Our Under 21 hurlers produced an excellent display on Monday night in Rathcormac, but it was not enough as they went under by four points to Castlegoold, the Lisgoold & Castlemartyr amalgamation, in the first round of the East Cork Championship. Carraig started brightly and the accurate freetaking of John Forde had us 0-03 to 0-02 in front after five minutes. There was little between the sides, with Castlegoold on top at midfield but Carraigs defence getting the upper hand, lead by captain James Forde, who had a fantastic hour, ably assisted by Michael Ahern and Joe O’Donnell in the half back line. Conor Hayes scored an excellent point from the left wing, while Oisin Crowley also chipped in with a fine score after good play by Brendan Murphy and Sean O’Sullivan on the right wing. It was turning into a free takers battle however, as a fussy referee gave plenty opportunities to John Forde and Castlegoolds John Cashman. Fergal Deane pulled off a great save from Castlegoolds centre forward on 20 minutes and this gave a great boost to Carraig. We pushed on in the closing stages of the half and thanks to Johns accurate free taking, took a 1 point lead into the break on a scoreline of 0-11 to 0-10.
We started the second half well, but unfortunately we missed three scorable frees, while Castlegoold replied with the opening two scores of the half to take the lead for the first time. The sides traded points again and the game was firmly in the melting pot, but a breaking ball was gathered by Castlegoold inside our defence and dispatched to the net on 35 minutes, to put four points between the sides. Worse was to follow for Carraig shortly afterwards, when John Cashman broke through the defence and fired to the net for a second goal for the amalgamation, leaving us 7 points in arrears. But this young Carraig side refused to yield. Ryan Galvin, on as a half time substitute, found space in the right corner and from an impossible angle, rifled the sliothar to the roof of the net to the delight of the Carraig supporters.
Castlegoold responded with a series of points to extend their lead again to 2-16 to 1-13, before they were reduced to 14 men when their centre back received a second yellow card for a foul on John Forde. Castlegoold extended their lead again with a pair of points, before a long ball in from Joe Murphy broke from Brendan Murphy and a deft flick fom Ryan Galvin had the ball rolling past the keeper into the back of the net for a second goal, 2-18 to 2-14 now with five minutes remaining. As Carraig pressed on for the scores to get back into the game however, another goal for Castlegoold, well finished despite the best efforts of Fergal in goal, had us 7 points down again. A James Meehan shot wizzed just over, rather than under the crossbar, while Castlegoold added another point in reply. As the game looked to be slipping away, Brendan Murphy won possession in the large square and pulled to the net for our third goal, 3-19 to 3-15 now and impossible to take your eyes off this great contest.
From the puckout, John Forde combined with his twin James and the centre back raced forward to score a great point, just a goal in it as we approached injury time. Unfortunately, from the next puckout Castlegoold won possession and worked the final score of the game. We continued to press but could not break down a resolute Castlegoold defence and at the final whistle, we were on the wrong end of a 3-20 to 3-16 scoreline. It was an excellent game between two committed teams. Carraig gave everything but unfortunately it wasn’t to be on the night. Well done to all the lads and keep up the hard work, with Minor and Junior Championship games to come, there is still plenty to play for.
Cathal Cronin, Colm Cooney, Gary Geaney;Joe O’Donnell, James Forde (Capt), Michael Ahern;
Joe Murphy, James Meehan;
Sean O’Sullivan, John Forde, Conor Hayes;
Oisín Crowley, Brendan Murphy, Cormac Hill;
Ryan Galvin for Cormac Hill