JOHNNY CAROLAN REPORTS
A FIVE-POINT lead with less than minutes left wasn’t enough for Carrigaline to secure premier senior football status as Mallow came back to draw.
The Carrigdhoun side never trailed at any stage of Sunday’s relegation play-off in Blarney but a late goal from sub Seán Hayes eroded a lot of what had become a four-point deficit and Seán McDonnell grabbed a late equaliser.
While competition regulations had stated that a replay would only take place if the game was still level after extra time, the decision was taken to call a halt at the end of the regulation proceedings and neither club had an issue with that.
For Carrigaline manager Michael Meaney, it felt like a missed opportunity but with the consolation of a chance to have another go.
‘We were disappointed in the end, I suppose,’ he said.
‘We were four points up in these conditions and playing well. I think we were in control of the game but once they got the goal we were on the back foot.
‘We’re disappointed but we could have lost it in the end, they had a 45 but we came out with it. ‘I think a replay is the right thing, because you couldn’t ask fellas for anything more in these conditions. We’ll regroup and go again.’
Carrigaline – who had beaten Bandon in the Premier IHC relegation game the previous weekend – had a great start as Niall Coakley was fouled for a penalty, stroked home by his brother Brian.
Though Ryan Harkin and Kevin Sheehan opened the Mallow account, Carrig then won a second penalty as the Coakleys combined again, Brian winning a good delivery from Niall – and the spot-kick was a replica of the first, straight down the middle and in.
By half-time, Mallow had only cut the gap slightly, 2-0 to 0-3 the score.
‘If someone told me we’d have two goals against the wind, I’d take it,’ Meaney said.
‘People might look at the results during the year, but we’re on a process and we’ll stick to it. We’re moving forward; this was a game we wanted to win and we still can, thought it’ll be tough again the next day.
‘To leave a lead go is certainly disappointing but we’ll go again.’
When Brian Coakley and Éanna Desmond pointed early in the second half, the lead was five points and it was indicative of how rare scoring chances were that it took until the 37th minute for the game’s first wide.
While Carrigaline lost Callum Barrett to a second yellow card, the human resources were levelled up again as Mallow’s Sheehan was similarly dismissed.
Carrigaline’s lead was still five after a fine mark and point from the impressive Jack McCarthy but Harkin’s third point gave Mallow hope. They were rewarded on 56 as Matty Taylor and Shane Merritt combined with Lyons to give Hayes a goal chance, which he made the most of.
McDonnell levelled and, when Carrigaline lost Brian Coakley to another pair of bookings, it looked like he would miss the impending extra time, but it did not materialise and the sides live to fight another day.
Carrigaline: Brian Coakley 2-1 (2-0 penalties); Jack McCarthy (mark), Éanna Desmond 0-1 each.
Mallow: Ryan Harkin 0-3; Seán Hayes 1-0; Kevin Sheehan 0-2f; Seán McDonnell 0-1.
Carrigaline: Callum Dungan; Chris O’Herlihy, Ian Sheeran, Niall Quirke; Cathal Murphy, Cian Barry, Jack McCarthy; Kieran Kavanagh, Kevin Kavanagh; Callum Barrett, Niall Coakley, Evan Ryle; Brian Coakley, Olan Barry, Éanna Desmond.
Subs: Darragh King for Murphy (18, injured), P Mellett for E Ryle, D Griffin for Kieran Kavanagh (both 47), T Vaughan for O Barry (53), K McCarthy for J McCarthy (60, injured).
Mallow: Kevin Doyle; Ethan Crone, Paul Lyons, Bill Myers; Stephen O’Callaghan, Matty Taylor, Sam Copps; Darragh Moynihan, Shane Merritt; Jimmy Glynn, Ryan Harkin, Jack Dillon; Kevin Sheehan, Seán McDonnell, Mark Kelleher.
Subs: Mark Tobin for Crone (half-time), Seán Hayes for Glynn (48), Liam Walsh for Kelleher (55).
Referee: Cormac Dineen (Douglas).