Muskerry fall short in shoot-out
Bandon 3-18 Muskerry 4-13
There was plenty of excitement at sun-drenched Brinny on Sunday last where Bandon where expected to celebrate their return to senior hurling ranks for the first time since 1980 with a victory.
They faced divisional side Muskerry who were very much under strength for the contest because of injuries and players unavailable because of exceptional club action, so the West Cork side appeared to hold all the aces.
The early stages of the game seemed to indicate that the result would be as anticipated, an easy Bandon victory. Last year's intermediate champions were performing well in attack where the Crowley brothers Darren and particularly Ronan were creating all kinds of problems for the overworked Muskerry defence.
Ronan Crowley scored a point in the third minute and two minutes later he slotted home a major so Bandon appeared to be on the road to victory even at that early stage. Another Ronan Crowley point meant that the one way traffic was continuing and the divisional sides opening score a point from Dan O'Connell was certainly relief to the Muskerry camp.
The divisional side got more on the offensive following same and pointed frees from Sean Bourke kept the score board ticking over and the commanding play of Joe Jordan at centre half back did much for Muskerry's morale.
The divisional side failed to capitalise on two goal scoring opportunities, however, and Bandon were still comfortably ahead at the interval leading 1-11 to 0-7. They increased their lead when the action resumed through a Darren Crowley point but the rearranged Muskerry side then produced top form.
Sean Bourke who made a huge impact in the second moiety found the Bandon net in the 38th minute and the excitement was intense for the reminder of the action. Bandon points from Michael Cahalane and James Hickey seemed to suggest that the West Cork side had regained the initiative but Muskerry had other ideas.
A well struck close in free by Kevin Hallissey gave them a huge boost when it found the net and minors from the same player and John Corkery reduced the arrears to two points.
The minimum separated the sides by the 48th minute and then Muskerry's stock soared when a goal from David Bowen put them ahead for the first time. A second Sean Bourke goal gave Muskerry a five point lead, but Bandon did well to fight back.
Both of the Crowley brothers pointed frees and a Michael Cahalane goal had the sides on level terms in the 57th minute. Muskerry regained the lead however when Kevin Hallissey confidently sent the sliotar between the uprights from long range.
The divisional side came close to clinching victory when they launched another attack and a ground effort from Sean Bourke seemed destined for the Bandon net. Their excellent Cúl Baire Pat Prendergast somehow managed to save at the expense of a 65 so the contest stayed delicately poised.
Bourke scored a point from the 65 but a two point advantage is dangerous entering the concluding stages of a game. A strong Bandon attack yielded a 24 metre free and Darren Crowley managed to drive the sliotar past a crowded goal line.
Bandon were consequently ahead and Adam Murphy added on a point for good measure during the time added on period.
Bandon: Pat Prendergast, Eoghan Ryan, James Walsh, Joe Harrington, Peter Murphy, Donough Lucey, James O'Donovan, Charles Dullea, Philip Crowley, Darren Crowley (1-2, 1-0f), Jason Hickey (0-1), Michael Cahalane (1-2), Adam Murphy (0-3), Mark Crowley, Ronan Crowley (1-10, 8f) Subs: Cian O'Mahony for Lucey 44th injured, Joe O'Mahony for Dullea 56th injured
Muskerry: John O'Keeffe (Inniscarra), Niall Barry Murphy (Aghabullogue), Sean O'Donoghue (Inniscarra), Kevin O'Neill (Grenagh), Niall O'Doherty (Grenagh), Joe Jordan (Blarney), Michael Dennehy (Aghabullogue), Peter Philpott (Blarney), Conor Hayes (Dripsey), Michael O'Riordan (Dripsey), Sean Bourke (2-5, 3f, 2 '65) (Grenagh), Kevin Hallissey (1-3f) (Eire Óg), David Bowen (1-1) (Ballincollig), Dan O'Connell (0-2) (Inniscarra), John Corkery (0-2) (Aghabullogue) Subs: Stephen Lohan (Blarney) for Philpott 31-37, Blood Philpott for Dennehy 38th, Darren Kelly (Iveleary) for O'Connell 53rd injured
REFEREE: B Muraty (Carrigtwohill)