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McBarron Bullet Delivers Dramatic Carrig Comeback

Writes Ciaran Dineen

Carrigaline 2-21

Aghada 2-15

Denis McBarron helped to fire Carrigaline to the knockout stage of the Cork Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship with a dramatic late comeback against old rivals Aghada. The young forward’s 3-pointer inspired Carrigaline to their second win on the bounce following an opening round victory over Courcey Rovers, meaning that they have qualified for the knockout round with a game to spare.

Carrigaline had it all to do given that they were reduced to 14 men with just 16 minutes on the clock after Chris Vaughan was awarded two early yellow cards. Playing three quarters of the contest with a man disadvantage, this truly was a victory to remember for Carrigaline, with standout performances from McBarron, Brian Kelleher and Simon O’Brien.

Carrigaline faced Aghada for the second year in a row and looked to seal a repeat of the result from the last campaign. They would have been in confident form following their first round victory over Courcey Rovers, but they had to do without the services of the injured Tony Murphy, while Kevin Kavanagh was only fit enough for a place on the bench.

Despite the final result the scoreline certainly does not paint a picture of a comfortable win for Carrigaline, who began the game immediately on the back foot. Aghada started in a blistering fashion with former Cork senior inter-county player, Will Leahy, causing the Carrigaline defence all sorts of problems.

With 10 minutes gone Aghada led 0-6 to 0-3, as Brian Kelleher grabbed a point from play and a free for Carrigaline, adding to the opener for his side from Rob O’Shea. Carrig roared into the game shortly after with a goal O'Shea after he found some space and managed to put the ball past Ciaran O’Shea in the opposition net. Another point from Kelleher levelled the game on the 15 minute mark with the scores lying at 1-4 to 0-7.

However, Carrigaline’s hopes of further stamping their authority on the game were dented after 16 minutes when Chris Vaughan was shown his second yellow card of the game after he pulled across his man on the far touchline. Kevin Kavanagh had already been warming up on the sidelines as he looked to enter the fray to replace Vaughan given that he had already received a caution so early in the game. However the referee had brandished the red card before the substitution could be made so corner forward Ronan Kelleher, starting in place of Tony Murphy, was the unfortunate casualty to make way for Kavanagh.

Aghada added to the defensive woes for Carrigaline when corner forward Charlie Fleming burst through the Carrigaline defence and sent a rasping shot from outside the 21 metre line into the top corner of Rob Foster’s net, to put Aghada ahead.

Although Simon O’Brien reduced the deficit with a point, Aghada quickly pulled into a four-point lead. David Drake and Kelleher replied with a score each for Carrigaline and Drake halved the difference with a beautiful sideline cut from outside the 45 metre line. However Aghada finished the half well and Will Leahy grabbed two efforts meaning that the halftime result was 1-8 to 1-11.

Down to 14 men, Carrigaline would have counted themselves lucky not to be further behind as the second period began and they looked to close the gap early on with two very good scores coming from Eanna Desmond in midfield and the illustrious Drake.

Leahy and Kelleher traded points from placed balls but Aghada managed to secure a hammering blow when Leahy dispatched a 36th minute penalty after Carrigaline’s Peter Ronayne was forced to pull down his man. Rob Foster was evidently disappointed that he didn’t manage to get a save off from the resulting penalty, which wasn’t struck particularly well by Leahy, but managed nonetheless to find the corner of the net. Aghada now leading 2-13 to 1-11.

David Griffin had a commanding second half and it was his point from the half-way line that lit the fuse for the Carrigaline comeback. Griffin’s score was quickly followed by another point from O’Brien for Carrigaline, who finished the game with 0-2 from play.

Rob O’Shea reduced the deficit to two points but this was extended to three after Aghada managed to briefly stop the resurgent Carrigaline. O’Brien and Cian Barry were replaced by Killian McIntrye and Killian McSweeney after 49 minutes as the Carrig management looked to introduce some fresh legs.

The turning point of the contest came with just 10 minutes remaining as Carrigaline looked to seal an incredible comeback. O’Shea in the Aghada goal collected the ball and looked to break out of defence but was disposed by Denis McBarron on the 21-metre line. McBarron immediately looked up and lashed the ball low and hard through a litany of bodies, finding the back of the net to level the game. When David Drake grabbed another point from play you’d have thought there were hundreds of Carrigaline supporters in attendance as a huge roar lifted the ball as it soared over the bar to put Carrig ahead for the first time in the game.

Aghada at this point were shellshocked and they could do nothing to prevent the onrushing momentum of Carrigaline, who pressed home their advantage. The team managed to score six of the final seven points in the game, with Brian Kelleher grabbing four frees and one from play, while Eanna Desmond scored his second point of the evening to drive Carrigaline towards victory.

It was an incredible performance for the final 15 minutes by Carrigaline, who went from trailing by four to win by six. It means that they do not have to rely on beating their final group opponents Youghal in the last of their games and can begin to prepare for knockout hurling.

Carrigaline Scores: Kelleher 0-9 (0-7 frees), O’Shea 1-2, Drake 0-4 (0-1 sideline), McBarron 1-0, O’Brien and Desmond 0-2 each, Griffin and Kavanagh 0-1 each

Carrigaline Team: Robbie Foster; Steven Williamson, Peter Ronayne, David Stack; Chris Vaughan, Cian Barry, David Griffin; Wes O’Brien, Eanna Desmond; Simon O’Brien, Denis McBarron, David Drake; Brian Kelleher, Rob O’Shea (C) and Ronan Kelleher.

Carrigaline Subs: Kevin Kavanagh for R Kelleher (16 mins), Killian McSweeney for O’Brien (49), Killian McIntyre for Barry (49), Simon O’Brien (back on) for McBarron (59), Ronan Kelleher (back on) for Drake (60).

Carrigdhoun MOTM: Denis McBarron.

Referee: Pat Lyons (Bishopstown)

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