Argideen Rangers 0-16
JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
ARGIDEEN Rangers stalwart John Michael O’Callaghan scored an injury-time free from almost 90 metres to earn a draw against Aghada in their Cork Red FM Hurling League Division 5 opener at Timoleague.
Rangers manager Paul Holland was in buoyant post-match mood, delighted that his charges, short several regulars and operating in a higher division, had come up with goods when the chips were down.
‘We were playing against the wind in the second half, had 17 players togged out and competing in a division higher than last year – this is a great result and I am delighted to get the draw,’ Holland said.
‘We had just six starters from last year’s championship with fellas working away, injured, etc, but that is how it is. We are away to Midleton in a couple of weeks, another tough task, but again I must stress that these lads will give their all for the Timoleague jersey and will not be found wanting.’
Showing neat and inventive touches with expansive passing helping spread the play, both sides traded some excellent scores in a competitive opening quarter with free-takers, Philip Flynn and Charlie Terry, par excellence, rifling over some trademark white flags.
There was much to admire about the first-touch hurling with Matt Lawton, Andrew Guinevan and Darragh Holland completing a solid Argideen half-back division, ably assisted by the midfield duo while up in the engine-room, Finbarr Butler, Flynn, O’Callaghan, Joe Murphy, Seán Maxwell and Darragh O’Donovan stoked the fires of attacking endeavour.
With the scores level, 0-4 to 0-4, at the end of the opening quarter Rangers upped the ante and had increased their dominance to 0-9 to 0-6 by the 22nd minute. Despite the hard grafting of captain Mark McCarthy, Eddie Leahy, Jake O’Donoghue, Darragh Ryan, Charlie Terry and Aaron Berry, Aghada were coming under increased pressure, while their attack was getting little leeway from Rangers. The Timoleague team took a deserved 0-12 to 0-8 advantage into the interval. Indeed, it could have been greater.
On resuming Aghada rang the changes, introducing Eoin Motherway and Aaron Kerins, the former bringing more stability up front. Finbarr Butler with a majestic score in the 32nd minute seemed to set the trend, but while Terry (free)and a delightful Flynn score punctuated the next bout of scoring, Aghada’s complete dominance from this juncture to near the end was a massive boost for the emerald green clad troops.
Firstly, Dylan Harrington made a smart stop from Rory O’Connor, an impending factor in the upcoming rally. Then an unanswered five on the trot from Mark McCarthy, Eoin Motherway, Terry (free), Danny Creedon and Darragh Ryan levelled matters, 0-14 to 0-14, by the 52nd minute. Game on now, as Cathal O’Donovan restored Rangers lead with a real beauty, but when Ryan and another Terry free saw Aghada again put their noses in front, the sands of time appeared to be running out, that is until O’Callaghan saved the day.
Scorers - Argideen Rangers: JM O’Callaghan 0- 6(4f); Philip Flynn 0-5 (3f); Seán Maxwell 0-2; Matt Lawton, Finbarr Butler, Cathal O’Donovan 0-1 each. Aghada: Charlie Terry 0-7 (6f); Rory O’Connor, Darragh Ryan, Mark McCarthy (1f) 0-2 each; Eoin Motherway, Danny Creedon, Fionn O’Connor 0-1 each.
Argideen Rangers: Dylan Harrington; Seán Henchion, Jerry Crowley, Bill Fleming; Andrew Guinevan, Matt Lawton, Darragh Holland; Conor Lehane, Cathal O’Donovan; Joe Murphy, Finbarr Butler, Seán Maxwell; Philip Flynn, JM O’Callaghan, Darragh O’Donovan. Subs: Danny Lawton, Charlie Dineen (both second half).
Aghada: John Walsh; Kyle O’Shea, Jake O’Donoghue, Jack Norris; Mark McCarthy, Eddie Leahy, Rory Slye; Aaron Berry, Dan Leahy; Rory O’Connor, Danny Creedon, Darragh Ryan; Ronan Murphy, Fionn O’Connor, Charlie Terry. Subs: Aaron Kerins for Rory Slye, Eoin Motherway for Dan Leahy (both half time), Noah Devoy for Fionn O’Connor (48), Oscar Slye for Eddie Leahy (52).
Referee: Stephen Murphy (Bandon).