Just over 48 hours after playing out a thrilling draw in Lisgoold, the hurlers of Carraig na bhFear and Dungourney reconvened at the same venue to renew battle in this East Cork Junior A Hurling Championship Quarter Final. And a battle it was. Both sides showed signs of tiredness in this game, as the quick turnaround ensured that a low scoring and close match throughout, would be decided by just a single score.
Dungourney opened the scoring early with a point from a Shane Hegarty free but Carraig responded through a John Forde free shortly afterwards. With 12 minutes gone these were the only scores on the board as both sides struggled to find the target, with both defences wiser to their opponents after Sundays battle. Carraig broke the deadline through a Martin Hickey sideline cut, expertly dispatched from the right wing. Scores continued to be hard to come by however, with Timmy Geaney and Daniel Coleman starring in defence for Carraig, while Dungourneys Niall Motherway was hurling well from centre back. Dungourney got their second point of the night on 17 mintues and toook the lead with a free shortly afterwards.
At this stage, Dungourney had the better of the play and some heroic defending was keeping Carraig in it. We finally got our first point from play when Colm O’Reillys hard work to win a ball in the right corner saw him pick out John Forde on the 20 yard line and he cleverly popped the ball out to the waiting Con Burns, who dispatched the ball between the uprights. Again Dungourneys response was immediate and they took the lead 0-04 to 0-03 with 27 minutes gone. But Carraig got a great boost before the break, with John Forde converting three difficult frees with deadly accuracy to leave us 0-06 to 0-04 ahead at half time.
From the restart Aaron Dorgan was penalised and the resulting Dungourney free went narrowly wide, a let off for Carraig. Paul O’Keeffe won a free on the right wing 65 yards from goal and again, John Forde was coolness personified as he slotted the ball over the bar, giving us a three point lead. The sides exchanged points, leaving the scores Carraig 0-09 Dungourney 0-07 after 46 minutes, that man Forde on hand again to slot his 6th and 7th frees of the evening. In defence, Brian Hegarty and James Forde were dominating while Aaron Dorgan was making a great impact at midfield, winning hard ball but also getting in countless hooks and blocks.
Paul Murphy showed his class to strike a great point on 49 minutes and there were three between the teams again entering the final stages.Both sides were out on their feet at this stage and mistakes began to creep into the game, but both defences remained on top. Dungourney continued to push and were rewarded with points on 52 and 54 minutes, but crucially missed two frees also. The last 5 minutes saw both sides have chances and both defences stand firm. One last chance for Dungourney in injury time saw Martin Hickey emerge from the crowd with the ball and referee Mark Murphy blew his whistle to end an absorbing contest, with just 1 point separating the sides after 120+ minutes of championship hurling.
This was an extremely hard fought win for Carraig against a talented Dungourney side, who must be commended for their part in two fine games of hurling. There was very little between the sides throughout both games. It was great to see so many Carraig supporters present also and we look forward to the semi final against Cobh on Saturday week.
Daniel Coleman, Shane Horgan, James Forde;Paul Geaney, Timmy Geaney, Brian Hegarty;
Martin Hickey, Aidan Hegarty;
Paul O’Keeffe, Aaron Dorgan, Con Burns;
Paul Murphy, Colm O’Reilly, John Forde;
Cian Dorgan for Con Burns
Oisin Crowley for Colm O’Reilly
John Forde 0-07 (Frees), C.Burns,P.Murphy 0-01, M.Hickey 0-01 (sideline)