Mallow, with an injury time goal by Pa Herlihy, overcame a two-point deficit to emerge close winners over a gallant Charleville side by the narrowest of margins in the Health and Safety Services Under 21 AFC quarter final at Buttevant on Saturday last.
In a highly entertaining encounter both teams enjoyed their moments. Mallow shaded matters during most of the opening half and early in the second half their authority on proceedings was reflected when racing into a ten point lead. However they were unable to push on from here and instead it was Charleville's turn to dictate matters where they outscored their opponents by 3-6 to three points by the 59.th minute to move into two clear as the final whistle approached.
Mallow, in an attempt to keep their season intact, went in search of the match winning goal and in injury time a delivery into the square saw the well placed Pa Herlihy make mo mistake from close range to finish to then net from close range.
The opening sequences saw Mallow start in a very determined manner kicking over early points by Sean Hayes, David Sheehan and Michael O'Rourke before O'Rourke was on hand to score a fine goal in the 7th minute following good work by Killian O'Connor and Pa Herlihy.
Charleville quickly realised the challenge that laid ahead and by the end of the first quarter added a point each by Breandan Casey and Mark Kavanagh. Exchanges were close enough over a while but as the progressed Mallow seized the initiative with Tom Kennedy and Killian O'Connor winning a lot of possession around the middle of the field and a period of pressure before the break saw O'Connor (2), Liam Attridge and Podge Buckley with some delightful scores move the winners into a 1-7 to 0-2 interval lead.
On the changeover the game really came to life. Mallow appeared to have sealed the issue when Liam Attridge got through for a goal in the 35th minute that made it 2-7 to 0-3. Then came the Charleville fightback inspired by Barry McCarthy, Shane Butler, Mark Kavanagh, Darren Casey, Gavin Kelleher, Jason O'Hara, Shane Butler and Breandan Casey.
The Rathluirc side scored the next three points but when Liam Attridge and Killian O'Connor replied with a point each for Mallow entering the last quarter they still seemed on course for a comfortable victory.
Charleville refused to give in and helped by goals in quick succession by Darren and Breandan Casey in the 50th and 51st minutes respectively just a point separated the teams 2-9 to 2-8. In a thrilling finish Mallow moved two clear through Liam Attridge before the game turn a dramatic twist when Charleville took hit the front for the first time in the game when Breandan Casey was upended in the square with Mark Kavanagh making no mistake from the resultant spot kick 3-8 to 1-10.
At the end of normal time Charleville moved two clear when a sweeping movement saw Jason O'Hara set up Kavanagh for a well taken point as they seemed destined for a place in the semi finals against Fermoy. However Mallow rallied well in the closing moments but at times found it difficult to breach the Rathluirc backline until Liam Attridge set up Pa Herlihy for an injury time goal to turn the tie in their favour.
MALLOW: Padraigh Buckley, M Dineen, B Hootan, J O'Hanlon, Podge Buckley 0-1, M Taylor, B Sheahan, T Kennedy, K O'Connor 0-3, L Attridge 1-3, Daniel Sheehan, P Herlihy 1 -0, David Sheehan 0-1f, S Hayes 0-1, M O'Rourke 1-1, Sub: J Murphy for David Sheehan,
CHARLEVILLE: D O'Connell, C Casey, J Buckley, B O'Connell, J O'Hara, B McCarthy, T Keane, S Butler 0-1 G Kelleher, D Casey 1 - 0 B Casey 1-2, P O'Neill, J Moloney, M Kavanagh 1-6 (1-0 pen, 0-4f) M O'Brien, Sub: M Roche for P O'Neill.
Referee: W Cole (Buttevant)