Bride Rovers 0-20 Ballymartle 1-13
A BRIAN Roche-inspired Bride Rovers qualified for the quarter-finals of the Co-Op Superstores SAHC after surviving a fierce challenge from Ballymartle in Riverstown on Saturday evening.
A third successive defeat in a very competitive group leaves the South East club battling for survival in the dreaded relegation decider.
In a second-half lasting almost 39 minutes, Bride responded impressively to the double blow of conceding the only goal and then losing Cian O’Connor to a red card.
The goal came in the 40th minute, when Simon Dorney intercepted a cross-field pass in Bride’s half-back line before feeding Kevin Fitzpatrick, whose blistering drive levelled matters for a fourth time at 1-8 to 0-11.
However, Bride didn’t panic and hit back with five unanswered points in eight minutes to seize control once more.
The first of those came from Cillian Tobin, whose effort from the right was initially waved wide until a linesman’s intervention ruled otherwise.
Roche claimed a couple in quick succession as Adam Walsh’s frees nudged his side 0-16 to 1-8 in front before Bride were reduced to 14 players.
Ballymartle never gave up the chase and got back to within two entering injury-time before they, too, had a player sent off, wing-back Liam Corry.
Fittingly, the closing points from Bride, courtesy of substitute Michael Collins and a fine Tobin effort.
Bride led by 0-9 to 0-7 at the end of stop-start first half during which Ballymartle’s use of the sweeper, Eoin Healy, helped disrupt their opponents’ usual rhythm.
The sides were level on three occasions with Bride holding a two-point advantage after a low-scoring opening quarter, but they finished the half strongly, moving 0-9 to 0-6 clear in injury time.
Roche and Ronan O’Connell shared 0-4 evenly from play while Walsh’s free-taking contributed the remainder.
Darren McCarthy was Ballymartle’s main source of scores from placed balls, including the opening point from a ’65 after Brian Corry forced a good save from keeper Cian Hogan just seconds after the throw-in.
Corry and Fitzpatrick picked off points from play to leave the game finely in the balance on the change of ends.
A Walsh 0-7 (0-6 f), B Roche 0-6, R O’Connell, C Tobin 0-2 each, P O’Flynn 0-2 f, M Collins 0-1.
D McCarthy 0-8 (0-5 f, 0-1 65, 0-1 sl), K Fitzpatrick 1-1, K O’Callaghan 0-2, B Corry and L O’Callaghan 0-1 each.
C Hogan; T O’Sullivan, S Walsh, J Pratt; P O’Flynn, captain, E Roche, S O’Connor; K Kearney, D Dooley; C O’Connor, R O’Connell, A Walsh; C Tobin, B Roche, C Ryan.
W Finnegan for Dooley 36, J Ahern for O’Sullivan 43, M Collins for Ryan.
P Allen; C Coleman, E O’Leary, TJ Murphy; L Corry, C Allen, E Healy; S Corry, P Dorney; S Cummins, S Dorney, D Desmond; D McCarthy, B Corry, K Fitzpatrick.
R Stewart for Healy injured 50, L O’Callaghan for Desmond 51, K O’Callaghan for Cummins 56.
I McCarthy (Bandon).