County PIFC Round 1: Kanturk 1-11 Macroom 1-10
An understrength Kanturk were put to the pin of their collar to overcome a brave Macroom in the opener to a highly entertaining Bons Secour Co. Premier Intermediate Football Championship in Cullen on Saturday evening.
Given a contest of swaying fortunes, neither side would had quibbled with a draw but Kanturk weren't willing to accept the outcome, digging out a winning point from minor substitute Alan Walsh deep into injury time. At the finish, Macroom were left to reflect ruefully on the outcome, counting the cost of wayward shooting.
That strong Kanturk finish helped secure an all important win to delight coach Tim Healy though admitting there is room for improvement.
"On both sides, players were rusty, passages of play breaking down coupled with missed chances. That could be expected given the lay-off, we began training last January, played a league game away to Ilen Rovers during February, returned a few weeks ago and played two challenge games", he said
Injuries impacted on Kanturk's preparations, three regulars missing from the starting line up including Cork U20 All Ireland medalist Daniel O'Connell along with cousins Aidan and Ryan Walsh.
"Daniel will be a huge loss, out for the rest of the season owing to a cruciate injury, a player of the future. Aidan and Ryan are not as serious, hopefully, they will be in a position to play hurling at the weekend," said Healy.
From the football assignment, Kanturk flew out of the starting blocks to bag the opening five scores against the wind yet by the end of the hour, they required an injury time point to land the spoils.
"Maybe our start came too easy, we became a bit too complacent, Macroom had the game down to level pegging in no time. That made it ever so close right up to the last kick," he said.
Minor players Brian O'Sullivan and Alan Walsh arrived off the bench during the latter stages and contributed to the winning score.
"The move came down the right hand side of the field, Brian to Alan who looked up and confidently put the ball over the crossbar. Again, these are future stars, the public will be reading about these players in years to come," said Healy.
Kanturk operating against the breeze, got off to the best of starts, benefiting from a black card picked up by Macroom captain David Horgan. Driven by Lorcan McLoughlin, Paul Walsh and James Fitzpatrick, Kanturk capitalised with a string of points for a 0-5 to 0-0 advantage.
With the return of Horgan, Macroom stepped up their game, rewarded in the 14th min., good work by Conor O'Sullivan placed corner forward Dylan Twomey for a classy goal.
Though Kanturk answered with points by John Browne and Liam O'Keeffe, Macroom brought about a spirited response, Fintan Goold demonstrating leadership to deliver a trio of points for Macroom enjoy a 1-7 to 0-7 advantage at the break.
Kanturk rose the tempo upon the restart, a hesitant Macroom defence appeared to stall, waiting for a free, the play continued for Paul Walsh to set in motion Lorcan O'Neill to net. Follow up points by Ian Walsh and Mark Healy pushed the Duhallow side ahead.
Still Macroom offered a spirited response, Seán Kiely and Twomey weighed in with points for a slender advantage. Were it not for erratic shooting, Macroom might well had extended their lead.
That allowed Kanturk respond, Cian Clernon pointed a massive effort before Brian O'Sullivan placed minor colleague Alan Walsh for the match winning point.
Plenty of encouragement for both sides, coming up against Nemo Rangers and Gabriel Rangers in their next assignments.
KANTURK: J Fullerton; J McLoughlin, D Browne, D O'Connor; L McLoughlin 0-1, L Cashman, J Browne 0-1; J Fitzpatrick, P Walsh; L O'Neill 1-0, M Healy 0-1, L O'Keeffe 0-2; I Walsh 0-4 (0-2f), C Clernon 0-1, K Holland Subs: B O'Sullivan for L O'Keeffe (42), A Walsh 0-1 for K Holland (42), C Mullane for I Walsh (52 inj)
MACROOM: B O'Connell; G Angland, R Buckley, J Murphy 0 -1; M Cronin, T Dineen, M Corrigan; A Quinn, D Horgan; S Kiely 0-2, F Goold 0-3 (0-1f), D Creedon; C O'Sullivan, E O'Gorman 0-2, D Twomey 1-2 (0-2f) Subs: B O'Gorman for M Cronin (40), C Dineen for G Angland (59), E O'Leary for J Murphy (64 inj)
Referee: James Regan (Lough Rovers)