charleville enjoyed their purple patch immediately after that.

Two Doyle frees cut the lead to just a point and Fitzgibbon added two in quick succession to put them in front for the first time since the early stages but it was only a fleeting state of affairs. Unfortunately for Charleville, they will review the episode as an avoidable one as a short puckout was turned over just outside the 20m line, with good work from Hayes allowing Cunningham to send his shot to the net before the swiftly retreating Collins got there.

Once more, Charleville showed resolve to battle back, with Gavin Kelleher, Conor Buckley and Andrew Cagney as they got three of the next four points to tie the match again with 20 left.

When Eoghan Finn and Cunningham put the Barrs two in front, Buckley had a Charleville riposte following a lovely piece of skill to take down a puckout, but the Barrs’ second goal on 44 – Hayes netting after good work from his fellow Cork U20 dual start of last year, Cahalane – left the scoreboard reading 2-15 to 0-17.

The four-point gap still pertained after 47 as Mark Kavanagh and Cunningham exchanged points but Oran O’Connell’s point – given after a check with the umpires – and one from Darren Casey left Charleville one behind with 11 left.

Hayes gave the Barrs breathing space but a massive Fitzgibbon point from behind his own 65 and then a lovely Doyle effort following a one-two with Conor Buckley left it 2-17 to 0-22 with six left.

Cunningham got his tenth point but Charleville kept coming: Fitzgibbon landed a free that was far closer to his own goal and Doyle tied the match before making an important intervention to deny Glen O’Connor after a marauding run.

As the clock moved past the 60-mark, Ethan Twomey set up Pádraig Buggy for what the Barrs hoped would be the winner but, after full-back Jack Meade was fouled coming out of defence, Doyle did the needful from halfway to ensure a share of the spoils.

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: B Cunningham 1-10 (0-7 f, 0-1 65), B Hayes 1-3, E Finn, P Buggy 0-2 each, J Cahalane, G O’Connor 0-1 each.

Charleville: J Doyle 0-10 (0-8 f), D Fitzgibbon 0-5 (0-1 f), G Kelleher, C Buckley, O O’Connell, M Kavanagh 0-2 each, D Casey, A Cagney 0-1 each.

ST FINBARR’S: S Hurley; E Keane, J Burns, C Walsh; B Hennessy, G O’Connor, B O’Connor; E Twomey, E Finn; P Buggy, C Keane, B Cunningham; W Buckley, B Hayes, J Cahalane.

Sub: C Doolan for C Keane (43).

CHARLEVILLE: C Collins; J Kilcommons, J Meade, J O’Callaghan; A Dennehy, J Buckley, F Cagney; D Casey, D Fitzgibbon; G Kelleher, C Buckley, J Doyle; O O’Connell, A Cagney, M Kavanagh.

Subs: D Butler for F Cagney, J Barry for Kelleher (both 54).

Referee: C Lane (Banteer).

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