Upperchurch-Drombane 1-9; Cahir 1-9
(after extra time)
Twenty four hours after winning the South title, Cahir under 21 footballers were in action again, facing Upperchurch-Drombane in the Clean Ireland Recycling county under 21 B football semi-final at Boherlahan on Sunday. Upperchurch forced extra time with a late equaliser and then did likewise in extra time, to send the tie to a replay.
Cahir were not happy with the fixtures schedule and pointed to the fact that the final is not due to be played until May. In the circumstances then, this was a big result for them, made even more significant in that they played 15 of the 20 extra minutes a man short, team captain Liam Howard being sidelined with a second yellow card.
This was an excellent contest between two keen sides. Cahir got the ideal start when in the 8th minute, after Ian Flannery had cancelled Jack Butler’s point for Upperchurch, Mikey O’Connor started an excellent move and was on hand to blast to the Upperchurch net for a goal that for much of the game was the difference between the sides.
Upperchurch had Paul Shanahan and Gavin Ryan carrying injuries into the game and points from Shanahan and Jack Butler kept them on the heels of their rivals. After Ian Flannery had Cahir’s second point in the 17th minute, Loughlin Ryan denied the South champions a certain goal with a great save from Aaron Murphy.
Two Liam Casey points underlined Cahir’s superiority at this stage but Ciaran Shortt pulled one back for “The Church”, who again had Loughlin Ryan to thank as he brilliantly saved from Brian McKenna two minutes from the break. An injury time point by Robert Murphy for Upperchurch left them two adrift at the interval, 0-5 to 1-4.
At the start of the second half Upperchurch lost John Ryan(J) to a black card offence. Cahir defended their slight advantage well, Eoghan Quinlan and Liam Casey(2) notching points to Niall Grant’s brace for Upperchurch/Drombane in the third quarter.
With time running out and Cahir leading 1-7 to 0-7, the Mid champions threw everything into attack and were rewarded when, in the 58th minute, Diarmuid Grant, the team captain, surged forward from defence to notch a levelling goal.
In a hectic finish, Liam Casey restored Cahir’s lead but in injury time Paul Shanahan squared things with a well-taken equaliser.
There was only one score in the first half of extra time, Aaron Murphy pointing for Cahir in the 6th minute, having lost Liam Howard to a second yellow card a minute earlier. On resuming Ian Flannery had a great chance to seal victory for Cahir but was wide of target. Two minutes from the end, Paul Shanahan popped over the equaliser, leaving two very tired teams glad of another chance.
Both sides contributed handsomely to an enjoyable encounter and while Cahir will argue that they had the better chances of victory, Upperchurch’s grit deserved its reward. The Mid men owed much to Paul Shanahan, Diarmuid Grant, Tommy Steveens, Ronan Gleeson, Niall Grant, goalie Loughlin Ryan and Ger grant, and will be hoping that with their squad fully fit, they can advance in the replay.
Cahir will be hoping that they will be well rested before the replay. They showed great spirit in coping with the loss of their captain in extra time. They have some excellent players, particularly Eoin Donaghy, Dean Lonergan, Liam Casey, Mikey Cooney, Cormac Looby and Liam Howard.
Upperchurch-Drombane- L Ryan; P J Bourke, T Stevens, R Gleeson; J Ryan(J), D Grant(1-0), T Clancy; J Butler(0-2), G Grant; C Shortt(0-1), P Shanahan(0-3), D Sheridan; R Murphy(0-1), G Ryan, N Grant(0-2); Subs- N Delaney for J Ryan; B Sheridan for Sheridan;
Cahir – T Stocia; L Howard, E Donaghy, O Moloney; B Donaghy, D Lonergan, J Walsh; L Casey(0-5), C Casey; A Murphy(0-1), M O Connor(1-0), C Looby; E Quinlan(0-1), I Flannery(0-2), B McKenna; Subs- R Murphy for McKenna; D Howard for Quinlan; S Dooley for Murphy
Referee- David Grogan, (Aherlow).